BLOG BYTES – Your First Audience is You.

Register Your Domains Hassle-FreeBlog Tips, Blogging, Inner Voice, Writing, First Writing Audience

Blog Tip – Write For Yourself

When we first start blogging we get caught in the wedge of whom to write for what to write about and many other salient issues that bother every beginner blogger.

Don’t forget that the most important aspect why you took up blogging or writing is because it’s something that you are passionate about and want to continue to do. Therefore, first, your writing must be for yourself.

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Let Your Inner Voice Speak

Your writing is your inner voice speaking to you, through the outpouring of your words. Write as if no one else will read what you are writing, that way, your thoughts remain focused.

Your words/writing would flow far easier when you focus on how to put your own thoughts, your own opinions, and ideas into words without distractions over who would read it.

Audience

Think of your writing as a conversation that you are having (yes we bloggers/writers speak to ourselves often, it’s all those muses you’ve got running around in your head) with yourself. You hardly run out of words when having a conversation with your favourite person – you.

When you write from the center of you, you will surely find your audience. Your words would resonate with them.

Even those tips, solutions or recommendations that you want to share have to inspire you first. You are only sharing it with others because you find them valuable.

Naturally, there are those who will surely not agree with all your thoughts, opinions and anything else that you may have to offer, but that’s to be expected. From such quarters, accept their feedback but don’t let it deter you.

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How To Audit Your Blog – To Determine Your Direction

Audit blog, social media promotion, strategy, Google Analytics, WordPress JetPack, Subscription buttons, content audit, Plugins, Blog design, Setting Targets




Why You Need To Audit Your Blog

So, you are wondering what the next goals for your blog are and where to start from? You ran the blogging race through last year and would love to see some distinctive growth this year. Well, let’s take it from the top, you need to audit your blog.

Like every business, to run a successful blog requires auditing and doctoring your blog periodically.

Based on your desired goals, the process of auditing your blog effectively could be simple or intensive.

Looking at what you achieved over the past year no matter how big or small helps you to make a concise plan on the way forward for your blog.

If you don’t know where you’ve been, how are you going to know precisely where you are heading to?

Having a blanket wish of wanting your website to grow popular or hoping that you would have a better blogging year without taking into account previous fails, successes and the reasons for those results is like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack.

You are bound to repeat the same mistakes. Find the faults and fix them.

A good old-fashioned notepad and pen, word editor or Google spreadsheet would do.

If however, you are more into the nitty-gritty details of things Google analytics plugin and JetPack are free tools that you could use. They offer comprehensive insight into your site’s performance over a specific period.

This process might take a bit of your time but you’ll be glad you did it.

Questions To Consider

Blog Design

  • Is the overall feel of your theme functional for you?
  • Is it appealing to the eye and user-friendly?
  • Are the colours properly blended or do they clash?
  • If you’ve got a brand – logo, is it in sync with your site’s colours?
  • Is the site too crowded and needs reorganizing? If there are widgets that are no longer serving any purpose, consider removing them. Snip, Cut and Tie. Examining your site with the critical eye of a visitor is the key here. Like a messy home that no one likes visiting, no one wants to hang out in a site that would probably end up giving them a headache.
  • What of your essential pages like your contact form for getting in touch, about page and other relevant pages? Have they been set up? Do all the links on your homepage work?
  • Is your Gravatar properly linked to your URL?
  • Is a short bio of the author of the blog added to your Gravatar image? This gives a reader a general overview of the writer/author of the blog.

Subscription buttons

  • Are your subscription buttons strategically placed where your visitors can easily see them? Time constraint doesn’t favour hidden buttons and to increase your subscription base. Place your buttons at various points where they easily draw the eyes’ such as the top part of your sidebar, the end of your post, just before your comment box.
  • Are there any social proofs that could be used to show your visitors that other people read your blog? You could install your Facebook fan page, Twitter feed, Your subscription numbers et cetera. Other alternatives are your top post and top commentator box. For WordPress managed platforms, there are ready to use widgets that display such information while on a self-hosted blog plugins such as JetPack provides this service.
  • A common practice used on self-hosted blogs is to attach some form of reward like e-books, images, printable, coupons et cetera for subscribers. Are you using any of the above?

Content Audit

Your site is only as strong as the contents found in it and as is commonly said by bloggers, ‘content is king.’

