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How to Break Into a Competitive Niche Online

So you decided that you will become an online business owner and start your blog. The good news is that you have what it takes, you just need to make the best use of your talent and resources. There are, however, bad news, as well. For example, the blogging market is extremely crowded, and it might take you long months or years to become a credible voice. Below you will find a few tips on how to overcome the challenges and break into a competitive niche online.

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Endorsements

The best way to create a buzz about your blog is to get other popular bloggers to endorse you or recommend your content. Once you have some posts that you believe are worthy of sharing, you can connect with other blog or online business owners and ask them to check it out. If they like what they read, they might add your site to their reading list, and their visitors will click on your link based on their recommendations. It is always a good idea to link to their site first before asking for an endorsement.

Offline Presence

To appear credible and stand out from the crowd, you will also need an offline presence. No matter if you would like to make money off your photos or your affiliate links, you must appear real. You should have an “about me” section on your site, so your readers can connect with you on a personal level. You can sign up for po box services so you can display your mailing address on your invoices, instead of your home one. Print some leaflets, advertise on the radio, and make the most out of offline networking.

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Your blog needs to look different than other sites on the internet talking about the same issues. Have your unique voice, and add plenty of personal details and photos for your readers to connect with you. If your site appears too commercial, your visitors will turn around, thinking that you are in it for the money.

Answering Comments and Questions

It is also important that you connect with your audience on every level. You will have to check the comments on your blog and YouTube videos, and make sure that you are replying in a friendly and personal tone. Set up your own social media channels to give people even more opportunities to connect with you.

Valuable Freebies

Freebies will still get you loyal readers, and you can get your message across better if you create a newsletter signup page and offer valuable information free. Find out what your audience’s main issues are and create a short article or guide, offering this in exchange for their contact details.

Whether you would like to make money blogging through affiliate links or paid banner ads, maybe you want to sell your writing skills, you will need to learn how to stand out from the crowd. Get a unique tone of voice, website design, and offer value every day. Connect with your audience on a personal level, and you will succeed in breaking into competitive markets.

No Blog Is An Island: Signs You’re Failing To Ride The Success Wave Solo

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No one starts a blog without considering the earning capabilities involved. Sure, in the early blogging days people did it for love. But, there’s so much information out there now about how to make blogs work as businesses. And, we all want in on the action.

That said, even when starting a blog with business in mind, you may struggle to expect real success. It’s certainly challenging to consider such a possibility when you’re, choosing a domain name in your pyjamas. And, many bloggers don’t ever make more than a small amount of pocket money. But, some hit the big time. It’s important to recognize when this happens to you so that you can expand in the right ways. One of the first things you’ll want to consider if you do find success is whether to bring others on board. You might want to work with other writers, or even find ways to work with a software development team who can take your ideas further than you thought possible. Either way, expansion like this is essential for riding that wave of success.

But, how do you know when it’s time to branch out? For the most part, you’ll feel it. Cheesy as it sounds, you’ll know your blog, and you’ll know when it’s ready to grow. But, to give you a more solid foundation to work with, let’s look at three primary signs that blog is overdue an upgrade.

You’re working 15+ every day

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If you’re working from dawn until dusk, you can be pretty sure that a bigger team should be on your horizon. It’s great that you have so much work coming in, and it likely means that you can afford at least one other team member. And, once they’re on board and producing more work, you’ll be able to afford another. Before you know it, you’ll have a whole team working with you.

Either way, quit putting in 15 hour days to keep on top. There are a few risks to working like this, and all of them could see your wave flatlining if you aren’t careful. There’s just no way you’ll be able to produce good work when you’re wearing yourself down. The chances are that you’ve always put in a few long days. But, if this is your reality every day, it’s past time you took someone else on.

You’re turning work away

Sounds painful, doesn’t it? But, if your blog expands enough, you’ll have no choice but to turn jobs away. Remember, you’re already working 15 hours a day and struggling to make ends meet. You’ll reach a point where it just isn’t practical to take on more work. Either that, or you’ll fail to complete jobs you’ve accepted. And, that’s even worse!

You don’t need us to tell you, of course, that turning work away leads to lost profits. Not to mention that it can send the wrong impression to companies who want to work with you. You could come across as disinterested, or unreliable. Hence, you may never get an offer from them again.

