100 ideas and topics to make your blog sizzle

This post is my response to a couple of the biggest challenges many of our clients face when it comes to creating great content for their blogs.

The two challenges are:

… you don’t have time…

… you don’t know what to write about…

A successful business owner always has something to do, so not having time is the norm. Think of your blog as income generating – you need to make time for it.

In this post I want to concentrate on the second answer – you don’t know what to write about.

What if I was to give you an easy solution?

Ideas and topics for blogs

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How can your business create great website content?

Do you want to create great website content that engages people? Content that encourages them to take a desired action?

But you’re not really sure how to get started?

This post has been written to give some basic but very necessary guidelines around creating content and will hopefully help you avoid content mistakes.

It has been created to help you to understand what is important about crafting quality content and to inspire and give you the confidence to go forth and write. While these processes are necessary for your content to be found in search, the most important thing is to just get started.

Get started with content

The Form

The shape, visual appearance and tone of your content requires a certain amount of attention from you.

If you give consideration to the quality and structure of your content, the finished result will have the desired impact. If not, you run the risk of disengagement with your audience and you will have lost an opportunity.

If you have taken the time to create and produce attractive content by carefully crafting your words don’t let the structure and appearance of your work let you down.

View your content as a representation of how you feel about your work and make sure the overall structure and headings are congruent with the topic you are writing about.

Keep your paragraphs short – your audience doesn’t want to read a big block of text… no matter how good it is.

Create headings, sub-heading, graphs, diagrams, use bullet points, lists, numbers, italics, different fonts and formats and make good use of images. Link out to other high quality sites where appropriate.

If your content looks good on opening, chances are your readers will stay with you throughout the post and share it with others.

The Tone

It doesn’t matter how good your content is, it will only attract attention if the tone of voice is right for the audience you want to capture.
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20 top web marketing posts – The Weekend Wrap Vol 22

Boom! Matt Cutts from Google drops a bomb that shifts the SEO world on its axis!

How does this affect your web marketing strategy?

And that’s just the beginning – this roundup of the best from the web includes my nomination for the content marketing “post of the year” to date, as well as a scathing analysis of the fall from grace that Facebook is experiencing with B2B marketers.

Plus it’s that time where the SEO experts gaze into their crystal balls and tell us what Google is likely to do this year (good luck with that!).

As a bonus we have some very cool User Experience examples, the lowdown on both meta descriptions and introductions, the best in content marketing tools, a very useful technical SEO plan, and why you might consider jumping from Facebook to Google+ and much more.

Enjoy…

Ohope Beach New Zealand

Ohope Beach looking a bit moody – much like many link building scalers after Matt Cutts’ announcement…

 

Search Engine Optimisation

Keep Writing Quality Content: SEO Bloggers React To Matt Cutts’ Claim “Guest Blogging Is Dead”

The big news in SEO this past week has been Matt Cutts – head of Google’s Webspam Team announcing on his blog that “guest posting for SEO is over”. Although the spammy end of guest posting has been in Google’s sights for some time now the way it was announced was a little surprising. I know we are all sick of those barely coherent offers of guest post junk but this announcement angered a lot of top marketers as well with its broad sweeps. Cue this post from Search Engine Land which asked several top SEO bloggers for their views.

Matt Cutts Declares Guest Blogging “Done” … Are We All Screwed?

This one from Copyblogger responds to Matt Cutts comment in his post:

So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.

So the responses and debate flew and many larger media organisations felt the need to counter the inference that all guest blogs are spam… not happy!

Time for Guest Blogging With a Purpose

This response from Jen Lopez on Moz points out the differences between what Matt Cutts was actually talking about and high quality multi-contributor blogs. Guest post with a purpose other than gaining a contextual anchor text link in the body. Think about branding, credibility, traffic, visibility, authorship. And Jen also gives a few tips to help your strategy stay on the right side of any future algorithm update.

Google Propaganda, SEO and Why Marketers Need to Wake Up

This last one which takes the Google announcement and really runs with it is a great piece by the often provocative Rae Hoffman.

And now, we’ve added sites who allow guest posts to the chopping block. And if you think webmasters aren’t running around – right as you’re reading this post – disavowing legitimate sites where they have legitimate, useful guest posts (I’m not talking “made for guest posts” sites here people) then your head is buried in the sand.

A scathing missive on Panda, Penguin, bullying tactics and hypocrisy. Don’t miss it!
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What does Google Hummingbird mean for Marketers?

This post was originally published on the TrinityP3 Blog.