This part of auditing involves taking a good look at your statistics, either through your Jet Pack or the Google Analytics.

Before delving into the numbers and the how and why of things, check through your posts for issues enumerated below:

  • Are your blog posts/contents concise, easy to read and to understand? Keep it simple. Avoid using ambiguous, oversized vocabulary that simply makes reading your articles tedious.
  • Do you use pleasant images and graphics to emphasize your posts? Adding some visual candy and easy to digest information which creates an overall satisfying experience for your readers. In respect of your images, what image source do you use? Do you create your images, source for free images online or use attributable images? It’s important to sort out this aspect of image sourcing out to avoid any legal challenges. As a rule of thumb, images that have watermark by the creator are not free to use.
  • Do you have related posts footnotes on your pages that links to your older posts? You can increase your page views when readers can find other articles a click away.
  • How enticing are your headings? I always liken blogging to fishing. Your headlines are baits that you cast into the ginormous sea of blogging with the hope of catching a fish if not several.  When the title is flat, chances are it would fail to attract wanted attention.
  • Is your content properly formatted or all over the place? Choose a formatting style and keep up with it.
  • Compare your blog posts performance by their lengths.
  • What are the types of your post that attracted more views and resonated more with your readers? Were they helpful, niche related, personal post? Can you publish more posts like them?
  • Which posts gained a lot of comments? Which posts got shared most? What do you think caused it to arouse so much response?
  •  For the posts that fell flat, do they share a common trait? Is it something you can avoid repeating?
  • Did you publish contents equally across your chosen topics or did you concentrate on a particular topic?
  • What day of the week that got the most traffic? What can you make of the information deduced from these?

Audit blog, social media promotion, strategy, Google Analytics, WordPress JetPack, Subscription buttons, content audit, Plugins, Blog design, Setting Targets

 

Social Media and Promotion Strategy

  • Do you have branded social media presence?
  • Do all your platforms link to your blog?
  • Which social media and promotion strategies platforms worked best for you?
  • Where was your dominant growth and engagement?
  • Which of the platforms did you enjoy working with most? Will you keep using them?
  • Have you submitted your blog to major search engines?
  • Did you do guest posts or collaboration on other blogs?
  • Have you been interacting with other bloggers by leaving insightful comments that engage conversation on their blogs?
  • What new strategies would you like to try this year to grow your presence?

Audit blog, social media promotion, strategy, Google Analytics, WordPress JetPack, Subscription buttons, content audit, Plugins, Blog design, Setting Targets

Auditing Backend

  • What’s your SEO plan? Do you use rich keyword texts in the right places? For those who use SEO plugins, how effective was it? Would you consider trying something new?
  • Are your images properly filled out with the alt-text focus keywords before inserting them into the post? It’s the alt-text that search engines, Pinterest et cetera focuses on to make it user-friendly.
  • Are you plugin’s and widgets working properly? Do they need updating?

For Monetized Blogs

  • What monetization strategies are you using? Has it been worthwhile? Have you made sales with them? If they are not working so well, would you consider changing them?
  • Are you considering other monetization methods to generate income? Such as:
    • Making and selling of eBooks, tutorials, videos, website themes, graphics, photos etc.
    • Offering your services like writing, copy-writing, editing, coaching, building sites etc.
    • Affiliate marketing and selling private ad spaces
    • Exclusive membership programs

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Setting New Targets

There you have it. You stuck to the end. Well done! When you know better, you certainly do better.

Armed with information learned from your audit, you can check your previous goals and use your performance as a yardstick to set new targets.

  1. Don’t set too many concrete goals that would become overwhelming and only lead to failure to meet them.
  2. Keep your goals S.M.A.R.T. Specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound.

Always remember that the journey of a successful blog is not a day’s walk. The more you know the better it becomes.

I hope that you find this useful and would love to know your thoughts and recommendations. Do feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.

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Guide to Choosing The Perfect Blog Name.

Guide choosing blogs name, Perfect Blog Names, Domain Name, Keywords, Good name qualities, Domain Registrars

Guide to choosing the perfect blog name

What’s in a name? 

Choosing the perfect name for your blog is crucial and should be given critical consideration before setting up that site.

