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      How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog


      The majority of marketers use content marketing. Approximately 70% to be more precise. But is it working?

      Not quite.

      The Content Marketing Institute’s latest B2B content marketing report found that only 5% of marketers rate their efforts as “extremely successful.” A not insignificant 15% said they were “minimally successful,” and the majority — 58% — said they were merely “moderately successful.”

      These numbers have changed little in recent years.

      So what are we doing wrong? What can we do to get better results from our content marketing?

      One way to start is to create (and use) an editorial calendar.

      Why? Because CMI’s study also shows that the more strategic we are with our content marketing, the more likely we’ll hit our goals.

      In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about creating a calendar to guide your content plan. If you’re looking for advice on a specific topic, feel free to jump ahead:

      Ready to learn how to build the ultimate blog calendar? Let’s dive in!

      What is Content Marketing?

      Content is anything you create and make public across any channel that serves to educate or entertain, rather than directly selling a product.

      This could be (but isn’t limited to):

      • Blog posts
      • Video
      • Tweets
      • Facebook posts
      • Web content
      • Instagram posts and stories
      • Webinars
      • Podcasts
      • White papers
      • Case studies

      The list is almost endless.

      Content marketing is when the content you create is used for the purpose of marketing. Indirect marketing, to be more precise. It’s used to drive website visits, get in front of new audiences, and generally increase brand awareness and loyalty.

      It’s not to be confused with product marketing, which is used specifically to promote products.

      What’s an Editorial Calendar?

      When you have numerous channels to create, organize and publish content for, it can get complicated quickly.

      This is where an editorial calendar can help.

      In short, an editorial calendar is a document that helps you track and manage the content you’re creating and publishing. Traditionally it may consist of the following:

      • Content ideas
      • Content you’re working on
      • Publication dates
      • The channel the content is for
      • The name (or names) of the people working on said content

      More advanced editorial calendars will also help you understand your content’s impact and its value on your business.

      So you may also want to include:

      • The success of each content piece
      • Reports that break those successes down according to type of content
      • Visualized data for helping you make informed decisions based on past successes (and failures)

      There is no one solution. Each business is going to require a different setup, depending on its strategy and business goals.

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      Why Do You Need an Editorial Calendar?

      Now you know what an editorial calendar is, let’s look at some of its benefits.

      An Editorial Calendar Helps You Keep Everything in Check

      Consistency is key in content marketing. And it’s something most companies struggle with — especially when many people work on one project.

      At any one time, your content team might comprise of a strategist, writer, editor, social media practitioner, designer, and potentially even a developer.

      That’s a lot of plates to be spinning.

      It Helps You Keep Your Publishing Frequency in Check

      What does your posting schedule look like? One post a week? Two posts a week? Lots of companies publish multiple times a week. Many of those are publishing across multiple platforms.

      It’s not hard to see how things can get messy fast.

      An editorial calendar helps you create a publishing schedule. It also helps you — and your team — stick to that publishing schedule.

      It Helps You Keep Track of the Type of Content You’re Publishing

      When you’ve already invested in content marketing, it can be really tempting to just keep pressing publish across different platforms. Unfortunately, this strategy is far from helpful when it comes to what works, and what doesn’t.

      Don’t just click publish and move on.

      Use an editorial calendar so you can look back and analyze old content. By aligning this data with your KPIs and business goals, you can improve future content for a better chance of meeting your business goals and boosting your bottom line.

      It Helps Multiple Team Members Work Towards the Same Goals

      As mentioned earlier, content marketing is rarely delivered by one person — it’s usually a combined effort across a team of specialists.

      Of course, while a cross-team approach tends to result in a higher output of better quality content, if mismanaged, that team can end up working in silos. All collaboration flies out the window.

      An editorial calendar helps get the whole team invested in all stages of content production. It also makes it easier for them to view and track results.

      Types of Editorial Calendars

      There are two types of editorial calendars:

      1. Software-based calendars. These have the caveat of a subscription fee.
      2. An editorial calendar you create yourself, usually in a spreadsheet. That could be in Excel or Google Sheets.

      Let’s look at some examples.

      Software Editorial Calendar Tools

      CoSchedule

      CoSchedule is one of the biggest names in editorial calendars, and rightly so. They’re constantly improving their product and have been for many years.

      Here are a few features that might interest you:

      CoSchedule allows you to see everything in one place so you can get a complete overview of all content marketing activities. It also has an awesome UI. It’s simple, looks fantastic, and keeps things uncluttered, which is important if you have a busy schedule and lots of moving parts.

      Types of CoSchedule projects.

      CoSchedule also allows you to share your plans with stakeholders, whether that be a client, line manager, or CEO. You simply grab the sharing URL, and they’ll be able to see both planned and published content.

      Sharing a project on CoSchedule.

      It allows you to be flexible. No matter how well you plan, there will always be times when necessary to swap and change. Maybe something significant takes place in your industry that turns your original plan on its head (we’ve all had to pivot our businesses thanks to COVID-19). How can you get the necessary changes in motion without having to talk to everyone involved?

      It is super simple with CoSchedule. They have a nifty drag-and-drop feature, which means you can change plans on the fly — and notify all relevant team members just as easily.

      CoSchedule’s drag-and-drop feature

      Trello

      Odds are you’re at least somewhat familiar with Trello. Based on Kanban workflow management, it’s been on the scene for a number of years now. With index cards, you can create a workflow that has full transparency and cuts out unnecessary communication.

      Trello isn’t a stand-alone content calendar, however — the software is so flexible it can be used for pretty much anything. So why use it as an editorial calendar?

      Well, for one, it’s free!

