Developing a Basic SEO Strategy: Video

Did you know that search engine optimization can be a great way to attract more leads and score more readers and customers? Today is all about the basic steps you need to take to implement SEO for your website.

What SEO Really Means for Your Website

We all think that SEO is the magic bullet that we’ve all be missing our blogging lives. SEO is supposed to bring us lots of new traffic and sustain us over time, if done right. The truth is, using SEO is just like any other strategy for online growth. It takes a lot of planning, time, skill, and patience to pull it off well.

SEO has lots of little bits to it, like heading tags, keywords, and all kinds of small changes you can make to improve your search performance. I’ve even written about them before on my blog.

The reality is that without a great strategy behind these small changes, you’ll never see the big changes you want for your online growth. Instead of focusing on the nitty gritty of SEO, you first need to focus on the bigger picture of your blog and website.

Here are the first steps you should take when developing an online SEO strategy.

Is a Local SEO Strategy Needed?

If you’re a hyper local blogger only writing about stuff in your area of have a business that doesn’t sell products nationwide and only serve a small area, you’ll need to focus on creating a strategy for your community that’s targeted specifically for your area.

The rest of us, however, don’t compete only locally and have a much wider audience. It also means we typically have a much larger pool of competitors. But there are a lot more opportunities for us!

Neither approach is better than the other—it just matters what works for your goals. It wouldn’t really make much sense for a company that only sells their products in Arkansas to market to California unless they planned on expanding soon.

Do Competitor and Search Research

Start researching your competitors and see what people are searching for in your niche.

Don’t focus solely on keywords and minute details here. Take a large big picture approach when you’re first developing your SEO strategy to make sure that you’re not missing out on important trends and information.

Search for things you think people might search for to find you and see what comes up.

  • Who’s at the top?
  • What are they doing?
  • Do they blog?
  • Do they have lots of article about them in different magazines and newspapers?
  • What kinds of things are they banking on for marketing?

It’s important here to use the Google Keyword Planner Tool to start figuring out what people might search for when looking for your services and products. Google can help give you a good direction but remember you shouldn’t rely on it too much at this stage. This is just to give you a basic idea of what you want to work towards.

The goal is to figure out what your future customers are looking for and what kinds of words and terms they use to find it online. What you might think about how people talk about your products might be entirely wrong.

Bloggers, remember that your articles are your products in this situation so you want to think about what you love writing about and what kinds of words people might use to find what you write about.

Create a Content Strategy Based on Search Research Findings

Before you get too far into keywords and SEO specifics, start creating a content strategy.

  • What are the most common concerns and questions your audience might have?
  • What have you been asked in the past about your business or blog?
  • How can you provide answers to readers about your niche?

If you’re starting completely from scratch, that’s okay. Just make some educated guesses and get to work.

Be sure to provide sincere value with your content and that it is something useful to your audience. That’s more important than SEO at this stage of your website. If you need help really digging deep into what you audience wants, sign up for my free audience building course.

Make choices informed by your competitor research and start to really think about how to best serve your leads before they decide to be loyal customers or readers.

Analyze Your Results

This is where you start to really dig into your numbers and see what’s working and what isn’t. Google Analytics is your best friend when it comes to this stage of the SEO development process.

You need to start digging into your data and seeing how your content is performing and what actions people are taking at your website.

  • Are they reading it?
  • How are they getting to your website?
  • If they’re coming from search, what’s happening to their traffic?

Make conclusions here about your audience, like what they’re looking for and what directions you might consider going in for your content and SEO strategy.

Revamp Your Strategy and Include SEO

Now that you’ve got some data, start focusing on making your content better both to serve your audience and better from an SEO standpoint. This is when you can start thinking about SEO nit-picky things, like using keywords appropriately and setting your website up to be better for SEO.

While other SEO experts will say to do this step first, it’s got a pretty high level or entry for people who haven’t had much of a strategy in the first place. Most SEOs don’t start websites from scratch but fix them up after they’ve been around for a while. Taking this same approach can help you make better choices about what directions to move in for your SEO strategy, especially since you’re not a professional.