I remember as a newbie blogger, how many names I fiddled with before I started my first blog and when I finally got weary of delaying launching it, I took off with a cooking pot and twisted tales.

I love the uniqueness of the name, however, in retrospect, does it really portray what I want? Did I spend enough time choosing a name for my blog?

I’ve received emails and offers from people selling pots, kettles, and pans as well as people with lewd tales and since this is not what my blog is about, it might entail rebuilding the brand sometime in the near future. This brings the pertinent question below to mind.

Why is giving a name to a website such a difficult and important aspect?

Choosing your blogs’ name is like choosing a name for your child, because once you assign a name to it, it becomes the future of that person or thing.

Therefore, you’ve got to choose carefully since it’s a name that would stick for a long time and plays a role in determining its’ success. It’s the name that the readers see first and it definitely guides their perception of your blog from the onset.

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Qualities of a good name

  • Readable – is it a name that’s easily pronounced?
  • Concise – how descriptive is it?
  • Unique – is it original?
  • Spellable – can someone spell it after hearing it?
  • Memorable – is it easy to remember?
  • Meaningful – what image, thoughts does it convey?

As a newbie, while making such decisions, we often have to deal with key questions like:

  • Should I use my name for my site?
  • Should I use descriptive common words like art, blog, tech, fashion…?
  • What is my niche or what should my niche be?

Thoughts to have in mind when reflecting on a blog name.

1. Avoid using your personal name for your blog except it’s your personal journal. Using your name reduces the chances of creating a niche brand and authority blog.

Assuming you want to extend your business reach within a space of time which is a common case, it’s tougher to tackle this when your blog is a personal one.

Secondly, down the line you might want to sell your blog, it would be difficult to market when your blog bears your personal name.

There’s nothing wrong with having your blog named after you, just bear your goals in mind as you make your choice.

2. Take a pen and paper and list as many names that come to your mind as possible. Eliminate those names that don’t serve the purpose that you have in mind such as:

  • the goal of your blog and your blog’s tone.
  • reaching your target audience
  • is it unique and will it stand the test of time?

3. Avoid using trademark names. Using other people’s trademark name could cause legal conflicts that you don’t want. Consult the Trademark page in Wikipedia for more information if you are in doubt.

4. Research similar blogs that you like and search for availability of names. You could use Knowem for username search.

5. Use descriptive words and you can use Thesaurus.com to search for relevant keywords, synonyms, antonyms that are suitable for your blog. Use them to make phrases and see how you like it.

6. Avoid unduly lengthy blog names.

7. Go for preferred .com domain names and don’t use .net, .info and other not so famous TLDs’ (top-level domain).

Now that you’ve gone through the hoops and probably made your choice, you would need a Domain name Registrar to register your blog/website.

The process of checking for domain name availability and registration is simple and every notable domain registrar charges a nominal annual fee for registration.

In conclusion, there’s no single way to choose a name and no one can tell you the right name for your site.

You could take other people’s suggestions into consideration but the decision stops with you. These are just tips to help guide your thought process and I hope that you find it useful. We would love to hear how to came up with your blogs’ name.

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Find Your Unique Blog Voice In 9 Steps

Find Blog Voice, Writing, Blog Tips, Originality, Blog Personality Attributes, Feedback, Purpose, Popular Post, Ideal Reader, Connect readers

Your Voice

Your blogs’ unique voice will strengthen your brand and focus. Your voice is that feeling, thoughts, emotions, reactions, that your writing evokes in your readers’ which causes them to internalize and personalize the content that they’ve read while trying to build a persona behind the author of the blog.

To find your voice is something that certainly takes time. It’s not a rush job. There will be many oscillations, but with practice, you will get better at it and it will flow far more naturally.

In order to truly connect with your readers’ and to build your desired community, you’ve got to do it your own way, in your own style but bearing your readers’ in mind.

Your blog is not all about you. If it’s just about you, then you wouldn’t be thinking of how to grow your audience. You’ll be just fine writing your thoughts on your bedside journal for no one else to read. In as much as your blog may represent many aspects of your thoughts and life, it by no means has all the nuances of your complicated persona which is why it’s also a separate and unique entity.

For the long-term growth of your blog, you’ve got to set a solid foundation. Blog your passion with purpose, with clarity and in your own voice.

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How to find your voice

Who is your ideal reader?