      While Trello has paid plans, there’s no cost to get started and you only need to upgrade to access specific features. The free version should more than suffice for small teams, while the first tier of the paid version is quite affordable if you need extra features.

      You can also make it your own.

      A lot of similar software forces you to use it as it comes — i.e., how the designers put it together. With Trello, you’re free to create an editorial calendar that suits your processes and your business.

      Want to save time? Trello can help with that too.

      Not only does it have its own gallery of templates, but other users can (and do) share their templates. You can then take one of these templates and use it as a base for your own calendar.

      Example of Trello’s Editorial Calendar template.

      Trello also boasts Google Docs and Dropbox integrations. This means you can view both drafted and completed content directly within the tool — no more digging around for the document that a team member created and accidentally popped into the wrong folder.

      View of Trello integrations on a content calendar.

      Contently

      If your team needs more than what a tool like Trello can offer, Contently might be the answer. As you might suspect though, it comes at a price.

      Contently has the standard calendar features you’d expect to see. It works similarly to CoSchedule and has an equally simple interface.

      Example of Contently Editorial Calendar.

      So why the hefty price tag?

      It has features that you just don’t see in other software.

      • The ability to document content goals and audience personas
      • Track important SEO keywords
      • Search and social listening — allowing you to stay ahead of the competition and target trending topics
      • It allows for taxonomy and tagging — crucial when you have a ton of content being published
      • It includes performance analytics — you can see what’s performing well and adjust your strategy accordingly

      Example of Contently analytics overview.

      For those running a big team, Contently is a great choice.

      Pros of Software-Based Editorial Calendars

      You Can Connect Them to Other Software

      Publishing across multiple platforms can quickly get complicated. Things become easier when you use an editorial calendar that can connect with your other software. This might include (but isn’t limited to):

      • Facebook
      • Twitter
      • Instagram
      • WordPress
      • Mailchimp

      The ability to publish directly from the software to the chosen channel is a massive time saver.

      They Don’t Take Long to Set Up

      Most online editorial calendars are a breeze to set up — unlike creating your own spreadsheet or document.

      Usually, you just need to click a few times, and you’re ready to go. Most online calendars also have tours to help with onboarding — both for yourself and for your team.

      Cons of Software-Based Calendars

      They Can Be Expensive

      As with anything that makes your life easier, it rarely comes for free. That said, when you’re deciding between software or spreadsheets, you need to take into account time saved and how much that time is worth to you.

      Less time spent on admin = more time for content creation.

      Spreadsheets

      An alternative solution is to use a spreadsheet.

      You can use Excel for this, but you may be better off opting for Google Sheets, as the real-time collaboration makes managing your calendar much more efficient.

      Are there any spreadsheet templates you can use to get started? You bet!

      Pros of Spreadsheet Based Editorial Calendars

      They’re Flexible

      Regardless of how your team operates, you can create an editorial calendar to fit your exact needs. You get to choose what’s in your calendar and how it functions.

      They’re Free

      A huge percentage of businesses in the world use Microsoft, so getting hold of it is super easy. And Google Sheets is free for everyone with a Google account, so you’ve got no excuses there.

      Cons of Spreadsheet Based Calendars

      Communication and Collaboration

      Collaboration is tough, especially in Excel. We’d only recommend using Excel if you have a very small team or no other options.

      With Google Sheets, collaboration is somewhat easier, but it’s still limited compared to what’s offered by most software content planning solutions.

      Automation Can Be Tough

      One of the key advantages of software solutions is that many admin tasks are automated — from notifying team members to collecting data.

      It’s much trickier to introduce automation within spreadsheets.

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      Editorial Calendar Templates

      If you need some inspiration before creating your editorial calendar, then look no further. These examples should give you all the insights and inspiration that you need:

      Editorial Calendar Strategies

      Before you start getting stuck into creating your editorial calendar, here are a few more things to consider.

      • Understand capacity. You need to make sure your team isn’t over or underworked. This means knowing how long specific tasks take and how many hours your team members have available. This helps streamline processes and makes for happier employees.
      • Work towards goals. You need to set out your business goals before entering the first piece of content into your calendar. These goals need to be communicated to the wider team and referenced in tasks.
      • Know your content mix. Before you get cracking, establish which channels you’ll be using. Knowing which channels resonate best with your audience will help you focus effort in the right places.
      • Be detailed. The tasks in your content calendar MUST have detailed briefs. This assists with autonomous working and staying on track.
      • Understand consistency and tone. This is another thing you need to set out from the start in a brand style guide. You may find you need to change your tone for each channel you use. You can then reference these each time you add a task to your calendar.

      Building Calendar-Based Workflows

      Next, you need to look at the kind of workflow you want to build for your team. Here are a few things you need to be thinking about.

      • Ideas. You need a place within your calendar to store blog post ideas. Ideas can easily get lost or forgotten, so make sure to document each topic idea for future reference.
      • Deadlines. An editorial calendar relies on hard deadlines to keep it flowing. From the get-go, your team should understand how planning and deadlines work and that they need to stick to them.
      • Keyword research. It doesn’t matter whether you’re working on a blog post or writing tweets; keyword research is essential.
      • Review and sign off. How do you see this part of the process panning out? If it all takes place in the editorial calendar it improves workflow significantly. Plan it in from the start.
      • See it through. This might sound obvious, but you need a way to flag missed deadlines. And you need to know why so you can adjust the strategy moving forwards.
      • Review and start again. As well as tagging content that’s missed deadlines, you need to come up with a way of tagging successful and failed content right inside your calendar. This helps you learn from your successes and identify mistakes.

      How to Manage Your Editorial Calendar

      You should now be at the stage where you’ve chosen how to deliver your plan (software or spreadsheet). You should know how you are going to build the workflow and how to document everything.