Keep SEO Simple—For Now

Of course, this is a super simplified approach to SEO strategy and you could stand to get a lot more information from me. After all, I work every day to help my clients do better in search!

I’m releasing an SEO workbook soon to help non-seo professionals get the most out of Google. Be sure to sign up to receive an alert when the book is released, as well as a little special something when it comes out that I’m only sending to my subscribers.

Using a Blog Manifesto to Keep Your Direction

I’ve been blogging for a long time now. One of my blogs is coming up on a 5 year anniversary, but truth be told, I’ve been writing on the internet for over a decade. One thing that’s really helped me stay the course has been a blog manifesto. Creating one of these can help you better define your blogging goals, live up to our own expectations, and move forward.

We all know that writing valuable content is important, whether that’s on our blogs or in our Tweets. But if you’re honest with yourself for a minute right now, have you always lived up to delivering great content all the time? Did you hit publish on that post or social media message that wasn’t quite up to par?

Let’s call ourselves out and create a way to keep ourselves accountable.

Define Blogging Purpose in a Blog Manifesto

The first step to digging into creating your blog manifesto is determining you overall goal for your blog. Knowing exactly what you want out of your blog and what you want to work towards is the most important thing when developing strategy for your work online. Without a clear direction, you’ll float from one idea to the next without any end game in mind.

Determine Your Business Blogging Goals

Blogging for business is generally easier than personal blogging. Ultimately, every business blogger has the end goal desired: to make money. Of course, there are endless strategies to get to that end goal. It might be:

  • Positioning yourself or your business as a thought leader
  • Generating strong relationships with your audience
  • Express your brand identity
  • Provide better customer service, like product use ideas or answers to questions
  • Build an email list
  • Attract top talent
  • Capture earned media
  • Set your business apart from everyone else

Whatever you’re doing with your business blog, you want that to transfer into customers and profits. It might just be a roundabout way to get there.

Always remember that while you’re on a mission towards a successful bottom line, you need to hold yourself to the same standards as personal blogs. You need to bring passion, creativity, and a unique approach to your content topics. While readers can acknowledge the difference between business blogs and personal blogs, they read content in the same way.

[Tweet “Readers expect passion, creativity, and uniqueness from business blogs as much as hobby blogs.”]

A blogging manifesto will help you make sure you’re providing your customers and leads with the right message, no matter what your bottom line is looking like.

Determine Your Personal Blogging Goals

Personal blogging is a lot harder for most people because it can be really hard to determine your end goal. There are thousands of reasons to have a personal blog. Here are some common ones:

  • Become a better writer, thinker, or whatever else
  • Express yourself
  • Boost creativity
  • Keep yourself accountable on projects, ideas, or life goals
  • Connect to others
  • Inspire or help others

Keep in mind that if you’re trying to make money from your blog in any way, whether from sidebar ads, products you sell, or even donations from readers, you should consider your blog a business. It will change the way you look at your blog and make sticking to goals much easier.

If you’re not on a mission for money, however, it can be difficult to stick with one thing. Your blog is a representation of you and your life, after all, and that changes throughout your life. One month, you might be really into one idea. The next, you might be headed an entirely different direction.

A blogging manifesto helps ensure that everything you publish is worthwhile and embodies the spirit and thought behind your blog even if your interests vary.

[Tweet “Trouble sticking to one blog topic? Instead, think of moments of your life as the topic.”]

Manifesting Value on your Blog

Your audience has a million and one other things to do than read your blog. On top of that, they could pretty easily find the information elsewhere on the internet. There’s not much information that isn’t already covered, in some manner, by someone else.

If your blog and social media isn’t providing something useful and worth your audience’s time, you’ll be talking to no one. Not only is that bad for business blogs, it’s frustrating for personal bloggers. It’s why so many people give up, stop blogging, and move on.