When you are writing, at the back of your mind, you have a picture of who your anticipated reader is. Who is this your ideal reader? Once you are able to figure this out, you are more positioned to approach your writing each day with purpose without sweating over the thought of how to say what you want to say.

Take a minute and think in this general direction depending on what your blog style is.

Who is your ideal reader for the post – male or female, age bracket, status: single, married, divorced…

Do they have children or not? Are they working? Do they have expendable cash? Do they have free time? What are their challenges?

This is just an exercise to help you understand your reader a bit better. It would not be precise but helps to build a picture of an audience.

Write Daily

Writing daily stimulates your creative thinking that even when you are not writing, that part of your brain that dissects your writing material keeps working.

It’s not necessarily material that you are going to publish that you need to write every day since you probably don’t publish daily. Create a habit of emptying your thoughts on paper or wherever suits you best even if they are just a jumble of words, just write them.

Over time, it will become a part of you and those jumbled words of yours might even turn into an interesting read.

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Give Your Blog Some Personality Attributes

Take a little time to brainstorm on at least 10 personality attributes that you would like your blog to have, then narrow it down to 3 or most 5 key attributes that would represent your blogs’ voice. Each time you write, you would likely find a consistency with these attributes. For example:

If your blog is a lifestyle blog does it come across as open, sincere, heartwarming, friendly, passionate, sensitive, vulnerable, humourous, personal, relatable?

If your blog is health blog does it come across as conciliatory, attentive, advisory, helpful, humane?

These are just examples to help your direction of thinking as per your blog’s personality attributes.

Story Planner will help you plan your novel

Be Authentic, Be Original

Please avoid bland writing that leaves your personality at the door of your thoughts. This would be selling you and your readers’ short. When you leave your personality out of your writing, you will sound strange and like someone else entirely.

You may have people who inspire and influence your thoughts with their writing, however, don’t run the risk of sounding like them. You’ll just be a poor copy. The same way your unique individuality applies to you as a person equally applies to your blog.

One of the early struggles of starting out writing is the attempt to fit your posts into a mold of what ‘makes an excellent’ blog post; using bold titles, finding the right title, using bullet points, SEO etc.

The temptation to follow rules overrides the impulse to write one’s unfiltered thoughts. By all means, use good rules of making your writing clear, watching your grammar and spellings, but don’t over-filter your thoughts.

Review your popular posts

If you’ve blogged for a while, there are those posts that resonated highly with your audience. Take some time to dissect them. What was on your mind when you wrote it? What mood were you in and what message did you want to convey? What type of vocabulary did you use? Was it a formal or informal style of writing?

You might be surprised at the amount of lessons that you would learn from this simple exercise and the takeaway from this is to imitate your success.

Have a message or purpose

Every blog post out there has an underlying message, even photos – which are known to speak a thousand words. Your post has an underlying message or purpose. What is it? Keep your focus on that message that you are trying to pass on so that your reader can find it and connect with it or with you – the voice behind the purpose.

Pretend

Pretend that you are not writing to the huge wide world of the blogosphere. Think that you are just writing a letter to that one ideal reader – we pointed out – at the beginning and just write as yourself. Who you are now!

Better still, pretend this is a conversation with one person, where you are saying your mind. This way, you cut out all the self-protective façade and mirrors people tend to put up in front of a large crowd and you’ll find the authenticity in your writing.

Think of how you would be narrating what you want to say as if the person is right there with you.

Please note that authenticity is not synonymous to hateful speech. Displeasure in thoughts could be expressed without denigrating your writing.

Don’t be afraid to ask others for feedback

This is the part most of us don’t like – asking for feedback, but I’ve learned that getting constructive feedback from others is priceless and far more valuable than our ego that tends to stand in the way.

When not sure of what you wrote, ask someone whose opinion you value. It may not be the cheerful all clear green light that you would like to have, but there could be useful nuggets of advice in the feedback.

Now you’ve found your voice

The thing to remember is that your writing is not for everyone, would probably annoy the heck out of some people but you will create a more dedicated readership.

Once you’ve found that voice that belongs to you, you’ll find that your readership engagement increases/changes for the better and helps you to build a sustainable blog in the long run.

Over to you. What does your voice sound like? Is it unique or are you still trying to find it? If you find this post helpful, please share so that others will benefit from it. Check this link for more blog tips.