      Is there anything else?

      Yes. How to get your team on board. Here’s some food for thought:

      • What’s the plan? Are you going to onboard the team together or do it one by one? How do you get buy-in from different departments? You need to set yourself a plan and document it so you can confidently communicate the plan to your team.
      • Is everyone in the know? This is easily forgotten. Your team will be in the know, but those that aren’t directly involved may need to be aware of what’s happening too. For example, the CEO may look at the process and calendar once and never again — but if they know how it works, it can help when it comes to reporting.
      • Communicate. This is key. Communication has to happen inside the calendar for optimum workflow. You need to stress this to the team.
      • Stick to the plan. You’ve set it out. You’ve added to the calendar. It’s now your job to make sure everyone sticks to it and uses the calendar in the way you intended.

      Create Your Blog Content Calendar

      When it comes to editorial calendars, there is no perfect solution. No one way of working that will suit every organization or team. What works best for you will depend on factors such as the size of your team, how much content you’re producing, the channels you use, and your budget.

      You can invest in cheap or free editorial or project management software. You can upgrade to enterprise solutions. Or you can save money and create your own bespoke system using Google Sheets or Excel.

      What does apply across the board is that you need a content calendar if you’re creating content. You’ll be fuelling better collaboration, improving efficiency, and helping you and your team track results to make smarter decisions moving forwards.



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      How to Monetize Your Blog: 14 Top Strategies


      We get it! You wanted to connect with other like-minded folks, share a hobby or skill, or promote a small business. There are lots of great reasons to start a blog, and making money might not have been the one that got you into the blogging game.

      But generating a little jingle from your online efforts is definitely worth considering, especially if it helps cover maintenance costs. For instance, using a high-quality web host and a professional theme can make a big difference to the quality of your blog, but they also aren’t free.

      That’s where a monetization strategy comes in handy!

      Fortunately, there are many ways to create reliable streams of revenue through your website. With just a little planning and creativity, your blog can be a source of significant, self-sustaining funds.

      In this article, we’ll offer some detailed guidance about how to monetize your blog. We’ll also share some vital money-making tips and advice about timing your monetization strategy. If you’re ready to make some dough, let’s get started!

      Why Monetization Might Be Right for Your Blog

      In this context, “monetization” simply means turning a regular blog into an income-generating website. If you’re still not sure whether you can make money blogging (or even want to), let’s look a little more at what it entails.

      Naturally, the main reason to monetize a blog is to create a source of passive income. If you’re worried about devoting time to a new endeavor, don’t worry! Most monetization methods won’t require a lot of work to maintain after you set them up.

      If you’re trying to decide whether monetizing a blog is the right for you, here are three of the best reasons to go for it:

      • You want to support the expenses that running your blog incurs.
      • Your readers want more from you, and you’re ready to expand how you engage with them.
      • It’s time to improve your website by adding in some advanced plugins or premium themes and even upgrading your hosting.

      If any of those scenarios fit your current situation, then you’re in the right place! You might be ready to take a big step with your website. First, however, let’s talk about how to time your monetization venture for the best effect.

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      How to Choose the Right Time to Implement a Monetization Strategy

      Timing your foray into the world of blog monetization is a critical element in the process. No, you don’t have to be a full-time blogger to start making money from your blog, but if you take this step too early, you might find that you’re not getting the results you expected.

      With that in mind, let’s look at a couple of scenarios that indicate you’re ready to monetize your blog.

      First and foremost, your audience is a vital element in any monetization strategy. In fact, finding your niche and attracting readers are essential parts of starting any blog. If you’ve found a focused niche for your content and your readership is growing, you’re in a solid place to begin making some revenue.

      Additionally, if your content is really resonating with your target audience, that’s another good indication that your website might be ready for monetizing. There are a couple of ways to find out how your content is performing. Monitoring your traffic, for example, can help you determine whether your readership is growing over time.

      Another key indicator is audience engagement. For instance, if you receive regular comments on your posts, you know that your readers care about your blog and take it seriously.

      Finally, if you have a structured approach to your content management process and a regular, reliable content schedule, you also might be ready to monetize your blog.

      An Introduction to the Most Common Money-Making Options for Bloggers

      Thanks to some innovative open-source tools, there are a wide variety of ways to generate income with a successful blog. While not all options are right for everyone, knowing your audience can help you match the appropriate technique to both your goals and your readers.

      Let’s briefly look at a few common ways to generate money with your blog. For example, affiliate marketing is when you’re compensated for linking out to particular products or websites in your content. Alternatively, you can always generate funds by selling your own products or services.

      If you’re not in the position to do that, you can explore offering ad space for other companies. Of course, there are plenty of alternatives to direct advertising as well, such as taking donations, hosting events, and more.

      Below, we’ll cover each of these strategies in detail.

      How to Monetize Your Blog: 14 Top Strategies

      Now that we’ve covered the basics of monetization, let’s dig in and take a look at some of the best options available to you. Our list has a little bit of everything, so you should be able to find at least one or two techniques you can implement. Plus, we’ll provide some practical advice you can use to get started right away!

      1. Become an Affiliate Marketer

      We mentioned affiliate marketing earlier, but let’s take a look at exactly how you can start making money this way. You’ve likely encountered blogs in the past that mentioned their “content may contain affiliate links.” If you’ve clicked on one of those links and ended up buying something, the blog’s owner got paid for it.

      That’s how affiliate marketing works in a nutshell.

      As you’re writing content, you include links to affiliate products or companies you’ve agreed to partner with and promote. If your readers click on the links and make a purchase, you’ll get paid. The details may vary from program to program, but you generally earn a small commission on each sale resulting from a click-through originating on your site.