There has been a massive shift in the way search works over the past couple of years. You could say that the internet is starting to grow up a bit. And one of the biggest innovations in search has been rolled out in the last couple of months – a new algorithm known as Google Hummingbird.

Let’s take a look at a bit of background first.

Any major changes in search will have a significant impact on anything else in the digital marketing field. Google rules the kingdom and when Google makes changes everyone takes notice and adjusts strategy – or they should.

There are very few platforms on the web that can afford to thumb their noses at the search giant. Every day you are using more of their products – just think about it – Gmail, Chrome, Analytics, Webmaster Tools, Google+, Google Places, Google Maps, YouTube, Adwords, Search, Picasa, Android, Google Drive…

Google Hummingbird

Why has Google changed the face of the web and why should you care?

Google’s business model is based to a large degree on selling advertising. Yes, those ads that appear in the top three positions. Those ads that run down the right side of your search results. Those “Shopping” results with images and prices that look a lot better than the plain, old text results.

The reason they are so successful at selling these ads is their complete dominance of the “organic search” space. No one can come close – Bing and Yahoo trail miserably behind and as much as people like the idea of DuckDuckGo it really is nowhere near being a viable threat.

Now comes the balancing act – Google wants to increase revenue but does not want to sacrifice a reputation for offering the most accurate answers for any given query. This is across billions of searches and a potential series of results based on billions of web pages.

As soon as Google becomes seen as purely an advertising network their value is gone. Searchers must continue to see the most relevant web pages served up or they will go elsewhere.

Organic search delivers this accuracy which is why it is trusted above the paid results. Anyone can pay for a position but organic placement must be earned.
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The return of the Weekend Wrap – Vol 21 – Web Marketing insights

It’s been a while since we collected a bunch of exceptional posts from our favourite sites about SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media, Conversion Rate Optimisation and all the other stuff that makes the online space so fascinating and challenging. Well, we’re back with some incredible Web Marketing insights that you will find riveting, educational, informative and thought-provoking, so much so that you will (hopefully) want to share with others. If you want your skills, your website or your business finely tuned and operating at maximum potential join  us for the best of the week!

First up is our gorgeous winter sunset over Ohope Beach. Spring flowers are everywhere and with summer on the way, we can’t wait for swimming, margaritas and BBQs.

Ohope Beach Bay of Plenty

Storytelling is the buzz word we hear everywhere, but it’s nothing new!  Going back in time we can see that cavemen were actually the first storytellers (and the infographic masters) with their cave paintings that told their story 40,000 years ago, giving us an insight into how they lived.  Modern storytelling is a main part of our lives as it educates, informs, enlightens and entertains, interprets your experiences and above all, communicates information.

If you need any proof of this, work your way through the posts below and you will be convinced of the benefits for your business and how you can weave your story into all your online communciations.  Some seriously good reads here.

Our SEO sections looks at why we should be embracing Google+, more on links, getting back to basic SEO and why… and the Ultimate Guide to SEO for eCommerce sites.

Why is social medial the new paradigm and what happens if we don’t get on board?  We can really learn a whole lot from Generation Y who are mastering this space and making a big societal impact with their knowledge of technology.

Last but not least two great posts on conversion rate optimisation, why we need landing pages and how crucial the speed of your website is.

 

Content Marketing

3 Ways to Get What You Want by Giving People What They Want

The masters of content give us some very valuable information in this post about marketing and connecting your product or services to consumers’ desires, the psychology behind it and how to turn your customers into unstoppable evangelists at the same time.

This Will Be The #1 Business Skill Of The Next 5 Years

Everyone loves them, everyone tells them, they have been around since the beginning of time and they are unique in their cause and effect. Stories continue to entertain, surprise, delight, enlighten, create indelible memories and cause us to make changes. What is different about stories now is the way they are being used for business and the opportunities storytelling creates – we are told it’s a skill we need to master.

The New Rules Of Content Marketing

With the emergence of digital, social and mobile platforms producing an explosion of content, the most important element of content marketing is “creating engaging and effective stories.” The word from Michael Brennan is…

give your buyers engaging, compelling, thoughtful stories and they will gladly give you their attention, respect, and business:

(heard this before somewhere)??
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120 strategies to promote your business blog [Infographic]

Promoting a blog (or website) has become increasingly complex.

It is now not particularly useful to simply hit the publish button and expect the world to embrace your creative genius.

To promote your business blog effectively you need to understand a large range of disciplines from SEO to Social Media, from User Experience to Conversion Rate Optimisation, from Email Marketing to Content Promotion, from Open Graph Tags to Authorship…

And much more.