 


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Blog Bytes – Stay True To Your Voice

Blogging Voice, Consistency, Find Voice, Audience, Blogging Topics, Building Connections, Take Time, Blogging Tips

Holding on to your voice




One great aspect of blogging that a good number of bloggers overlook is holding on to their voice in the huge world of blogging.

The tendency is that in the bid to gain readership, they don’t take the time to understand that their voice is what drives their blog and in running helter-skelter one’s voice gets drowned out.

Your readers don’t care to follow your site as much as they care about the person/voice behind the site.

Domains from $0.88What’s your message? How distinct is your voice in the cacophony of voices? Take the time to find your voice and stay true to it.

What matters is not about choosing topics that you think will be sensational, but about finding the right voice behind your topics.

What your audience really connect with most times, isn’t so much about what you say, but how you say it and how it resonates with them. Read how to find your unique voice here.

For more tips on blogging, you can check this link.

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An Effective Poll Adds Value To Help Build Your Blog

Opinion Polls, Create Poll, Polldaddy, Surveys, Grow Blog , WordPress.com, WordPress.org, enhance blog, audience interaction

Do You Use Polls?

There’s a reason why businesses run periodic polls/surveys because it helps them understand the demographics of their customer base and needs and ultimately helps them make strategic business decisions. Polling could save them from certain vulnerabilities, prevent threats to their business and boost their business immensely. It delivers valued feedback.

You might be wondering what your blog has to do with running a survey or poll if you are not selling any product? To state it succinctly, from the onset, you should think and treat your blog/site as your business even when you are not yet selling any tangible item. You are trading your words for attention/readership of an audience.

You are also showcasing your words perhaps for talent hunters and when you think of it from this perspective, it helps you refocus your thoughts on the significant ideas that could be the building blocks of your blog, it could also help you to know the weak links on your blog. The responses of your readers from a poll could yield many leads to topics to look into or write about. As a matter of fact, this post on polls emanates from a question asked by a reader – so, I’m taking a cue from that, thank you, Idle Muser 🙂

Polls are a great way of interacting with your audience and certainly enhances your blog. It holds the advantage of being inexpensive to run online because WordPress.com and WordPress.org already come with built-in survey features ‘PollDaddy,’ and adding it to your blog is pretty easy.

Polling helps to describe the characteristics of the survey population and the anonymous nature of the survey allows your respondents to offer more candid, unambiguous and valid answers.

To create a poll on WordPress.com

To add a PollDaddy poll to your post or to a page, just click on the Add Poll icon above the editor.

Add Poll

If it’s your first time of using the poll, you’ll be prompted to create or to import an account by WordPress.com. Just choose your options and follow the instructions presented to you.

After you’ve created your account, create your new poll and configure it to suit your needs then click save poll button to save your options.

You will see a message appear at the top indicating that the poll has been created. Click on the Embed Poll button to insert the poll into the post or the page that you want.

Poll Created

You can also create a poll to stay on your sidebar if it’s something you want to keep for a lengthier time.

To add a PollDaddy poll to your sidebar you use a Text Widget. Go to Feedbacks then to Polls from your dashboard where you’ll see a list of all the polls you have created. Choose the right poll that you want on your widget then click on the Embed & Link button.

Copy the entire code that appears in the Shortcode field  then paste this code into a new Text Widget for your sidebar from Customise – Appearance – Widgets. You can choose the place where you want your poll to appear by using the reorder button to place it where you want it.

When adding a poll to your sidebar, you may need to change the style to Narrow so that it fits properly. Simply click on PollDaddy styles and choose Narrow from the options, Wide, Medium, and Narrow.

To create a poll on WordPress.org

If you use a WordPress.org you would need to install your poll plugin on your self-hosted site from your back-end.

You could install PollDaddy to get access to the same features or you can choose another plugin that you like.

Here’s a little poll for you

[CP_POLLS id=”3″]




It’s Time to Leave That Free Site – This is Why

Free Site, WordPress Hosting, WP Engine, Domain Names, Namecheap, Free Site Companies, Website setup, Recommendations

Free Is Not Free After All

The year is winding down fast and it’s been some good months since you took up that tempting free offer to start your blog/website. Naturally, you are totally loving the idea of having a space that finally allows you to say your piece. A medium to have your voice heard and you are busy plugging away for hours on end.

