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      How to Write Product Descriptions That Really Sell: 8 Simple Tips


      Congratulations! You’ve done the hard marketing work to lead your target customer right to your product pages. They are currently reading through a product description to decide whether or not they will purchase something from your e-commerce business.

      The million dollar question: will they buy what you’re selling?

      The answer, in large part, depends on how much time and effort you put into your product description. It may seem drastic to weigh product descriptions so heavily, but stats show that a well-written product description is a surefire conversion tool. Here’s a closer look:

      • 87% of consumers ranked product content extremely or very important when deciding to buy.
      • Millennials are 40% more likely than other adults to say product content is extremely important to their purchasing decisions.
      • Consumers purchasing clothing and online groceries ranked product descriptions as the second most influential factor in their decision to buy — just after price.
      • 20% of purchase failures are potentially a result of missing or unclear product information.

      The stats don’t lie. If you want to increase sales, it’s time to polish your e-commerce product descriptions.

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      8 Ways to Write an Excellent Product Description

      But what actually makes a good product description? In this guide, we’re giving you eight tips (along with winning examples) that provide a comprehensive look into what makes an effective product description. Let’s go!

      1. Identify Your Buyer Personas

      It can be difficult to write a product description if you don’t know who your target audience is. To successfully write about product features that resonate with your potential buyers, you have to know who they are.

      This means you need to reference your buyer persona(s)  — a fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research. If you don’t already have a buyer persona to guide the copywriting on your website, the time to create one is now.

      A buyer persona should answer all of the following general questions:

      • What is the demographic information of your buyers?
      • What are their interests?
      • What is their native language?
      • What kind of language appeals to them? (e.g., Does industry jargon appeal to them or turn them off?)
      • How do they spend their free time?
      • How do they find your website?
      • Why are they interested in your store?

      If you have the luxury of big data at your hands, collect data on your current customers to also understand:

      • Product preferences
      • Behavioral patterns
      • Purchasing patterns

      Access to this data will help you fine-tune your buyer personas. Once you know who you are selling to, it will be easier to write product descriptions that resonate well with them.

      2. Focus on Product Benefits and Features

      As crucial as it is to speak the language of your buyers, your buyers don’t come to your page to connect. They come to learn precisely what your product can do and how it will meet their needs and fulfill their pain points. To accomplish this, you need to write an extensive list of your product’s features and benefits.

      Start with the features. For example, if you sell shoes, include size information, material, color information, the weight of the shoe, etc. Your features section should be comprehensive and tell consumers everything they need to know about what makes your product special.A list of features is a great start, but it’s only half the battle. Potential customers also want to know the benefits of your particular product. And, this is where your product description can shine.

      With the shoe example, benefits would include things like comfort, flexibility, odor-resistance, wet and dry traction, etc.

      Allbirds does a fantastic job showing off the benefits of their shoe without being verbose. Their advantages are spelled out in short, sweet blurbs that get right to the point.

      Allbirds product benefits.
      Allbirds clearly identifies its products’ main benefits for customers.

      Benefits are your main selling points, your differentiators, and the reasons why customers will end up selecting your product over your competitors. Don’t neglect clearly identifying them.

      3. Stay True to Your Brand’s Voice

      If your brand’s voice is professional, your product descriptions should be professional. If your brand is snarky and sarcastic, then your product descriptions should match. Is your brand funny? Be funny when writing your product descriptions.

      Everyone is familiar with the hilarious Poo-Pourri advertising videos. You know, the videos that took Poo-Pourri from a $10 million company to a $30 million company almost overnight?

      Poo-Pourri has a unique brand identity and tone of voice, which they stay true to even when describing their products.

      Poo-Pourri product description.
      Poo-Pourri stays true to their brand’s unique voice in product descriptions.

      4. Tell a Full Story

      Every good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Unless, of course, you’re one of the writers on Game of Thrones, but I digress.

      With product descriptions, the formula for good writing is no different. You need to present a complete story that engages your readers. This doesn’t mean you need to write a novel, but at the same time, your product description shouldn’t just be a list of features and benefits either.