Make sure it doesn’t happen by foreseeing when your workload is getting out of control. An excellent way to do this is to make an accurate note of every task you have for the day. If you’re reaching a point where every possible hour is taken up with work, you might well need to bite the bullet. Remember, other staff members can take on a whole new workload. Even one employee can ensure you don’t have to turn any opportunities down if you don’t want to.

You want to expand, but it doesn’t seem possible

Even if you’re managing to make your one person business work for you, you may find that you’re unsure how to expand. After all, you already work as many hours as possible, and so have no free time to develop any ideas. In an ideal world, you’d love to produce a newsletter or some merchandise. But, there’s no way to do that without putting aside paid work.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Hiring a team would allow you to have your business cake and eat it, too. You could leave other team members to deal with paid work while you develop ideas. Or, you could concentrate on tasks you know, and leave development to a development team as mentioned at the start of this post. Either way, expansion will be well within your reach when you have the security of others around you.

Protect Yo’ Self Online – Here’s How

When you have a knack for writing, a blog can go from being an outlet for your opinions and your emotions, to being one of the most important things in your life. It’s how you can communicate with people who have the same way of thinking that you do. It’s how you can express how you feel on your own platform and if people don’t agree, then all they have to do is click away from your site to another one. Sometimes, with careful thought and planning, your blog can become your income. The thing is, not everyone out there sees the magic of a blog. They don’t always see how an outlet for one person that becomes a viral success is a good thing.

These people are hackers. They are those who purposefully take something that does not belong to them, and then exploit it for profit. They either use your blog to spam adverts across the pages, or they use the lists of your many subscribers to promote criminal activity – all under the banner of your brand. Protecting your personal-turned-professional blog should be a priority for you, and whether you get help from Brown, Smith & Wallace, or you choose to wrap your computer in the highest security settings, you need to realise how important it is. When you become popular online, your blog will have a high readership, which makes your reputation something that others aspire to have. If your blog gets hacked, you could end up losing both your reputation and your readers, which you’ve taken so much time and effort to grow. Making sure that this doesn’t happen has to be on the top of your list when you grow a blog big enough to matter to the wider world.

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Think about the way that you use your home internet. Do you protect your computer with firewalls and security settings? If so, then you need to apply what you do to your home computer to your blog. The things that can affect your computer, from viruses to hackers with agendas, can affect your blog, too. It doesn’t matter if you access your blog from a different device, either, as its core is going to be on your computer. Maintaining your blog is more than just updating your posts week to week; it’s securing it properly. It’s checking for updates and making sure that those updates are done properly. Here are some of the ways that you can protect your blog from the outside world.

Passcodes. It’s an obvious and convenient answer, but a passcode is necessary for your blog. Where you can, try not to save your username and password to your computer at any time. When you set your password, choose something complex. Mix capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols in a random pattern that would make perfect sense to you, but that would stump any hacker trying to get in. The other thing to remember about passwords is that they should be changed often. Once a month, you need to change something about your password, whether that be writing the same one backwards or mixing up the letters and numbers for new ones. A username won’t be so well protected, but you can still minimise the risk of hacking by ensuring that you don’t give your username to anyone.

Software. The computer that you use at home will be the core of your blog, and there’s not much more that you can do to change that. What you can do, though, is ensure that you have installed the best quality security software with consistent updates. You should also be erasing your computer history and cookies on a nightly basis. If someone gets into your computer, your blog is toast and it’s the last thing that you want to happen. There are free security products out there like these, and then there are those that you can buy, like these. Go with what your budget and your needs dictate, and you won’t be making a bad decision. Constant vigilance is key, and your blog should be invested in to keep it alive and kicking.

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Platforms & Plugins. An old, outdated website for your blog will give potential hackers the impression that your security is old and outdated, too. You should aim, where possible, to update your website with the latest plugins and security tools. Most blogging platforms have them inbuilt, for example, WordPress has WordFence, which is the current most popular plugin at the moment. You can read about WordFence here and how it can protect your blog. Whatever you choose, think and plan carefully. You need to ensure that while your blog is secure, it’s not overloaded, and your computer isn’t packed with more security programs than it can handle. Every six months or so, you need to sit down and review the plugins that you use and update them where necessary. Doing this gives you the chance to change passwords, strengthen the security of the platform that you are using and keep up with the evolution of cybersecurity.

Travel. Where you use your blog is important, and if you are a blogger with wanderlust, then you need to think about public domain security. We are very fortunate to have the ability to log online wherever we are, but if you want to keep your blog secure then you need to be smart about where you log in. Public domains can be the worst enemy of a blogger. They’re the best friend, though, of the hacker, who can use a public and unsecure link to get into your blog. The best way around this is to use a VPN, so that your connection to the internet is encrypted and your passwords are safe.