      For example, let’s look at our own affiliate program.

      We’ve established a user-friendly affiliate program that clearly details what payouts are available and when you’ll receive them. This brings up another critical thing to note about affiliate marketing. You’ll want to make sure it’s clear what the expectations are not just for payouts, but also what the company expects from you as a marketer.

      It’s pretty easy to get started with affiliate marketing. Just be careful that you don’t end up being required to market something you’re not entirely comfortable with. You want your readers to trust you, so keep that in mind as you explore the many options that are out there.

      You can also check out one of the many WordPress plugins that help you manage your affiliate programs. ThirstyAffiliates is a popular tool.

      “The ThirstyAffiliates WordPress plugin.”

      This plugin can help you manage all of your affiliate links. You can easily add preformatted links to your content as you type. You’ll save time this way, and you’ll also have access to valuable analytics and reports.

      2. Use Ads to Generate Income

      Another common and easy way to generate money from your blog is by allowing advertisers to bid for space on your website. Just as a business might be willing to pay for the best billboard location on the freeway, they’ll pay for prime spots for banner ads or display ads on the internet too.

      Ad networks take available ad space and offer it at auction to various advertisers. In turn, those advertisers will often set parameters for their campaigns. That might include specific target audiences, style and formatting preferences, and goals for how many impressions the ad should get.

      This means that if you have substantial traffic numbers and some space for text or visual advertisements, you can join an ad network. The most popular option is Google’s AdSense.

      “Google’s AdSense platform.”

      One of the nice things about AdSense is that it tailors ad placements to the layout, structure, and content of your website. This makes the ads highly relevant to your readers, increasing the chance that they’ll be clicked on. Plus, you can get started quickly by simply inserting the AdSense code into your website.

      There are other advertising networks out there too. Some of them have more rigorous approval processes than others. If you’re just starting out, you might want to check out some ad networks that are geared towards new websites. For example, PopAds has fast approval and caters to smaller publishers.

      3. Grow Revenue with Sponsored Posts and Reviews

      Creating partnerships with brands and companies that fall within your blog niche is another excellent way of making money online. You can offer to place or write content related to their products on your blog in exchange for a fee.

      There are a few things to consider when doing this, however.

      First, you’ll want to make sure you’re adhering to the Federal Trade Commission’s rules regarding disclosure. In a nutshell, if you’re located in the United States, you need to clearly disclose your sponsored content or any product reviews you’re being compensated for.

      However, before that, you’ll need to secure a sponsor. There’s really nothing stopping you from “cold calling” a business you like. You can ask if they’re interested in paying you to feature content on your website about their products or services.

      Alternatively, you can register with sites like PayPerPost.

      “The PayPerPost website.”

      Essentially, PayPerPost is a directory where bloggers can register, and sponsors can find potential blogs to be featured on. Sponsors can search the directory by topic to narrow down the field of options.

      To get started, you just need to complete a fairly simple form. After that, your information will be searchable in the PayPerPost directory. This is a nice option because you could potentially pair it with another strategy. You can also decide how aggressive you want to be in terms of seeking out sponsored post opportunities.

      4. Partner with Brands as an Influencer

      Establishing yourself as an influencer is another way to create reliable revenue streams. This involves using your social media status to barter with brands. If you have built up enough of a following in certain spaces, you might already be considered a micro-influencer.

      Whether you approach a brand you’d love to showcase on your blog or the brands come to you, these relationships can be financially beneficial. Just as with featuring sponsored reviews, there are some websites out there that can help you establish your influencer presence. Cooperatize is one of them.

      “The Cooperatize micro-influencer platform.”

      If you’re not sure how to go about becoming an influencer, there are a lot of resources out there that can assist you. The basics involve fine-tuning your social media profiles and content. You’ll also need to build up your networks and closely engage with followers.

      After all, it’s hard to “influence” if you don’t have an audience for your posts and content. If you can establish a relationship with a brand that fits your blog’s niche, there can be plenty of benefits for both parties.

      5. Sell Physical Products

      Thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit, social media, and Content Management Systems (CMSs) like WordPress, the online market for goods you can sell yourself is quite vast. The possibilities are just about endless, especially when you take into account the success of websites like Etsy.

      “The Etsy website.”

      In case you’re not familiar with it, Etsy was one of the first websites to offer an online marketplace for handmade goods. It’s the go-to shop for unique and customized items. However, if custom products are not your thing, there are other options.

      Apps that connect you directly to manufacturers have opened up new reseller opportunities. Resellers source desirable or trending products directly and sell them online for a profit. With this strategy, you don’t have to worry about developing, storing, and shipping your own products.

      Of course, you can also design your own online storefront! If you’re using WordPress to create your blog, you also have access to one of the most popular e-commerce plugins out there. WooCommerce makes it extremely easy to set up an online store, and it’s free to use. You can also add many premium features to handle marketing and customer engagement.

      Once you’ve decided what kind of products you’ll sell, you’ll need to get your website set up and choose what type of payment gateways you want to offer customers.

      To launch your online store, it’ll be critical to have an email marketing strategy in place. We’d recommend focusing on building an email list so you can easily let your loyal fans know about your latest offerings. A great way to do this? Create your own email newsletter.

      6. Sell Digital Products or E-books

      If you have expertise in a specific area and have written stellar blog posts on that topic, you might consider marketing some related digital products. For example, you could create an e-book based on either your most popular blog posts or made up of entirely new material.

      If there’s a topic that readers continuously comment on or ask about, that might be an excellent place to start. If an e-book seems too ambitious, you can also think about serializing content and pricing certain portions of it as premium products.