What can you bring your audience? This is where you need to marry the purpose of your blog with what’s meaningful to you. Whether you’re blogging for business or for fun, what can you do to help your audience? How do you fit into your audience’s life?

Your blog manifesto needs to drive you towards helping your audience and keeping yourself accountable to do that. Those half-hearted posts you published because it was a post day? You need to let those go and demand better from your blogging efforts.

After all, what’s the point if your audience isn’t going to read it because it’s valueless and you don’t really enjoy creating it?

You might want to include in your blog manifesto that every post you publish must have:

  • Actionable advice your audience can act on to make their lives better
  • A way for your audience to connect with you on a meaningful level
  • A push to give your audience a new outlook on their lives or change their thinking

Or anything else that requires real value from you for your readers.

[Tweet “Marry the purpose and meaning of your blog to create value for readers.”]

Defining Your Blog Audience

Knowing your audience is key to understanding what they find valuable as well as how to talk to them. Your blog obviously only appeals to a small group of people in the world. Not everyone is going to like your content much less let you become a part of their lives.

Defining your audience isn’t a easy task and getting to know them and what they want can be even harder. I’ve developed a great free ecourse to help you know your audience better.

Sign up for the free 6-week email course and better define and serve your audience.

If you know your audience well, define them in your blog manifesto and stick to serving them and only them in your posts. Only write for others if you’re making the conscious decision to start including them in your audience in the future, not just for one post.

[Tweet “Write for your audience and only your audience.”]

Manifesting Feelings on Your Blog

This is much less touchy-feely hippie dippy than you might realize. In Contagious by Jonah Berger, he discusses research he did of the Most Emailed articles on the New York Times. If you’ve ever wondered why boring scientific articles are shared as much as articles about politics or the best new intriguing foods? It has to do with the kinds of emotions they activate.

Emotions that make us engaged and high active, like awe or anger, make us want to share, says Berger. Passive emotions, on the other hand, like contentment, inclusion, or sadness, won’t help you much to create viral content. You can watch a 40 minute Google Talk about that theory and the book by Berger if you want to skip reading the book.

Taking this research to task, what feeling do you want to create in your audience? Do you want them to feel:

  • Exhilarated
  • Disgusted
  • Inspired
  • Furious
  • Delighted
  • Afraid

Motivating your audience with feelings needs to be part of your blog manifesto to get the biggest effect out of your work.

[Tweet “Write for active emotions to get engagement from your audience.”]

Blog Manifesto Worksheet

I’ve created a handy Blog Manifesto Worksheet for you to use to create your own blog manifesto to keep you on target with your blog.

Create a blogging manifesto with this free worksheet from Bear & Beagle Creative. Get your blog on track today! Create a blogging manifesto with this free worksheet from Bear & Beagle Creative. Get your blog on track today!

To use this Google Doc Worksheet:

  • Click the link to go to the file
  • Print it to fill in by hand OR
  • File > Make a Copy > Save it to your Google Drive to fill in in on your computer

I hope this helps you get more out of your blog and be more productive with your blogging work. If you loved this post and worksheet, share it with your fellow bloggers!

And don’t forget that if you’re completely lost, I offer blog coaching sessions and workshops to help you figure out more about what you want out of your blog and develop a strategy that’s right for you.

[Tweet “I loved this free Blog Manifesto Worksheet!”]

Poster mockup from Mike Delsing.

Pinterest Changes Their Stream: Video

If you’ve been spending time on Pinterest lately, you might have noticed your home feed is looking a bit different. Noticed little text on pins that says “Related Pins?” How about pins from people you don’t actually follow?

Well, that’s because Pinterest changed. And you need to know about it! You can watch the video above for a visual example of how it works or read the transcript below.

Read more “Pinterest Changes Their Stream: Video”

Should Your Blog Use Autoresponders?

Have you ever visited a website, liked what you read and decided to sign up for updates only to never hear from the website ever again? In fact, it probably happens more than you even remember. The thing is humans have pretty short memories when it comes to the endless amounts of content we encounter every day.