      Instead, show (not tell) your customers how the product will improve their lives. Help them visualize a real-life scenario where your product solves a problem. The goal is to create a narrative arc in which the reader is the hero and your product is the tool that enables them to succeed.

      For example, check out the impressive product storytelling of Malicious Women Candle Co.

      Customers aren’t just buying a candle at Malicious Women Candle Company. They are purchasing a product that promotes empowerment with a side of hustle and energy. Now that’s a product story.

      5. Use Active Language to Persuade Buyers

      Your mom was right; the words you use make a difference — especially with product descriptions. The truth is that some words are just more persuasive than others. In fact, experts have roadtested all kinds of language to come up with 189 words and phrases that actually improve conversion rates.

      Consider these 20 tried-and-tested words recommended by David Ogilvy, the proverbially ‘Father of Advertising’:

      • Suddenly
      • Now
      • Announcing
      • Introducing
      • Improvement
      • Amazing
      • Sensational
      • Remarkable
      • Revolutionary
      • Startling
      • Miracle
      • Magic
      • Offer
      • Quick
      • Easy
      • Wanted
      • Challenge
      • Compare
      • Bargain
      • Hurry

      The common theme? Persuasive words encourage consumers to take action.

      Jon Morrow of SmartBlogger.com has his own list of 600 power words that will tap into your customer’s emotions, making them more likely to engage with your message.

      Sample of Jon Morrow’s 600-word list
      Sample of Jon Morrow’s 600-word list

      Since many companies use awe-inspiring (see what we did there?) power words in their product descriptions, it’s easy to find good examples — even for seemingly bland products. Here’s one about shaving cream from Ulta Beauty.

      Ulta Beauty product description.
      Ulta Beauty utilizes power words to make shaving cream seem swanky.

      When writing product descriptions, take a moment to scan through your copy and make sure each word is pulling its weight.

      6. Make Text Scannable with Bullet Points

      Making your text scannable is one of the most critical elements of writing a good product description. Studies suggest humans have an attention span that’s shorter than that of a goldfish — a bleak eight seconds.

      This means it’s essential to make your content easily digestible. The solution to packing a narrative punch in a relatively small space? Create a bulleted list.

      J. Crew does this well. Customers can click on a picture to see the item of interest and quickly read the scannable bullet points for more information.

      J. Crew product description with bullet points.
      Bullet points make it easy for J. Crew customers to scan the fine print.

      The more you can do to make a product description scannable, the better.

      7. Optimize Copy for Search Engines

      Copywriters have a unique challenge when it comes to writing product descriptions. They must persuade readers, but there’s another audience to keep in mind too: search engine algorithms.

      Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — including identifying and using the appropriate keywords for your products — should be a critical part of your product description writing process.

      The SEO world is constantly changing, along with Google’s algorithms, so what works one day might not be ideal the next. However, there are still some keyword strategies that stand the test of time, such as avoiding duplicate content and including keywords in the following places:

      • Page title
      • Product title
      • Meta descriptions
      • Alt tags
      • Product descriptions

      The keywords you use in your copy help Google and other search engines identify what the page is about. This information then used to determine how to rank your site on the search engine results page (SERP) so that relevant results to served up to people imputing related search queries.

      For example, when you type “shaving cream” into Google, Google offers a list of products.

      Google search result for 'shaving cream'.
      Google displays popular products when you search for ‘shaving cream.’

      There are literally hundreds of shaving cream products on the market today, but these five products have the best SEO keyword strategy.

      Take Cremo Shave Cream, for example. When visiting their product page, it’s clear they have maximized the use of keywords, such as shave cream and shave.

      Cremo product descriptions focused on keywords.
      Cremo focused on incorporating keywords into its product descriptions.

      Additionally, when you check out the page source, you can see the back-end (e.g., alt tags) are optimized with the keyword as well.

      8. Add Images and Video

      It should go without saying that a great product description must include images. If you need extra persuasion, remember that 63% of consumers believe good images are more important than product descriptions.

