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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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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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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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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Weekend Wrap 18 – SEO in 2013, loving Panda, social media experts challenged

Everyone wants to know where SEO is heading in 2013 and the first post up this week gives valuable insights from 30 of the industry’s most enlightened SEO thought leaders.

This is followed by a very interesting look at the Mormon SEO strategy! Surprising stuff!

Love Google Panda or hate it – here’s a different point of view on how Panda actually works for us…

A controversial post from Darren Woolley at TrinityP3 that has certainly rattled some social media experts’ cages with its challenging honesty and an insightful interview on content marketing with Kristina Halvoson author of “Content strategy for the web”.

Lots of other great posts in between and we wrap it up with a post from Kissmetrics demonstrating how high conversion websites improve their results.

Photo this week – my favourite flower white hydrangeas hydrangeas in flower

 

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

As 2012 draws to a close the race is on to see who can create the definitive offering on what SEO in 2013 will hold. It may be difficult to go past this one – a comprehensive breakdown of what to expect from 30 of the most highly respected SEO thought leaders in the industry. A must read for SEO fans.
Who would have thought that the Mormon Church would have such a highly evolved SEO strategy? In this post Distilled offers a fascinating breakdown on how the church has nailed SEO to rank for phrases like church, scriptures and Jesus Christ. This is really interesting!
A refreshing take on Google’s Panda update on SEOmoz. In this post Ruth Burr goes against the flow on most SEO sites and instead of berating Google as a greedy, controlling monster gives her view on how Panda has improved search experience for everyday users. Not surprising to see the black hats hitting the thumbs down sign as their own sites have all been hit with these updates.

Real Relationships Lead To Search Marketing Success

The 2012 move toward relationship building and away from link building has become a key strategy in SEO. This is covered here on Search Engine Land with real examples of how building a powerful network brings top website results and then shares ways you can become more social and improve your online networking. 

 

Social media/content marketing:

3 ways to make sure that social media expert is really an expert

From our client TrinityP3 comes this thought provoking post by Darren Woolley. This proved to be a controversial one and it certainly raised the hackles of a number of “social media experts”. Darren expresses dismay at the lack of experience or authority of many presenters at social media events in Australia and offers a 3 step process to check if the speaker has any authority. (check out the comment thread too)

Weekend Wrap 15 – Google Insider Secrets, Evil Link Building, Epic Content

Some real goodies this week from our search for the best around the Web!

See what Google are  really doing (!!) in this in-depth interview with an ex-member of the elite search quality team, the current state of SEO from those who know and where to from here… how to rid your e-commerce website of those errors that hinder your ranking, a humorous, refreshing post on evil link building methods, a look at the views of 35 powerhouse social media personalities on how to be influential on Facebook, a great post on how epic content or long-form posts in content marketing get big rewards and much, much more – plenty here for your week’s reading to keep you up to date.

A little bucolic scene this week – visiting family enjoying feeding the alpacas

Alpacas eating from buckets

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

What better way to get insights on what Google is really doing than to interview an ex-member of Matt Cutts’ search quality team. The first interview caused a bit of a storm with Google saying that this ex-Googler didn’t really work for them and disputed some of his claims. This follow-up is just as interesting and contradicts some of Google’s public inferences.

Top SEO Tips Straight From the Industry Experts [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some of the biggest names in SEO share on Hubspot their insights and opinions on what is the current state of search engine optimisation as well as giving advice on the best approaches to take. Insights from Rand Fishkin, Darmesh Shah, Stephanie Chang and Greg Shuey.

This post on Kissmetrics is a must-read for anyone working with an ecommerce website. These errors are almost the default setting for many ecommerce sites when they are first built and they will seriously hinder your chances of ranking well on Google.

And here is one just for fun. Peter Attia has put together a follow-up of 9 nasty ways to build links (and recommends you don’t do any of them). Good to see someone having a bit of a laugh when so much SEO commentary is dead serious.

Weekend Wrap 14 – Creative Link Building, Web Copy Mastery, Social Signals

This Weekend Wrap brings more on building links from some incredibly creative people down to the foolhardy who still think buying links is a good thing…

This ties in nicely with the SEOMoz post on how to drive more visitors and more links through social media, and the heights people will go to for the most sought after link – along with some good advice on SEO practices to keep you on the right side of Google.

Everyone wants to write great copy and this week we have an excellent post which will definitely show you how – fantastic examples on getting it right and getting it wrong – a must read…

A very interesting read that digs down into the psychology of online behaviour and how it relates to blog comments, plus the mother of all posts – a whopping 7,000 words  that you should definitely make time to read and learn from this masterpiece that demonstrates effective web copy.

Lots more excellent material to broaden your marketing portfolio and learn all that is new in the online space.

Another glorious day at Muriwai Beach today – shot taken looking north towards Kaipara Heads.
Muriwai Beach looking North

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

Fantastic post chock full of creative ways to get links – “I sailed a boat, ran a half-marathon and climbed a mountain all on the same day for a link”. Innovative ideas from many of the best SEOs in the world.

 

Love this! It would be very funny except it is, unfortunately, quite true. “Why don’t we just buy some more links?” on the image is pretty good but the actual 7 phrases are worth a look.

 

SEOmoz piece that gets down to the nitty gritty of how social media affects SEO outcomes with analysis of social signals as well as insights on how social media can drive more visitors, more time on site and of course more links.

 

In the post Panda, post Penguin world it is ironic that SEOs have to look like they are not doing any SEO. This is a really insightful post on the important SEO elements that will keep you the right side of Google’s guidelines while still improving search performance.

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Weekend Wrap 13 – Content Secret Sauce, Link Building Golden Rules, Killer SEO Insights

This week we have plenty of great content marketing posts to share from some of the top authorities in this niche, more on link building and the golden rules post Penguin,  some fantastic insights from many of the big names in SEO that presented at  the recent SearchLove event in London, and your chance to learn from the Company that gets most everything right with some tips from the Apple copywriters, and the blurred lines of social media where white, grey and black hats show the good, the bad and the ugly.

We had so many beautiful sunsets over Muriwai Beach this week it was hard to decide on the best one!
West Coast New Zealand Sunset

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

This one gives a comprehensive evaluation of what makes great content. It slips into the SEO section instead of the content marketing one because it covers some of the technical needs to keep your content good for search engines (and it’s from Search Engine Land) Nice informative post!

 

Link building is certainly generating a lot of debate in the wake of the Penguin update. Google has sent a very clear message that it does not want to see any manipulation of its results. Most pieces you read take the moral high ground as if the writer has never tested other strategies in the past. This post actually tells it how it is. Everyone wants better results but what are the risks involved?

 

What sort of insights would you expect from analysis of a billion dollars worth of Adwords spend? This insightful post looks at who is spending the big bucks and what sort of return they are getting. It also looks at the role of SEO vs paid search. Good stuff!

 

Search industry conferences always deliver a massive amount of useful information. Thanks to Wordtracker for this blow by blow summary of the key learnings from the recent SearchLove event in London. Many of the really big names in SEO presented here so put aside a few minutes to absorb some of the insights.