If you’re not doing something to be at the top of people’s minds, you’re going to be forgotten. This is where autoresponders come in. They can make a huge difference in building relationships with your new readers.

Read more “Should Your Blog Use Autoresponders?”

Tips for Better Blog Photos: Video

Wonder how to take better photos for your blog content to gain more traffic? This week’s Build Your Blog Vlog is all about three simple things you can do to take better photos. It’s not difficult to learn how to take better photos for platforms like Pinterest. All it takes is some know how and persistence!

How to take better blog photos

I’m talking about three things you should do to make your photo standout!

Hey bloggers! Welcome to the Build Your Blog Vlog. I’m Kim Herrington of Bear & Beagle Creative. Every week I answer blogging questions sent in by you!

We all know that photos are really the way that we attract a lot of attention especially on platforms like Pinterest. If your photos are eye-catching and it is immediately clear what they’re about, you’ll see more click throughs to your content. Pinterest is a huge referral traffic source for many bloggers so taking advantage of all that it offers your visual content is really important.

Here’s the three things that you need to do to make your photos really awesome.

Use a Decent Camera

You’ve heard it said over and over again by lots of bloggers they all use what’s called a DSLR. I use four cameras on my blog. I have two DSLRs, aCanon Rebel T3 and another Canon 60D that I used to record this video. The other two? I use my iPhone 6 and my iPad mini!

Between my two DSLR cameras I can take really great, detailed photos because I have great sensors with good lenses. I use my iPhone and iPad for quick photos for social media and sometimes for blog content.

However knowing how to take the photo is even more important than my equipment. Having great equipment does make good photos look better. There’s no denying that.

Before you invest in cameras, learning first how to take great photos is important. Make sure that you know the basics about taking photos. You can learn with your smartphone camera about composition to get started.  The iPhone 6 has a fantastic camera that takes great shots to get you started. But, if you’re really serious about images and have a photo-heavy blog, you’ll really need to invest in a DSLR.

If you do have one, I really recommend shooting in Raw. You can clawback the data if you mess up and it’s much easier to edit photos quickly!

Have good lighting

They key to clear images is clear lighting. Great photos can be ruined when they’re in a really dark setting. Most photos that are really successful on Pinterest are well lit.

Take some time to think about how you can better light your photos.

If you’re taking photos at home try to do it in front of a open window and use pieces of white paper to reflect light onto your subject or go outside. Another trick you can use is actually to construct a large array of lamps. That’s what I use for these vlogs instead of a professional lighting rig a lot of other vloggers use.

I went and picked up a few $10 lamps. It’s super easy and I even use these lights in my apartment for regular lighting.

If you do want to get crazy you can always make a desktop lightbox using dowels. It’s really easy to make good lighting for your blog photos. It just takes creativity.

Think about Composition

You’ve heard me say over and over again so far that you need to think about how to construct your shots.

One of the hardest things to learn is actually how to look at three-dimensional objects and see it in two dimensions. To start to see the world this way, compare the differences between your viewfinder screen and what you see. Ask yourself “If I saw this on Pinterest, would I click through? Is this grabbing my attention?”

Creating attractive graphics really depends on how you present the story. When you’re taking your photos, think about ways to tell your visual audience what the post is about.

I use a lot of stock images on the Bear & Beagle Blog but take all of my own for my lifestyle blog. One image that worked really well is one of my email templates post. Can you see the story? A woman is sitting at her computer alone, trying to write an email to someone but doesn’t know where to start. Combine it with the attention grabbing text and it’s pretty enticing.

I’d love to get to know you on Pinterest! Comment below with your profile and let’s get pinning.

If you loved this video, you might like this week’s article about the boards every blogger needs on Pinterest. If you enjoyed this, please share this with friends and subscribe!

Thanks for watching the Build Your Blog Vlog and until next time, keep blogging!

Is Blogging an Online Marketing Ploy?