Business blogging image

ROI on content marketing and blogging strategy

I recently created a post for a client site which described our comprehensive content strategy and which demonstrated the relationship between growth in website visitors and growth in revenue.

In other words it dispelled the myth that digital marketing ROI is impossible to measure. You can read the post here.

So, you can measure ROI but the road to increased revenue is often a long and intensive process.

Missteps along the way can lead to a slowing down or even a reversal of progress so you need to understand the common mistakes in Content Marketing in order to avoid some of the many pitfalls.

In the end it all comes down to a bit of effort to learn how content works online – what is necessary and what can be downright risky

As a business this is extremely important on a number of levels.

Avoiding the online marketing services cowboys

How can you possibly make a judgement about whether a particular supplier really understands the area they consult on without first having a reasonable understanding yourself?

It is very easy for agencies or consultants to simply baffle with technical jargon and buzzwords.

Are they offering case studies? Are they prepared to give contact details for a number of other clients? How do their own online efforts look? (and don’t accept any excuses about being too busy looking after their clients to have a decent website/social media presence/company search engine presence…)

OK, on with the 120 strategies Infographic.

The Infographic that is a part of this post was initially brought to my attention via a friendly outreach email from the creator – a digital marketing agency in The Philippines. I have to admit that I ignore a very large percentage of outreach emails – mainly because they have not bothered to check out our site first (despite saying they like the site) or because they are offering us SEO services ( to a company that specialises in SEO strategy) – you know the ones:

 I will provide customized website promotion solutions specifically tailored to every customer’s needs. I provide full-service of modern techniques and will follow the Panda, Penguin and Zebra update by Google geared towards increasing potential traffic and visibility of your website.

This one really cracked me up – this guy is offering SEO solutions that are friendly to Google’s Panda, Penguin and Zebra updates…

Shame that there is no such thing as the Zebra update. The Zebra Update was discussed (tongue in cheek) on some SEO blogs earlier in 2013 and several people started referring to a potential upcoming Google update against lower quality ecommerce sites as the Zebra (another black and white animal… geddit?)

Anyway I digress.
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Are you communicating with your audience – and is it still working for you?

Can you recall the words in this acclaimed hit by one of the most famous singer song-writers of the sixties – Bob Dylan?

The times… they are a-changin!   

The lyrics to this song captured the social and political upheaval of the ‘60’s and if you listen to the rest of the lyrics they are as relevant now in the social space that dominates our world today – as they were then – just look at the opening verse!

The times they are a changin

 

Come gather ’round people wherever you roam
And admit that the waters around you have grown
And accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’ then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone for the times they are a-changin’…

Well times are a-changin’ – are you??

The world is now connected in ways we could never have imagined ten or even five years ago. Information systems and the emergence of the Internet and online technologies have opened up ways of communicating with your audience and given you the opportunity to speak to your customer base in a way that has not been experienced until now!

Are you taking advantage of these technologies to speak to your customers?

This massive advance in technology and shift in communication portals has literally opened the doors to millions of customers who now shop online – what does this mean for you?

This revolution in technology affects us in more ways than we could ever imagine… as it not only changes the way we communicate, it also changes the way we position our business in front of our customers.

You need to be involved in the continually changing, evolving world of online marketing and actively learning, implementing and taking part in these new paradigms that are leading the changes.

for the times… they are a changing…

Think back to what your marketing strategy looked like ten years, five years, or even 12 months ago!

How were you talking to your customers then?

Are you still communicating with them the same way?
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Are you making these big content marketing mistakes?

Recent research reports all indicate that marketers are struggling with a number of elements around content marketing.

Many are spouting the old “Content is King!” adage but a large number are stalling when it comes to measuring results or understanding what is working and what is not.

The reasons for this confusion become very clear when we dig below the surface of a number of content marketing strategies.

So many of the fundamentals are missing that many brands are wasting their time and money.

Successful content strategy is not just about publishing blog posts. The requirements are a lot more complex than that so I have put together an overview of the most common mistakes I come across when reviewing and auditing websites.

Here are my top 8 content marketing mistakes in no particular order:

Content Marketing Mistakes

1.    Publishing is not frequent enough

You have a company blog and you have committed to creating and publishing content on a regular basis. All runs well for the first few months and then everyone who has signed on to write gets busy.

And one of the first things that gets left behind is the blog writing.

Your site drops from a couple of posts a week to maybe a monthly post and then you realize further down the track that no one has published for a couple of months.

Freshness and frequency are big ranking signals for Google (and let’s face it Google has more than 90% market share in New Zealand and Australia for search).

All of the momentum in content visibility that your early enthusiasm gained is slowly slipping away.