      Whether you decide to offer e-books, music, or another type of digital item, you might want to check out the Easy Digital Downloads plugin for WordPress.

      “The Easy Digital Downloads plugin.”

      Adding a tool like this to your website setup can help you offer user-friendly checkout options. Additionally, the free version of the plugin comes with both the PayPal and Amazon payment gateways.

      Something to keep in mind is that this monetization strategy doesn’t have to be your only source of income. Offering a digital download or two on your blog pairs well with many other options on our list. For example, you could easily incorporate ads or affiliate marketing as well, in order to boost revenue.

      7. Offer Coaching or Consultations

      Similar to turning your expertise into e-books or another downloadable product, you can also offer coaching services or consultations for a premium fee. If you enjoy engaging with people one-on-one, whether virtually or in person, this can be a satisfying way to monetize a blog.

      Fortunately, WordPress can help you manage a busy consultation schedule. For example, the Booking Calendar plugin is a highly-rated and well-maintained solution.

      “The WordPress Booking Calendar plugin.”

      By combining this plugin with a popular payment gateway like PayPal, you can be up and running with a money-making coaching or consulting business in no time.

      There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re interested in this approach.

      This is a monetization strategy that requires a bit more work on your end, both upfront and on an ongoing basis. If you’re looking for a way to ease into your own full-time business, however, this is definitely an on-ramp worth exploring.

      Something else to consider when developing your strategy is how you’ll promote interest in your new services. One of your best options is to put together one or more dedicated landing pages, which can provide all the details needed to turn readers into clients.

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      8. Run an Online Course

      There’s no doubt that the option to take courses online has become a popular and accepted form of education. Professionals can add to their knowledge base in this way, and students can even complete degrees.

      As a blogger with something to teach, running your own online course is another top monetization possibility. One way to determine what topics might be popular is to look at LinkedIn Learning and research what’s trending.

      “LinkedIn Learning course options.”

      Once you determine which subjects might be appealing to your readers, you can experiment with WordPress’ Learn Dash plugin. This is a tool that can help you turn your WordPress website into a full Learning Management System (LMS).

      LearnDash includes just about all of the features you’ll need to create an online course. This includes pricing functionality, points, and certificate options for students. You’ll be able to create an engaging learning opportunity for your readers, earn some money, and establish yourself or your business as a knowledgeable authority.

      9. Host a Virtual Summit

      If you’re not sold on some of the other options on our list, but you want to find a way to generate revenue while engaging with other professionals in your field, don’t worry. Monetization is still very much a possibility for your blog!

      Thanks to a wide array of accessible and affordable communication technologies, you can organize and host virtual summits. These mini-conferences can also be delivered as live or recorded webinars, for both new and old readers to engage with.

      One way to coordinate efforts between your webinar platform and your website is to use a plugin like WP GoToWebinar.

      “The GoToWebinar plugin for WordPress.”

      To use this tool, you’ll need a GoToWebinar account. Then you’ll be able to easily embed a list of upcoming webinars on your site, as well as connect to registration forms. Keep in mind that if you have a global reach, however, you’ll want to make sure your offerings follow the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules.

      If you need to have a lot of control over your schedule and can leverage specific times of the year when you require an income boost, this is a great option. With a virtual summit, you can pull in your favorite professional resources and create an engaging online event for your followers.

      10. Start a Podcast

      Podcasts hit the big time in 2019. Crossing over into the mainstream, statistics soon showed that just over half of the U.S. population had listened to a podcast. While it might seem like “everyone” has a podcast, however, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room in the market for yours.

      A podcast can be an excellent companion to an existing blog. Once you find the right niche, you can scope out some top podcast charts to see where you might fit in. After that, getting your podcast website ready for monetizing is your next step. Once you’re set up and have established a following, you can experiment with some of the other solutions on our list.

      For example, ad spending on podcasts is a growing area that can have better results than traditional advertising options. However, if you’re not interested in placing ads on your site or mentioning sponsors during each episode, there are other monetization options.

      For instance, you can create a podcast membership site with the Ultimate Member plugin.

      “The Ultimate Member plugin.”

      This is a popular, well-maintained, and highly-rated tool. One caveat is that you’ll need to upgrade to the premium version if you want to integrate it with WooCommerce for paid podcast memberships. Alternatively, there are some plugins like Paid Member Subscriptions that offer a few more features for free.

      11. Create a YouTube Channel

      Similar to podcasting, creating an engaging YouTube channel can be a lucrative (and fun!) endeavor to complement your blog. However, it might seem overwhelming at first to keep up with all the best practices for monetizing videos online.

      One way to make things simpler is to do some research into the YouTube Partner Program. While it’s possible to use your YouTube channel to boost your on-site revenue, the platform offers specific and beginner-friendly tools through its dedicated program as well.

      “The YouTube Monetization tool requirements.”

      If you’re not able to apply for the program, you can still use YouTube to drive traffic to your blog. When you combine elements like AdSense, affiliate marketing, and more, you can create a dynamic money-making system. You can even link to your own landing pages from your YouTube videos.

      12. Accept Donations

      If you don’t need income to keep your website afloat, but would like to make money blogging to pay for future upgrades, accepting donations is an option you might explore. Loyal readers will likely support your passions if you have plans that will bring them more of the log posts they love.

      For example, if your niche is travel and photography, you could accept donations that are earmarked to go towards your next expedition.

      While you can use one of the many online crowdfunding options, there are also some useful plugins available, such as GiveWP.

      “The Give plugin for WordPress.”

      This tool has a lot of features to offer for passion projects, non-profits, and blogs. The free version includes such a robust feature set that most users won’t need the premium add-ons.