Do you think that blogging is a marketing ploy? Feel slimy about using online marketing for your business? Let me convince you why you should reconsider.

Why Online Marketing can be Scammy

I have a lot of discussions with business owners throughout my day. Every so often, I’ll talk to a business owner who is hesitant about expanding their online presence with blogging and social media. In fact, one business owner was completely convinced that online marketing was a scam and just not worth his time and money.

I mean, really, who can blame him? We all suffer through thousands of spammy messages online every day. Online marketing can really seem like a waste of money when you have limited funds to invest for your business.

Let’s put this in perspective using some old-school business tactics most people see as very useful.

Old-School Networking versus Cold Calling

I’m a member of my local chamber here in Arkansas. Every once in a while, I’ll receive a phone call from another member. Pretty normal tactic for businesses. Networking is something pretty much every business owner does and most experts advocate you should do it regularly.

I recently met with a woman who works with a national chain of payroll services. She called me up, we met for coffee, and she got to know me as a person and about my business. She was a friendly woman who clearly cared about getting to know me, even though I explained before we even met that I’m a solo entrepreneur without payroll needs.

Even still, she talked with me about what she does and asked about my business goals.

When we parted, she handed me a folder with a few payroll forms every business must complete to start paying employees in case I know someone else who needed help. She also grabbed a few business cards for my boyfriend, who is an attorney here in Arkansas and helps small businesses.

A few days later, I got a call from another payroll company. He didn’t ask to meet me but just asked if I needed payroll services. I don’t—right now at least—and thanked him for his call but politely declined to speak with him further about what he offers.

Can you see the difference in these two approaches?

Good Online Marketing is Great Networking

Your online marketing won’t work if you’re simply calling up people and trying to sell them your services. If you develop a relationship with your leads before they need you and establish trust for referrals, you’re well on your way.

The truth is, I am going to need payroll eventually if my business keeps growing at the rate it is now. When I need payroll or know someone who does, I’m going immediately call up the woman who took the time to get to know me who already demonstrated she’s a great payroll resource who cares about my business.

Cold calling rarely works.

Your online presence should act as a sales person who really cares about people and what matters to them. Online marketing is an opportunity creator that establishes your authority in your niche. On top of it all, valuable content means better SEO. Which means more clicks!

That’s where blogging fits in. Consistent and valuable content that acts as your networking sales person and creates a relationship with your audience is the best thing you can do for your business online.

[Tweet “Online marketing is an opportunity creator that establishes your authority in your niche.”]

A bad online marketing plan only sells, tries to attract attention by yelling, and doesn’t contribute anything meaningful. For SEO, bad marketing can really backfire and create negative long term effects for your business.

Is online marketing and blogging a ploy for sales? It can be—but that means it’s not going to work.

Have great intentions behind your website for your audience and you’ll see results.

Three Steps to Get Out of a Blogging Rut

I recently came down with a stomach bug and it really threw my schedule out the window. I’m feeling fine now but my momentum is certainly suffering after a few days of laying on the couch and binge watching television shows while slipping in and out of sleep. My blogging momentum is completely gone!

I’ve found over the years that many bloggers completely abandon all plans they had for their blog, leaving behind all their hard work, if something sets them off their path. Have a tough week, fall ill, or just step away from blogging for a while and it can feel like a monumental task to get started again.

Let go of Blog Failure

What’s the real reason behind our momentum loss? In part, it’s laziness. An object that is at rest will stay at rest, right?

But to a larger extent, it’s because we’re afraid to get started again. We’re afraid that our blogs are the wrong thing to be doing. We’re afraid that our time will be wasted (and being lazy feels so good to our brains). We’re afraid that no one will care about our writing and hard work.

Getting started again means letting go of these fears of blog failure.

Momentum comes from an intentional ignorance of failure. 

[Tweet “Momentum comes from an intentional ignorance of failure. “]

What are you afraid of?