Online security is as important as the words that you want to get out there into the world. Take it seriously, and you can ensure that your blog is secure and as safe as possible.

3 Reasons A Blog Helps Build Your Brand (And How To Start One)

As I’m sure you’re well aware, branding is very important when starting a business. Especially when you’re starting a service-based business built around yourself and your image. For people to pay you for your services, they have to trust you and your brand. Otherwise, it’s seen as too much of a risk, and they’ll find another service-based business to use instead.

Now, there are many ways you can start building your brand, and it starts with a professional website. A website acts as a portal for consumers to come to and learn more about you, your services, and so on. But, if you truly want to build your brand up as much as possible, then you need to start a blog. This blog can sit nicely on your business website, and be there for all to see.

Why is a blog great at building your brand? Well, here are a few reasons explaining this. Oh, and as a bonus, the second half of this post will show you how to set your blog up, enjoy!

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How Does A Blog Help Build Your Brand?

Builds Trust With Consumers

A big part of branding is about bringing the consumer closer to you. You must develop this bond with them, and gain their trust. A blog does just this; it’s a place for you to create content and make people trust you. You become something of an authority source online because your content always informs people of certain topics and issues relating to your business and industry. If you keep getting great content from the same site over and over again, then you start to trust them more and more. Your blog is the best way to gain consumer trust via your website.

Establishes Core Values

Your blog is also a fantastic way to establish the core values of your brand and company. The posts you write could be about certain issues you hold close to your heart. More importantly, the way you write your posts helps establish the values of your business too. If you market yourself as a service-based business that’s super professional, then your blog post can show this by being written incredibly professionally. Your values make up your brand, and a blog helps reinforce them.

Increases Awareness

Perhaps the best thing about a blog is that it boosts brand awareness. By publishing blog posts, you provide alternative ways for your business to be found online. Typically, how would most people find your site via search engines? They’d probably be looking for your service, or something similar to it. With a blog, you can target different search queries, bringing more people to your site. As such, more people are aware of your brand, which helps make it more relevant and well-known. The more well-known and established you are, the more trust you gain, and the more customers you are likely to see.

These are pretty much the three main things you’re looking at when building a brand. You need to establish that trust between you and the consumer. You need to increase brand awareness, and you must establish and reinforce the core values of your company.

So, let’s move onto the second part of this little guide, and see how you can start a business blog on your website.

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How To Start Your Blog

Starting a blog is much easier than you initially think. Especially when you follow the right steps and do everything properly. Firstly, some business owners decide to set up their blog on a separate site to their main business website. I don’t think this is very effective, it’s just a lot easier to keep everything in one place and have a page on your site where blog posts are placed. With that being said, here are a few things to consider if you want to start your blog.

Create Original Content

You will ruin all your hard branding work if the content on your blog isn’t original. Let’s say you’ve got loads of duplicate content on there that you’ve pretty much just nabbed from other blogs. What does this say about you and your brand? It says you’re sneaky, lazy, and can’t possibly be trusted. Original content shows you’re creative, knowledgeable, and helps build trust with the consumer.

Post Regularly

It’s no use having a blog if you only post there once a month or less. This should be a regular thing as it constantly updates your site. The content is continuously fresh, and you can actually start to establish a regular audience of people who visit your site to read new articles as often as possible. Daily posts are the best possible idea, but it’s likely you’ll be too busy to do this. Instead, try and stick to a schedule of 2-3 posts per week.

Make Your Posts SEO-Friendly

To truly see the benefits of a blog – particularly from a brand awareness perspective – you need to make your posts SEO-friendly. This makes them rank well in search engines, ensuring your blog posts are always near the top of the results ahead of other similar posts. As well as helping you gain more traffic, this will also cement your place as an authority source, further strengthening your brand. There are almost too many things you can do to make your posts SEO-friendly, far too many to run through in this article alone. All I’ll say is that the titles need to be catchy and include relevant keywords and that you should try and get more keywords into the main content as well.

On that note, you should be able to figure out how to set up a business blog now. It’s a simple case of setting up a page on your site, then following some of the tips laid out above. By doing this, you will end up with a blog that brings all the benefits mentioned earlier in this piece. For me, as someone who runs a service-based business, a blog has helped strengthen my brand considerably. It really doesn’t require a lot of effort to run a blog, and your brand will suffer if you don’t have one.