      Alternatively, you can structure a donation system with a well-styled form and a payment gateway such as PayPal. WPForms is a great place to start if you need a form-building plugin. Just keep in mind that you’ll want to be as transparent as possible with how you’re using the donations, so readers will feel confident in giving.

      13. Offer a Paid Membership Plan

      We mentioned some membership plugins earlier when talking about how to monetize a podcast. However, there are other ways to offer and manage a membership plan for your blog itself. One of the most popular platforms for this is Patreon.

      “The Patreon membership platform.”

      One of the best aspects of Patreon is that you can get started for free. The cost of the platform is based on the level of service you choose. Each level takes a cut of your monthly donations. For example, the “Lite” level charges 5% of your monthly donation income.

      Patreon makes it pretty easy to set up content-specific membership sites. You can offer premiums for different levels of donations. This means you can give specific donors access to exclusive content on your blog, or annual premiums.

      14. Develop a Branded Swag Shop

      When you really love a band, writer, movie, etc., it’s common to want to show your support by sporting its branded gear. If you have the resources, creating your own branded swag shop can also be a fun way of making money.

      WooCommerce is, of course, the most popular e-commerce tool out there. It’s an easy addition to any website. However, you can also look into print and ship services, if you’re not prepared to handle the logistics of fulfilling orders.

      The good news is that you can turn your WooCommerce shop into a fulfillment center as well. The Printful integration for WooCommerce is a great place to start.

      “The Printful integration for WooCommerce.”

      With this add-on, you can create a shop by choosing from Printful’s inventory of over 220 items. You can provide designs that are specific to your blog, or choose from the pre-built templates. Additionally, you can set up items that can be individualized by your readers.

      After a purchase is made, Printful will make it and ship it for you! It’s that easy. You can even estimate profits with an online calculator. This will help you set your prices to ensure the level of revenue you need.

      You CAN Make Money Blogging

      Once you decide you want to monetize a blog, you may be tempted to dive in headfirst and try everything you can think of. However, taking a measured approach often leads to a more profitable blog in the long run. We’ve outlined many feasible options for monetizing your blog, but it’s important to keep some specific points in mind when choosing your strategy.

      For example, remember that not all forms of monetization work for all blogs. It’s key to determine whether you’ve found the right blogging niche first. Next, focusing on one or two complementary possibilities are likely to yield the best results. For instance, you might pair AdSense with a podcast or video channel.

      Finally, no matter what approach you take to generating income on your blog, you’ll want to make sure you have the hosting resources you need. We recommend checking out our shared hosting plans as a great place to start!



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      How to Write a Blog Post: A Step-By-Step Guide


      1997: the year the Pathfinder landed on Mars, Madeleine Albright was sworn in as Secretary of State, and Titanic demolished box office records.

      It’s also the year the term “weblog” was officially coined (even though the first blog is said to have existed in 1994, at the near genesis of the internet). For two decades, starting a blog has been a powerful way to connect with internet audiences and share creative content.

      Yet, with blogging’s established rep as a powerhouse (and dominant) form of web content, it’s easy to witness the ever-changing and ephemeral landscape of the internet. Blink and virtual crowds have abandoned one novelty social media platform for another. Viral memes and web fads frequently give internet audiences virtual whiplash. Content creators are fighting to garner the ever-depleting attention spans of web users.

      So are the web’s 31.7 million blogs losing relevance anytime soon?

      Not at all.

      It turns out 77% of internet users read blogs regularly. What’s more, 61% of Americans spend three times the amount of time-consuming blog content than they do email content.

      Blogging is still very much a crucial part of a thriving brand and a next-level content marketing strategy in 2020. Whether you’re a brand or a business, you want to attract traffic and offer something of value to visitors. Blogging is a major key to that engagement — having a blog on your website increases your chances of ranking higher in search engines by a massive 434%. Plus, bloggers wield immense influence on the web — giving your brand the opportunity to grow in a big way.

      So do you have everything you need to be a blogging success? Let’s find out. Passion? Check. Website? Check. Fueled by a great *ahem* web hosting company *ahem*? Double-check. You’re ready to share your own unique content with the world wide web.

      Power Your Blog with DreamHost

      We’ll make sure your blog is fast, secure and always up so your visitors can engage with you. Plans start at $2.59/mo.

      OK, wait. How do you write a blog post? If you want to create value for readers and attract traffic to your site, it’s not as easy as typing up a few sentences in haste and clicking Publish. No, writing a great blog post requires creativity and smart crafting. And with the abundance of bloggers and the influx of ideas out there, you need to be at the top of your blogging game to cut through the noise and get eyes on your content.

      But don’t worry!

      We’re here to help. This everything-you-need guide covers it all: the reality behind blogging (aka vital stats to know), the ins-and-outs of crafting a great blog, and what handy resources are available to help with every aspect of writing your article.

      Dig in and study it word-for-word or just jump to the sections you need:

      Before we dive in too deep, let’s address something really fundamental: Why is writing a good blog post so important? Why does it even matter?

      So glad you asked (we love this topic)!

      Why Does Writing a Great Blog Post Matter?

      So what difference does a quality blog post make anyway?

      Well, the difference between a so-so blog post and a can’t-stop-reading blog post is a matter of only a handful of factors, but they’re crucial.

      An exceptional blog post not only helps attract your target audience to your site, but it helps establish you as an authority in your field and motivates visitors to continue engaging with you.

      In fact, 30% of people rank quality content as the top factor that adds credibility to a blog, so not only do you need to start a blog, you need excellent blog content. As you provide valuable content, readers will be more likely to develop loyalty to your brand. They’ll share your content with their friends, and trust us, social shares are the virtual word of mouth you need to flourish online.

      If you want authentic growth, you need killer blog posts.