  • You have a blog audience and have plans to grow it. Let go of your fear of drowning in radio silence.
  • You enjoy blogging and know it brings worthwhile benefits to your life. Let go of your fear that you could spend your time doing something better.
  • You feel better when you do something you can be proud of. Let go of the fear of wasted time as painful.

When you can analyze these fears and decide to move forward anyway, you’re on the right track.

Get Your Life in Order

Distractions abound. If only you had more time in the day. You might find that you’re thinking:

  • I should really start being more healthy and dedicate my time to working out or something.
  • My house is a mess! I need to get it cleaned up or do something about it.
  • I’ve been meaning to do something about that one thing. I should do that now.

All of those somethings can really add up when you’ve lost your focus and momentum. When you get off track, you might feel like you’re buried underneath a tower of tasks and that blogging is really the last thing you should be doing.

That’s okay.

Sometimes we need to do those distracting somethings before getting back to our bigger plans.

Sometimes giving into distractions is okay.

[Tweet “Sometimes giving into distractions is okay.”]

When it’s okay to give into distractions:

  • When you really can’t do anything else because you need to take care of the distraction for your sanity or your health
  • When the distraction is something deeply important and meaningful to you
  • When you can dedicate sincere time and effort to putting an end to a distraction (instead of an endless distraction)

Blogging can wait. You will lose readership if you wait too long to come back. But some things in life are far more important than analytics numbers.

Choose wisely about how to spend your time and think about the distractions you create. Are they worth spending your time on them? Will they bring you benefits or are they wasting your time and zapping your attempts to build back momentum?

Make a Blog Momentum Plan (and Stick to It)

Easing back into a routine can be the hardest part of building back momentum. Sit down with a piece of paper and write down your goals.

Are those goals still worthwhile to you?

One big problem when we lose momentum is that what we once thought mattered no longer does. We float directionless with our blog ideas and plans because we’re not sure we even want to execute them anymore.

What do you want to do with your blog?

Once you answer that question, make a plan to achieve it. Break your blog plan into small steps you need to take and schedule them out. Put them on your calendar, add reminder alerts to your phone, and just sit down and do it.

At first, it will feel awful. Being lazy feels easy. It feels good.

Doing something you care about feels better than being lazy.

[Tweet “Doing something you care about feels better than being lazy.”]

Make sure you care about what you’re working towards and you’ll be able to conquer your blogging rut better than if you force yourself to spend time on something you feel isn’t right.

Even if you do care about what you’re doing, getting out of a blogging rut isn’t easy. You’ll be challenged to keep at it by your mind because laziness feels great.

Stick with it. Don’t give up. It feels so much better when you’ve accomplished what you set out to do than laying on the couch, thinking about the things you want and need to do.

Video Tutorial: Enable Demographics & Interest Reports

You’ve probably heard me talk about Google Analytic’s Demographic & Interest reports in the past. It’s a super easy process to enable these reports on your website. All you need is access to your Google Analytics code, your Google Analytics account, and the ability to change your privacy policy. You can do this task in about 15 minutes and get lots more information to help you better serve your audience.

How to Enable Google Analytics Demographics and Interest Reports Tutorial

Hey guys and welcome to the Build Your Blog Vlog. I’m Kim Herrington of Bear & Beagle Creative. Every week I answer blogging questions sent in by readers, from our Google Plus group, and ones that folks just ask me. This is one that folks have asked me a lot.

How do you actually add demographics and interest reports to your Google Analytics?

If you’ve ever gone into your Google Analytics, if you look down here on the left hand side, you would have noticed Demographics and Interest reports. If you’ve ever taken a look at them you’ve probably seen this. There’s normally a blue button here that you can click enable.

You actually have to install these reports and add a one line of code to your analytics code to get Demographics and Interest reports.

Adding the Demographics Code to Google Analytics

To do that, if you’re on this page, you want to click learn more about the code. It’s going to take you to a Google help page. You want to check your code first and see what kind of code you have. Today we’re going to be working on a website I’ve just launched. There’s a place in their theme that adds the analytics code to the header.