      If your e-commerce store can afford to hire a product photographer, awesome! If not, there are lots of DIY product photography tutorials to help get you started. Of course, good photos start with good equipment, including:

      • Camera
      • Tripod
      • Nice background
      • White bounce cards made of foam board
      • Table
      • Tape

      Once you’ve gathered your gear, you’ll need some tips on how to actually take stellar photos. This guide from Bigcommerce provides beginner-friendly tips at budget-price: how to shoot exceptional product photos for under $50. Suggestions include:

      • Using a light-colored backdrop so it’s easier to touch up images.
      • Creating your own lightbox to distribute light evenly.
      • Using a tripod to steady your camera.
      • Retouching images before posting them.

      If you don’t think a smartphone will do the trick, think again. All you need for affirmation is to take a gander at some of the DIY photographers on Instagram. Jennifer Steinkop of @aloeandglow, for example, uses an iPhone 8 Plus, the Lightbox app, and some of the tips mentioned above to create gorgeous beauty shots.

      @aloeandglow Instagram account
      @aloeandglow Instagram account

      Looking for a more corporate example? iRobot has excellent product photography on its website. The company includes at least four images and often a video (bonus!) to show consumers exactly how the product works.

      iRobot’s Roomba i7 product page.
      iRobot’s Roomba i7 product page.

      With a few clicks of a button in a second or two, consumers know exactly what they are getting when they buy a Roomba.

      Another tip courtesy of iRobot: consider adding customer reviews to your product description. In addition to quality imagery, social proof can be hugely motivating for prospective buyers.

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      How to Create a Product Description Template

      While we’ve just outlined eight tips for writing product descriptions that really sell, it’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. That’s because all products have different features, benefits, and selling points.

      However, if you have a list of similar products and you don’t want to start from scratch every time you write a product description, it can be beneficial to create a template.

      There are lots of handy product description template examples you can download from e-commerce websites. To really maximize their value, though, we’d recommended you focus on the 8 tips we outlined above. Start by asking:

      • What are your buyer personas?
      • What are the pain points of your customers?
      • How does your product solve customer pain points?
      • What power words can you use in your copy?
      • Do you have a unique story or brand voice?
      • Is your language accessible and free of industry jargon?
      • What are the main features and benefits of your products?
      • Do you have an image and video library?

      Once you’ve answered these questions, you can tweak your template and test it with your audience. If you find a specific template is outperforming others, then you’ve found your winner.

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      How to Design a Website: 6 Key Tips for Success


      Designing a website is easier than it has ever been. Long gone are the days of manual coding and restrictive print-based layouts. Today, almost anyone can create a gorgeous, responsive, functional site in minutes — as long as you know where to start.

      Fortunately, the basics of website design are relatively easy to understand if you apply some common sense and careful planning. Your goal should always be to create a site that’s not just visually striking but is also easy to navigate and use.

      In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of designing a website and show you how to get started with six key tips. We’ll also introduce you to the Remixer website builder and demonstrate how you can use this tool to create a site quickly and easily.

      1. Plan Your Design Thoroughly

      Before you do anything, you’ll need a concrete and thorough plan. At this stage, you should clearly define your goals and expectations for your site and outline what you hope to accomplish with it.

      Here are just a few of the questions you’ll want to have clear answers to:

      1. Is the site personal or commercial?
      2. Do you want it to make money and if so, how?
      3. Will you be using advertisements or affiliate marketing?
      4. How much traffic are you expecting?

      Put your thoughts and ideas down on paper and start drawing up a plan. We mean that literally, by the way. A smart method of planning your site is to create sketches of how you want it to look and operate. You should also take everyone’s ideas into account if you’re working with other designers or collaborators.

      By the end of your planning phase, you should have a blueprint of the site’s top-level framework. This includes a plan for its user interface (UI), sidebars, and other page elements, as well as an idea of how navigation will work. Doing this first will make it much easier to bring your vision to life.

      2. Create Your Site’s Visual Identity

      When you’ve got an idea of what the structure of your site will be, it’s time to look at its appearance. You’ll need to choose the fonts and typography you’ll want to use. If you’re working from an established brand identity, consider how your choices match up to offline materials. It’s also worth exploring how well the fonts you choose work with multiple languages and how effectively they scale up and down on differently-sized screens.