If we look at the potential of regular posting with my SEO hat on (and of course assuming the content is relevant and good quality), let’s say you have committed to just two 500 word posts per week.

That’s 4,000 keyword focused words a month and 8 new pages on your website.

Yes, that’s 48,000 keyword relevant words in your first year and 96 new pages on your site

Now take a look at your main competitors.

Can they compete with this amount of value?

2.    You are not delivering value

This one involves quite a major shift in mindset.

Not that long ago business talked about protecting IP. Business ensured that their methodologies or practices were kept away from any public forum out of a fear that competitors would use the information and take a slice of the pie.

Non-disclosure agreements anyone?

Well, the game has changed and those who understand how the new socially motivated consumer and business operates, are giving value on a consistent basis. Look at any of the major tech based startups in the past few years and see how much value they are sharing.

Step by step tutorials, cheat-sheets, free templates, white papers, training through webinars, free versions of browser extensions and online tools and much, much more.
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Weekend Wrap 20: What is SEO? UX myths & the ultimate LinkedIn cheatsheet

We kick off the Weekend Wrap with some easy to grasp  SEO basics – it’s good stuff and it is in an Infographic for ease of reading.

For the more advanced SEO geeks there is a technical post with step by step instructions on how to avoid duplication and have correct optimisation for WordPress.

Did you hear about Interflora disappearing out of search around 14th of February?  Have a look at this post and make up you own mind as to why Google refuses to comment. Why is Interflora is showing up so quickly, just 11 days after being penalised?

If you’re not up with Google+Local you will definitely want to read this one – insights from David Mihm – the authority on Local Search.

Moving to social media and the hottest social business platform right now seems to be LinkedIn.  If you think it’s just a portal to showcase your C.V. think again… there’s an awful lot of business done on LinkedIn and this is one of the best guides to effective LinkedIn use we have seen.

Next up Copyblogger asks the question – is it time for content marketers to abandon Facebook? What do you think?

We have found some brilliant posts in the content marketing field including a very comprehensive resource for everything you can think of related to content strategy and SEO – Huge! check it out!

There are posts on creating remarkable content (high end stuff), web copywriting tips from one of the best, a 3 step process to writing content…

And there’s lots more…

The image this week comes from our new location where a lone gull sits looking over Ohope Beach – which has just this week been voted the Best Beach in New Zealand.

New Zealand beach image

SEO/ Search engine optimisation:

What The Heck Is SEO And Why Should I Care?

This fantastic infographic from Point Blank SEO is a back to basics, simple introduction to SEO for people who do not really want to know about the complexities of SEO implementation. Exactly what is SEO? Simple concepts, a brief history, easy to understand explanations for the newbie or for people in your organisation who are not up with digital marketing and SEO.

SEO Friendly WordPress in 12 Steps

Right, now that the easy stuff is out of the way it’s time to get into a more technical post on how to correctly optimise your WordPress site to eliminate the dreaded duplication issues that Google is unimpressed by and to ensure your site functions as well for SEO as possible. Nice post, useful step by step instructions – check it out.

Interflora Gets Its Google Rankings Back, 11 Days After Penalty

This story lit up the SEO blogs in the last few weeks. Massive UK brand Interflora was removed from Google for paid link strategies which breached Google’s guidelines. Every news site that accepted their paid advertorials had their Pagerank reduced to zero. You can imagine the loss of revenue this would mean for Interflora (and for the news sites). They must have worked day and night to remove the non-compliance and then 11 days after the penalty they are back – but with lower page positions. I think some of the sites that have had to wait 3 or even 6 months would not be impressed with the speedy return.

Google refused to comment about Interflora’s disappearance from its search results, but two days after the penalty — and another penalty that lowered the visible PageRank of some UK newspapers — Google issued a warning against “advertorials” that pass PageRank.

UX Myths That Hurt SEO – Whiteboard Friday

SEOmoz’s Whiteboard Fridays are always very informative and come straight from the fore-front of SEO thought leadership – especially when hosted by Rand Fishkin. This one looks at common User Experience myths that actually hurt SEO efforts. Particularly interesting is the use of stock images to enhance a page versus one with just text – which one do you think would work better?
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Weekend Wrap 19: SEO predictions, social proof, renegade content marketing

There’s been a lot of talk, controversy and opinions shared on where SEO is heading for 2013.   The first post in the Weekend Wrap for this year is from Eric Enge at Search Engine Watch where he gives his SEO predictions for the ever changing world of search.  We follow that with the essential SEO elements of keyword research – is it the most important part of SEO?