If you look at your code you’ll notice that it’ll say different things in it. This one says analytics.js which means that it’s the universal analytics code. If you see ga.js you probably want to update to the universal analytics code because you get better tracking.

The one line you have to add is just right here in bold. Highlight and copy it. Then to add it, you just want to edit in between the two GA commands that are here in between your tracking code number and send. Go back to the analytics code and just add a line and paste it in. And that’s it!

I add spaces because I want it to be on the same line but you don’t have to. Then simply save changes.

If you have your analytics code somewhere else, you might not have it in your theme, you might have had to add it to your header tag. There are all kinds of different places it can be your site. You want to find it and just add that one line.

Updating You Disclaimer Policy for Google Analytics Demographics Reports

The next thing you need to do is add to your disclaimer policy some information that Google requires. It says here you need to update your privacy policy. If you click through to that, it tells you all the different information that you need to include.

If you’re looking for a good way to make a disclaimer and privacy policy, I have a great post on my blog that you can use. Here’s the privacy policy that I’ve created for Ace Archers, Inc. which is this website, acearchers.com. That’s pretty much all the information you need to include there.

Again, if you need this text just go ahead and hop over to that blog post that you’ll see pop up here. That will be the information you need to add. Once you’ve taken those two steps, we’re going to go back to Google Analytics.

Validating Your Google Analytics Tracking Code

Click validate tracking code. Sometimes it can take, you know, up to 24 hours. You just want to check to make sure you put it in the right spot. Hit save changes. Sometimes you need to actually activate it by going to the website and executing the code. This is their brand new website.

You can click around a little bit so it loads the analytics code a couple of times. Doesn’t really matter where you go to. Let’s try validating the tracking code again. See unfortunately, sometimes it takes some time.

It says “Note:if you made this change in the last 24 hours, you can wait and try later or skip validation.” We’re going to skip validation because I know that I’ve done it right. If you want to wait, just go ahead. You want to test out your Analytics by clicking around to pages. It does take a while for this information to appear. It’s just not coming in yet. But if you trust Analytics it will appear after a while. You just need to give it some time.

What are Google Analytics Thresholds?

If you’re wondering, if you’re looking at your reports and see this “Some data in your reports may have been removed when a threshold was applied” that has so with they want to make sure you can’t tell who the individual is that’s looking at the website. They want to keep people’s person and private identities safe.

Because I’m the only one who has looked at it, it would be very easy to tell that it’s just me based on the location information and demographic information. That might also be why your data isn’t appearing.

When you’re testing it out, you want to give it a couple of days usually. Check back every so often to see if it’s started to work for you. When it does start to work you’ll see some information here in the Demographics and Interest Reports. You’ll be able to use that to find out more about your users.

That’s all for today. If you ever want to find out more about blogging tips you can join the Google Plus group that’s listed below this video. You can also send in your questions to info at bear and beagle creative.com Until next time, Keep Blogging!

How to Find 404 Errors on Your Blog

To serve your readers the best, you never want to send someone to a post or page that doesn’t exist on your website. When you do, you’re sending someone to a 404 error page. What does that mean? And how do you fix it? In reality, there are lots of other kinds of errors your website can have on top of 404 errors that you’ll want to fix to serve your readers better. Here’s how to do it.

Read more “How to Find 404 Errors on Your Blog”

My Top 3 Blogging Mistakes

I’ve been blogging for a long time and a lot of people think I’m a pretty awesome blogger. In reality, I’ve struggled just as much as you might be struggling right now to get my blogging act together and make it achieve the goals I have.

In today’s video, I talk about my top 3 blogging mistakes I made as a new blogger and what you can learn from those mistakes so your don’t make the same errors with your blog!

And if you’re looking for my first blog post, you can find it on my personal blog, The Made Thing.

New Blogger Mistakes I Made

Today I’m going to talk about my top three mistakes I’ve made since I started blogging!