      You’ll also need to decide on a color scheme. Again, if you’re creating a site based on a brand with an established visual identity, you’ve done most of the hard work already. Otherwise, picking a color scheme requires you to consider color theory and ensure your choices are accessible.

      Thinking about the ‘feel’ you want your site to have can make this decision easier. Colors represent different emotions and meanings, after all. For example, red is typically seen as an aggressive and impulsive color, while green is associated with health and the environment. You should take time to choose your colors carefully since they can help you create a cohesive visual identity.

      3. Consider the Layout and Navigation

      If you planned ahead as we discussed earlier, this step will be a lot easier. You’ve already considered how navigation will work on your site. It’s now time to dig deeper and think about your visitor’s journey.

      The visitor’s journey refers to the possible paths that people can take on your website. In other words, you’ll need to consider how users will access other parts of the site from any given page. After all, you won’t always have control over how users first arrive on your site, so you can’t just rely on a homepage to serve as your hub. Navigation needs to be available across your site, and it has to be accessible and easy-to-use.

      You also need to plan out the layout of each page carefully. To do this, ask yourself what each page on your site is trying to achieve. For example, if you want people to fill out a contact form, you’ll need a strong CallTo-Action (CTA) button. Your CTA should always be prominent and clear.

      Every element on a page should be designed to promote the overall goal. It’s best to start simple and add elements over time to ensure you aren’t adding unneeded information or features.

      4. Pay Attention to the Details

      When you’ve completed the overall design and layout of your site, it’s time to shrink your scope and focus on the details. These are the seemingly minor things that create the general look and feel of your site, such as buttons, menus, image placements, and so forth.

      Treat each component on your site as a stand-alone object and give it proper attention. This is the kind of precise work that can seem excessive but will greatly help to refine your site overall. Your goal should be to make the final product better than the sum of its parts, and spending appropriate time and effort on those parts is the best strategy.

      One way you can make your site ‘pop’ is by adding engaging elements like microinteractions. We’ve previously discussed that these are a popular trend — and for good reason. They help make your site feel more interactive and living since it’s able to respond to the user in small ways.

      You should also work on avoiding common mistakes, such as bad font rendering and poor color contrast. These are the kinds of issues that are easy to miss if you don’t get up-close with the individual components of your site. For that reason, make sure you give them the attention they require.

      5. Prototype and Share Your Design

      Prototyping is an important part of the design process. A prototype is simply a demo version of your site that you can share with others. It can be presented as images or you can create a static HTML representation of how each page is meant to look with little-to-no functionality.

      Creating a prototype is an important way to give others an idea of what the site will look like when it’s done. If you’re working for a client, they will naturally want an overview of your plans and the chance to suggest changes. You should, therefore, show them a prototype early on so they can provide feedback. This will save you time down the line, as they won’t be surprised or displeased with your work when it’s nearing completion.

      One thing to remember: site builders make creating a site so quick and easy that you often don’t need a separate prototype. You’ll be able to quickly put together a new idea and solicit feedback from others without creating a demo (more on this later).

      6. Challenge Yourself and Be Willing to Experiment

      Finally, remember that web design is a creative endeavor, and you should always be willing to challenge yourself. This applies when you’re creating your first website or your 50th. For example, you can consider new ways of approaching a particular design goal. Maybe you’ll experiment with different color schemes, images, or a more accessible navigation layout.

      This step is more important than it might seem. Not only will it help you to grow as a creator, but it will also give you an extra incentive to find new solutions. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Giving yourself a challenge in each new project is an excellent way to keep yourself focused and invested in your work.

      One smart way to get started is by finding inspiration in recent design trends. You can consider how you can implement those trends yourself or even improve on them.

      How to Design a Website With Remixer

      When it comes time to put the tips we’ve discussed into practice, you’ll need the right tool for the job. With that in mind, allow us to introduce Remixer. This is a website builder that requires no coding and enables you to create your site using an intuitive visual editor.

      The best thing about Remixer is that it enables anyone, regardless of experience, to create a website using the basics we’ve outlined throughout this article. With Remixer, you don’t need to know your way around HTML, CSS, PHP, or any other coding language to create functional and visually-striking websites.