What’s So Great About Divi?

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If you have ever looked at WordPress themes, you may have heard of divi as one of the most popular themes you can get on the platform. Divi comes as part of the elegant themes package on WordPress and you cannot buy it separately, however it is worth spending a little extra to get multiple themes in one.

Divi is the theme which stands out due to its design, usability and sleek software. If you are looking for a new theme for your business website or personal blog, divi is definitely one you will want to consider investing in, here’s why…

Great Flexibility

WordPress is a great tool for beginners in making a professional looking website for their brand or business. One of the main downsides you will see with WordPress is that your options for customising are limited with certain themes. For example you may not always be able to add a video on the homepage, featured posts section or certain categories. However Divi includes a very powerful page builder feature which allows you to create complex layouts to suit your needs. You have a huge range of templates to get you started and a whole lot of freedom when it comes to what you do. If you don’t want to use the template you can work from scratch and build your webpage from the ground up, it’s truly unique.

Technical Support

Due to elegant themes being on the higher end of the scale for WordPress themes, they provide you with some outstanding customer service and technical support for your site. If you have any questions they can help you out and give advice almost right away. They don’t deal with the customisation as such, however you can always go to a specialist such as Orange Pulley for advice on this part of the theme.

Easy to Update

Because divi is a theme which runs as part of the Elegant themes package, you can update this theme very easily using a simple plugin on the dashboard. It is much easier than with other themes and because of this many people love to use it.

Mobile Friendly

One of the greatest benefits of this particular theme is that it is incredibly mobile friendly. Due to the fact that every man and his dog has a smartphone or device these days, tailoring your website to a mobile device is crucial. It is important when you are creating a website that you check whether or not it works by testing it on Google Mobile Friendly. This will help you to make changes to the site if needed and adjust the theme. If you are using divi, you won’t need to worry about this because it is already very mobile friendly.

So if you are looking for a theme for your new company website or a blog, you may want to take a look at divi and the elegant themes package and have some fun creating your own unique, mobile friendly website!

Surprising Secrets People Don’t Tell You About Blogging

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Why not start a blog? After all, it’s a fantastic way to detail the happenings in your life straightforwardly. Any travellers reading this will understand what that means. Plus, there is the chance of making money in the process. Yes, plenty of at-home-bloggers have created a site and watched it skyrocket as sponsors and advertisers got involved. For the average person, doing something they love while getting paid is the dream. But, blogging isn’t always picnics and rainbows, and there are hurdles which you need to address.

Here are the secret ones which one on will tell you about… apart from this post, of course!

It’s A Full-Time Job

“Oh it’s no problem – I’ll just blog on the side.” That’s what you think, but the reality is that blogging is a full-time job because it requires a whole lot of time and energy. Without the resources to churn out new content and analyze site statistics, the site will steadily do nothing. However, the main reason it’s not a part-time, temporary role is its obsessive nature. As soon as the fingers touch the keyboard, it’s like an addiction takes over and you can’t get enough. Whether you are out with the kids on a Saturday or at work, your first thought will be to check your blog.

And It’s Frustrating

Because it takes over your life, there are times when it feels as if you want to throw the laptop at the wall. Take the comparison trap as an example. In blogging terms, this phrase is used to define bloggers who can’t help but measure up to the competition. If you are in front, it’s great because it makes you feel as if you are a market leader. However, the sites that aren’t on top are the ones which tend to suffer. As soon as you understand there is someone better, you can’t help but get in your own head. The trick is to keep perspective by listing achievements which are essential to the site.

WordPress Is King

Word? Yep, there are plenty of alternatives but none of them holds a candle to WordPress. It would be easy to list the reasons why, yet these cloud hosting trends does it beautifully. For example, did you know that it is the number one CMS thanks to its 58% market share? What about the fact that the closest rival only has 2.8% of active sites compared to 27% for ‘Press? Then there are the themes and plugins to consider, too. Quite simply, WordPress is the best option for bloggers.

The Game Is The Game

Sadly, the game just has very few or no rules whatsoever. Creative bloggers won’t see this as a problem because it gives a person carte blanche to be successful. However, the issue arises when you don’t know where to look for inspiration. Most other businesses would follow the competition, but that’s not possible as what made them successful might not work. All you can do is pick a niche and try and create quality content.

Please don’t let the above put you off blogging. But, do make sure the tips raise awareness of the facts.