      What Makes a Good Blog Post?

      So let’s break it down. What makes a perfect blog article? Here are the nine key ingredients.

      1. Targeted Message

      Or, in other words, Know Thy Audience. Ideally, you already know who you’re trying to reach with your brand or business.

      Similarly, your blog posts should be geared toward reaching and influencing a particular target audience — your specific niche — and addressing their needs. With a focused target, you are more likely to connect with audiences and build your brand. Casting an overly-wide net with your message will cause you to miss out on the key audiences that are most important for the growth of your brand.

      Valentine's Day post from House That Lars Built
      Brittany Jepsen of House That Lars Built knows her audience — creative DIY crafters — and tailors content for them.

      2. Clever Headline

      Your headline is often the make-it-or-break-it factor between someone clicking on your blog post or passing it by for some other site (likely a competitor’s content!)

      Your headline should grab readers, make them want more — tease and tantalize! — while still giving them a roadmap for the journey you’re going to take them on as well as an idea of what prize they’ll earn by adventuring. Invest the time to craft a good headline — it makes a big difference. Choose each word carefully.

      Pro-tip: Use a headline analyzer tool to get insight into the efficacy of your title and ways to improve.

      Behind-the-scenes blog post of Disneyland happenings.
      The author of this Disney Food Blog post entices readers with a behind-the-scenes look at Disneyland happenings.
      Blog post from At One Good Thing by Jillee.
      At One Good Thing by Jillee, this headline explains that the post will address a very common pain point — needing room-temperature ingredients in a pinch.
      Example of blog title using numbers.
      Using numbers is a solid way to quantify what value you’re offering to readers, like this post on author K.M. Weiland’s writing blog.

      3. Interesting Intro

      Kudos! You got a reader to click on your post, interested in finding more about your topic. Now — how to keep them reading (and keep your bounce rate steady)?

      You need a hook. You need to start your blog post with a captivating intro to draw the reader into your post. Whether you lead with a shocking stat, an engaging anecdote, a thought-provoking question, or an innovative idea, make your intro so compelling that your visitors can’t stop reading. Lure them in and hook ‘em.

      But take note — the introduction needs to satisfy the intent you hinted at in the headline or your audiences (and search engines) will punish you with lower traffic and rankings.

      Example of intriguing blog post intro.
      This post from Greatist hooks readers with an unexpected, intriguing intro.

      4. Valuable Content

      What does your blog post offer audiences? Readers are more likely to read and engage with your blog content if it offers them something of value, addresses a burning question, or solves a particularly deep pain point. Are you providing them with info they can’t find anywhere else? Is your content exclusive, comprehensive beyond your competitors, or outfitted with freebies or rich resources? Does it solve a problem?

      If so, then you’re on the right track.

      Let’s spend some time on this. Great blog posts are really all about understanding your audience — what they need, what they care about, how they behave. This type of research is crucial. Get to know them by reaching out to them, soliciting feedback, and asking questions. Get to know them and show you care.

      Next, do some internet research. Look at what people are searching for, what types of questions they’re asking (Google Auto-Complete anyone?). Browse Reddit, scout out competitor sites, and read comments.

      Simply put: Do your homework.

      Based on the intel you gather, develop a list of blog posts and content ideas that address the needs of your audience. You can start out with broad topics and then narrow the scope as you hone in on your niche. Plan what you need to distinguish your blog and beat out competitors in what you’re offering audiences.

      Popular content on the CSS-Tricks blog.
      The blog at CSS-Tricks clues readers into popular content and entices with the promise of answering a burning question.

      Need ideas on what kind of content to offer? Here are some well-received examples:

      • Listicles
      • Roundups
      • How-Tos/Tutorials
      • Exclusive Insights/Behind-the-Scenes

      5. Captivating Stories

      Visitors are more likely to connect with content that is relatable, human, and engaging, so gather your readers around the campfire (metaphorically, of course) and share relevant, captivating tales.

      Example of captivating story from Expert Vagabond blog.
      This post from Expert Vagabond hooks readers immediately with a captivating story.

      6. Easy-to-Scan Text

      Here’s an important stat for you. The average person spends only 37 seconds reading a blog post. If your text is long and clunky, it could be even less.

      Make your content easy to consume, organizing your snackable text in bite-sized pieces that’s easy to digest.

      Break up text into short paragraphs often, guided by informative subheads, emphasized text, and bullet points. Vary the length of your sentences, and utilize white space to provide visual breaks for readers’ eyes. Making text easier to read with consistent and organized formatting will help keep eyes on your content.

      7. Thoughtful Design

      It’s not just the content of your blog post that matters. Design (and blog structure) plays a big part in getting audiences to consume your content and engage with your brand. Pairing strong content with aesthetically-pleasing design makes your blog post that much more impactful.

      Thoughtful design includes smart use of white space, an attractive color scheme, easy-to-use navigation and menus, and other guiding design elements like leading lines and composition.

      It should also take into account the typical f-shaped scanning pattern when laying out design elements.

      Joi Knows How blog color scheme.
      The blog at Joi Knows How is united by a cohesive color scheme and engaging design elements, and thoughtful navigation.

      8. Authentic Writing

      The quickest way to turn off your audiences? Write content for them in an inauthentic voice. Visitors to your site don’t want salesperson speak, overly-technical jargon, academic mumbo-jumbo, or an unapproachable narrator — they want YOU. Your real, one-of-a-kind voice will keep them coming back for more.

      Example of relatable blog copy.
      Jessica of How Sweet Eats brings appeal to her blog posts not just by sharing delicious recipes and food photos — her writing feels real, relatable, and fun.