If you have ignored Google+ in the past, it might be a good time to read this post from Dejanseo where they explain the difference between authorship and author rank and whether author rank will be factored into Google  in 2013.

No,  link building is not going to go away and Jon Cooper sets the record straight in this enlightening post and tells us why it’s here to stay.

Mike’s post ‘8 SEO fundamentals for marketers and agencies in 2013’ is a good read and if you’re in the marketing game you will want to be informed on how content strategy, social media and technical compliance will be critical to web marketing.

Other great posts offering valuable insights for social media proof, link building for ecommerce sites and our last post for the week comes  from John Doherty on The Future of Cross Platform Publishing.

The image this week is from our new office in Ohope Beach

High Profile Enterprises view

 

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

SEO Revelations for 2013

It’s crystal ball time and in this post Eric Enge shares his picks for what Google is likely to do this year. As Eric says – one thing is for certain – there will be many major changes this year and the first big one will not be far away.
Great post looks at the essential SEO element of keyword research. Top SEO Nick Eubanks takes you through a range of strategies from basic through to more advanced. SEO without keyword research will be a waste of your time. Check this out.
Confused about authorship and author rank? This post separates the 2 concepts nicely and shows why it is important to know the difference. What are the odds that author rank will be factored into one of Google’s updates this year? Pretty high I think. Time to get more active on Google+!
Jon Cooper nails why link building is not going away any time soon and gives examples of why actively chasing links does not have to be black hat or at all manipulative. If you have an interest in the coalface of SEO this is for you.

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The Best of SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media and CRO – 2012

2012 has been an incredible year for those of us who work online or who have an interest in search, social or any of the other variations in web strategy.

SEO in particular has seen upheaval after upheaval and Google has been instrumental in changing the way web marketing works or doesn’t as the case may be.

Anyone close to SEO will have watched as Google rolled out Panda update after Panda update, threw in a Page Layout update, an Exact Match Domain update, sent out link warnings and banished sites to the outer reaches, and generally shook  things up to such an extent that only the foolhardy would even contemplate manipulative techniques, black hat or webspam.

Best of SEO in 2012

2012 was also a year when social media really crossed over to the general business population in a big way. Even here in New Zealand most SMEs made the leap and invested time or money in their social media presence. As always the big players – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Youtube made frequent and significant changes to their platforms. The result of all this flux in social media means that it is essential keep your finger on the social platform pulse the whole time.

The big winners in 2012 were without a doubt content marketing and blogging and this is mostly down to Google’s efforts. The benefits of an integrated approach to content marketing, technical SEO compliance and social media authority have grown significantly as the year has progressed. Any business that is not considering a content based approach in 2013 will struggle to remain competitive online. (There, said it!)

Midge has done a great job this year in finding every week the very best content published on SEO, social media, content strategy and conversion rate optimisation and has delivered in our Weekend Wrap a combination of thought leadership, tutorials, opinion pieces and even some humour.

We hope you have found the posts educational, inspiring and thought provoking – we certainly have!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Weekend Wrap up on the right here – we won’t spam… ever!

And while you are here please feel free to share with the social media buttons at the top – many thanks!

Here is my roundup of the very best of the Weekend Wrap – enjoy!

SEO

The future of SEO in 2013

Start with this great post from Stoked SEO who ask a number of the most influential SEO writers what they think will happen with Google and search in 2013.

Some of our favourite SEO people here: Jon Cooper, Jason Acidre, John Doherty, Julie Joyce, Paddy Moogan, Will Critchlow and more. Great insights!

Breaking Down the Mormon SEO Strategy

This post from Distilled was a bit of a surprise.

Who would have thought that a church would focus on an intensive SEO campaign and that they would be competing for phrases like Jesus, Church or scriptures.

Fascinating stuff and I really like the comment asking about the Mormon Church’s “conversion” rate! 🙂

An Open Discussion on the Current State of Link Building

This post stood out not only for the calibre of the SEO thought leaders taking part in the discussion and the quality of the information but also for the unique structure of the post and its informal concept.

Link building has definitely changed substantially in 2012.

We Can Do Better Than This

This is one of the standout posts of the year.

Jonathon Colman put together this epic piece which challenges many SEO writers to up their game with their content and to be more creative and inspirational with what they are producing and with the conversations they are having online.

2012 Year In Review: Important Shifts In Google SEO

This post by Tom Schmitz on Search Engine Land is a nice summary of some of the more important SEO changes from 2012.

He covers online reputation and trust, Google and webmaster notifications, over-optimisation penalties, Panda, Penguin, Pirate updates and lots more.
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