Welcome to the Build Your Blog Vlog. I’m Kim Herrington of Bear & Beagle Creative and every week I answer questions about blogging. This week, I’m taking a look at the biggest blogging mistakes I’ve made because, well, y’all think I’m a super smart business lady.

And truth be told, I make mistakes too! It’s what you do with the knowledge you gained from your mistakes that makes you an amazing business gal, right?

Before we start digging into this, I want to say quickly that blogging is a business if you’re making money or trying to make money with your blog. While you might think that today’s video doesn’t have much to do with your blog it totally does! It just all depends on your mindset. If you’d like to learn more about how making your blog an official business can change how you think about your blog, check out this blog post about what happened when I made my blog a business!

Mistake #1: I didn’t have any idea what I was writing about.

When people ask you what you blog about what do you say?

Everything!

I write about what matters to me.

I blog about outfits and stuff?

Sound familiar? I was at a blogging conference this weekend and that’s the kind of responses I received when I asked that question.

What the heck does that mean? You blog about everything? Um. No. And that doesn’t help me decide if I want to read your blog.

Bear & Beagle Creative is a blog about how to become a better blogger by using SEO, Content Marketing, and business techniques to achieve your blogging goals.

So much more understandable, right? But before you’re all “But my blog isn’t a business!” listen to this one:

My blog, The Made Thing, is a local blog that focuses on what’s happening in Conway, Arkansas, local businesses, and fun things to do, eat, and wear in Arkansas as well as updates about what’s going on in my life.

It’s a lifestyle blog but that explanation says exactly what you can expect from my blog. I could have said “everything” right? But who does that help?

It took me years before I got to that point! But now that I have a strong focus and direction, blogging is so much easier. A narrow focus makes it easier to select topics instead of focusing on, well, everything.

Mistake #2: I kept blogging at Blogger.

Such a rookie mistake, right? All you self-hosted WordPress people out there who made the switch get this. Blogger isn’t as capable at making blogging efficient as WordPress. WordPress is the whole giant package at your fingertips with endless opportunities.

Blogger is pretty impossible to make SEO friendly. And Google can shut down your content at any moment they want. I was really lucky this never happened but have met so many bloggers that lost everything overnight because Google decided to take their websites down for one reason or another.

I blogged over on Blogger until 2012 I think. I’m not sure exactly when I moved over to WordPress but it wasn’t really that long ago. Why? Because Blogger felt safe. It was what I was familiar with. But I was seriously holding myself back!

Own your content. Make it work for you. Move to a self-hosted solution, k? You can seriously do soooo much more with a self-hosted website.

Mistake #3: I kept comparing myself to big bloggers.

I’m a big fan of Sarah Von of Yes and Yes. Her blog was one of the first ones I ever read religiously because it was featured on Blogs of Note on the Blogger platform and I thought that was so cool. That alone should have been a great reason for me not to compare myself to Sarah but I did anyway.

Seriously, bad move!

Sarah knew the point of her blog, had a huge audience, and had a super strong editorial calendar. Her consistency is crazy, y’all! Why? Because Sarah is a super type A gal who would beat herself up for not posting on her schedule and she sets up things well, well in advance.

As someone who was new to the blogging world, Sarah was a great person to look up to but a terrible person to try to be like. I’m not type A and while I now use editorial calendars and schedule out well in advance after learning from Sarah, I’m never going to get a nod from Google. Comparing numbers with Sarah is just plain ol’ dumb!

Though she totally commented on my first blog post and I fan girled at the time.

I don’t make these mistakes anymore, thank goodness, but it took me a while on a few of them. Every once in a while I still catch myself comparing my blog to others in a bad way.

I hope this helps you understand that even the best bloggers out there have made the same mistakes you have made or are making right now. In fact, if you want to see a super-lost blogger, take a look at my first blog post I wrote over on my personal blog. Ugh. Seriously. So bad.

Psst. this is a secret. That’s not even my first ever blog post! Let’s just say some have already been deleted and I’ve had other blogs that aren’t around anymore.

Tell next time, Keep Blogging!