      To start using Remixer, you just need to sign up for a free account. When you have signed in, you can start creating your site in two ways. The first is to choose a theme.

      When you hover over a theme, you can either preview it or select it as your starting point. This will open the Remixer editor, which we’ll look at soon. However, you can also choose the Create option in the upper right-hand corner. This will instead give you the choice of three different types of website.

      After you select one, you’ll be able to choose your site’s color palette. Remember to consider color psychology when making your decisions. You can select an option to see a preview of how it will look.

      Next, you can click on the Choose Images link in the bottom right-hand corner of the page. This will enable you to select a series of stock images to use on your site. You will be able to replace these later, so consider them more as a guide for yourself as you design your site’s appearance.

      Finally, you’ll select Choose Fonts to proceed to the next step. As you might imagine, this is where you’ll pick the fonts to use on your site. Find and select a font pair that matches the visual identity you’ve settled on.

      When you’re happy with your choices, click Preview Site. You’ll now be shown a snapshot of how your site will look. To preserve your preferences, select Save and edit this site. This will open your site in the Remixer editor, where you can edit its layout and content freely.

      Remixer is a click-to-edit builder. So to make any changes, you just need to click on an element on the page. For example, to update text, you just need to select it and make changes right in the editor.

      Other elements, such as images, can be changed with the menu on the left. Select the element you want to manage, and relevant settings will appear in this menu.

      To add new elements to the page, click the New buttons, which appear between existing sections. This will expand a selector, where you can pick the element you want to add to the page.

      At this point, you can freely make changes to your site. Every edit will be shown in real-time so it’s easy to experiment and see how your changes will affect the final result. As long as you remember the tips we’ve discussed throughout this article, you should be only a short time away from creating an excellent website with all the functionality you require!

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      Even if you’ve never touched a line of code in your life, you can still create a great-looking, functional website. All it takes is understanding the basics of what makes a successful site and using an intuitive tool like the Remixer website builder to put it all into practice.



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      From the Experts: 19 Great Blogging Tips for 2019


      There are a lot of A-list bloggers out there. We interviewed a handful of them to gather 19 tips that will help take your blog 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 21.9 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 19 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 better blogger in 2019? Read on!

      1. It’s About Time

      Before you even think of pursuing a blog — with the intent to make money 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.”

      According to a survey of more than a thousand bloggers, a typical blog post takes two and a half 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,” Henderson 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’re 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.

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      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.”

      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?
      • 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.”

      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 ideas (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.”

      5. You Get What You Go After

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

      It’s proven that the companies that blog twenty or more times a month see the most return in traffic and leads.

      “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 a 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 my awhile 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 wanted to be the authority, the go-to on a certain 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 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.”

      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 the visitors of your blog 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 to 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 remembering your reader as you produce 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 percent 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, we 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.

      1. 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.”

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

      2. What Value Are You Offering to Readers?

      Look at The Penny Hoarder’s manifesto:

      “We help millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more.”

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

      3. 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.

      4. 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 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.

      5. 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 good 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 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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      Make your site stand out with a professional design from our partners at RipeConcepts. Packages start at $299.

      10. Think Mobile

      It’s a pretty startling statistic: 80 percent 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 good-looking 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. In addition, you should consider the following:

      • 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 big 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 percent! 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 four hours checking our email each day. FOUR! 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.

      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.

      In addition, 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.

      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? Return to 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.”

      But connecting with others goes beyond your own site, the duo says.

      “Respond to all of the messages, emails, comments, etc. that you receive. And engage with other people in the community as well. Comment on their pictures, send them emails or messages about how much you love their work, and find ways to collaborate together.”

      Say it with us: one, two, three — go team!

      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 ten 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 from your blog, 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 cyber bullies.

      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 simply posting a CTRL + C reproduction of similar work produced in your field or industry. Be aware of the exhausted been-there-done-that content and remember: 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.

      Because, after all, success is just around the corner. 2019 is your year!

      Share Your Blogging Know-How

      We want your input! Have you tried out any of these tips? What are your best words of wisdom for creating amazing content, an appealing blog design, or dealing with internet trolls? Share with us on social media — we’d love to hear from you.



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