      9. Mobile-Responsiveness

      Mobile is king. Mobile internet usage has grown exponentially in the last few years, now dominating its share of traffic over desktop usage.

      Plus, more than five million people have smartphones, meaning that if audiences can’t access your blog post on mobile (or if your post isn’t responsive or attractive on their phone or tablet), they’re likely to hop to a competitor’s site.

      Prioritize a mobile-friendly blog to grow your brand. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to test out your site for possible responsiveness issues (this includes keeping things speedy!).

      Be Awesome on the Internet

      Join our monthly newsletter for tips and tricks to build your dream website!

      How to Write a Blog Post (In 6 Steps)

      Now, it’s time to write that blog post! Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and do this step by step.

      1. Plan

      First, you need to sit down and prep your post. Planning is imperative to crafting a home-run blog post, especially if you want to stand out amongst your competitors and garner the attention you need.

      First off, you need to get yourself organized. Keep a running list of post ideas based on the research you’ve conducted on your audience and on valuable keywords. Brainstorm and mind map your thoughts. When planning your content calendar, consult your ideas and choose what would be the most useful for your target audience.

      Once you’ve settled on a winner, use a blog planner (like this one) and map out your topic. Create an outline with basic points and conduct the necessary research to flesh out important details. Visitors can get fake news anywhere on the web, so you owe it to your audience (and your brand) to only plan and create well-researched, high-value posts.

      And remember, it’s great to have a lot of content — more blog posts will draw more traffic. BUT. Make sure you’re prioritizing quality content over mere quantity and that you’re passionate about what you’re writing about.

      If you are, it will be evident — and contagious.

      2. Craft a Headline

      Your headline is crucial, remember? It’s got to be strong, or it’s not going to draw readers in.

      Remember: you want to entice and hint at what readers are going to get out of clicking on your article instead of someone else’s. A few headline pointers:

      • Optimal headline length is 11-14 words, both for social shares and search engine efficacy.
      • You need a captivating hook, plus enough info that your readers know what to expect and what value you’re offering them. Don’t just use throwaway clickbait phrases or pack in keywords. Trim the fat and use each word with intention.

      3. Write Your Post

      Time to start tickling those virtual ivories — meaning, it’s time to start writing your blog post. The average time spent writing a blog post has been increasing, so give yourself enough time (at least a few hours) to get your thoughts down and fully engage the writing process.

      The optimal length for blog posts is 2200-2500 words, so keep an eye on word count as you write. For now, don’t worry about making it perfect on the first go-around. Just keep those fingers moving and get the words down.

      Make sure to include a CTA (Call to Action) as you wrap up your post — you want your readers to be motivated to do something. And if they’ve stuck with you through a whole blog post, there’s a good chance they will.

      4. Find Images

      A blog post without images earns a big whomp, whomp, whomp — and gets little interest from readers and higher bounce rates. Blog articles with images get 94% more views.

      This means images — relevant, good quality ones — are absolutely necessary for your posts.

      DIY some of your own photography, get proper photo permissions for others’ work you want to share, or use a royalty-free site like Pexels or Unsplash to add images to your post and edit as necessary.

      You can also consider including alternative elements like infographics, charts, and graphics to create unique visual interest.

      Example of eye-catching image on Our Travel Passport blog.
      Eye-catching images are a hallmark of the Our Travel Passport blog, drawing readers in with visual interest.

      5. Edit Your Post

      Wait! Before clicking Publish, you need to edit your post. And no, a simple run of your standard-issue spell check isn’t enough.

      Here are some editing best practices:

      • Take a Break. Polish your post by stepping away from your keyboard for a time, then returning later with a fresh pair of eyes. The break will help you see errors you might have missed before.
      • Play Editor. Proofread your post with a fine-tooth comb and correct any grammar and spelling errors. Also take the opportunity to edit your text for clarity.
      • Think Syntax. The same type and length of sentences can get really boring — and difficult — to read. Vary your sentence length to keep things interesting.
      • Pack a Punch. Flimsy, weak-sounding copy turns off readers and leaves them unsatiated. Eliminate weak verbs and passive voice. You want your words to be strong and meaningful.
      • Get a Sounding Board. Read your text aloud to ensure it flows smoothly and sounds authentic and on-brand. Have a friend or colleague read over it and give feedback for an outsider’s perspective.
      • Fix Formatting. Make sure your text isn’t wonky when published. Preview it to ensure that it looks the way it’s supposed to — professional and well laid-out — providing plenty of visual space for eye breaks.

      Your blog content is a representation of your brand, so make sure it reflects a professional and polished image.

      6. Promote Your Post

      If you’ve followed the steps above, you’ve likely got a great blog post on your hands. That’s all fine and good, but if no one sees it, all your hard work is for naught! You’ll need to put in the content marketing legwork to get your post in front of your audience.

      Whether you use social media promotion, email marketing, paid advertising, or search engine optimization — ideally, a balance of all of these tactics — work to promote your post in ways that make sense for your target audiences.

      Helpful Blog Post Resources

      Don’t worry. We’re not done yet! We’ve got a handy-dandy toolbox of resources to help you make writing blog posts easy (and fun) — and above all, to help you build a successful blog and grow your brand. We know starting and maintaining a blog isn’t easy, but we’re here to help.

      Here are some super useful tools for each step of the writing process.

      Building a Website

      Planning

      Writing

      Editing

      Promotion

      The Final Word on Starting a Blog

      Ready to craft some kick-butt blog posts? You’ve got everything you need to write great posts; now you need to team up with a great web host.

      We’ve got you covered.

      We’re experts at making things easy with top-tier tech support and resources for any SOS moments. Plus, we’re your biggest fans. Go you! Our Shared Hosting plans + your epic blogging skills = the perfect pair.



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