Congratulations. That’s certainly a step in the right direction, but I must burst a little part of your bubble with some hard truth about ‘free sites,’ that’s the wrong direction.

There’s a CATCH to this free bait and if possible, you must AVOID it at all costs.

Many beginner bloggers/writers start their site with the thought of keeping their costs down to spending nothing at all, therefore they plunge into the choppy waters of the internet with glee and a feeling of smartness until reality slaps them in the face real hard.

Short of telling you that it’s a dumb idea to accept free hosting – no offense meant, the internet is popping full of companies that offer free hosting that you have to exercise caution before accepting such invitation to treat and if you know someone who plans to do same, just hold their hands and ask them to press pause on that right there.

Here’s why I say so

  • Shutting down your site

How would you like to wake up five months after you’ve worked hard on that blog, posting your book chapter by chapter, writing your witty articles, connecting with people from all walks of life and all the stuff that people do on blogs only to find out that you can no longer access your site? It’s been deleted due to spamming!

Such miserable moment is better left imagined. I know a blogger whose site went forever 404 on her and all attempt made to contact the service provider to restore it received no attention. There was no help desk or anyone to connect to, to navigate through this challenge.

Things are rough out there and it’s natural for anyone to want to build their website at a low-cost, but please avoid free – no exceptions here. Except self-inflicted heartache is your kind of thing, don’t take such shortcuts especially these days when Web-hosting is cheap that it’s worth that little investment to gain ownership of your site. When you put this cost in perspective, it does not amount to the cost of a box of Dunkin Donuts or a McDonald’s’ burger or whatever it is you indulge in eating.

  • Networking Issues

In order to grow your audience, it requires a lot of social media networking, traffic, and social engagement and search engines attach more trust and credibility to paid domains. You won’t even be able to add your blog to certain services because you need to prove ownership of your site which you don’t have.

I know how many times that I’ve had to prove ownership of my site with an advertiser before I could get on their programs and when your site is a free site the perception is different.

  • Unprofessional looking address

Owning a website that its name reads something like ‘mylittlecorner.Simplecheapandfreesite.com’ looks dreadful and unprofessional. There’s a lot to say in a name and Perfect domains are hereyour visitors will definitely notice this. At the end of the day when you figure out that you want to buy a domain name that would have cost you less, the free site company ends up charging you twice that amount.

  • Absolutely no support

You have jumped in and you now find out that there’s absolutely no helping hands in the free site kingdom. No connection whatsoever. Free site companies don’t give any support services to users. You are left to swim through the overwhelming process of setting up your site with limited documentation, good luck with that.

  • Extremely slow websites

Using free websites is simply setting yourself up for bad user experience. Most of these companies that offer free sites don’t have the support for it. Running sites costs money and servers are expensive, so they simply lump hundreds of websites on a server which slows down the sites loading to such a snail speed that makes a web page difficult to discover.

  • Lack of website building tools and limited space for your web pages.

In most cases, these companies will not let you install WordPress on your free site because to run WordPress would cost them more and they lack the facility to offer that. Even when you install WordPress on their platform, you’ll meet loads of errors and downtime. Your pages and building tools are limited that to get anything more to improve your experience would need a paid upgrade. At the end of the day, it comes down to the same thing – possibly spending more money than you bargained for.

  • Poor backup support, hacking, and security

Having backup support on free sites is a pipe dream and if something goes wrong with your site per chance, you stand a good chance of losing your entire data because they are unable to restore it. Free website companies are a thriving ground for malware and they are vulnerable to frequent hack attempts due to poor security practice.

  • Locking down your data

People will often say, ‘let me start with the free one, then I’ll upgrade when I make some money.‘ No, you won’t make money on a free site, secondly, you’ll discover that when you do want to migrate your data from a free site to a paid one it becomes tedious because free website companies don’t have the tools to do this easily. At the end of the day, you’ll either end up leaving the data behind or seeking the services of someone with the know-how to manually move your data and the cost is not cheap.


  • You can’t monetize your blog and they place their independent ads on your pages

If it’s part of your dream to earn from your free site, let me give you a pat on your back now and tell you to shelve that thought ’cause it’s not gonna happen. Remember that these companies exist to make money, so you create the content and the company, however, capitalize on it and plant their intrusive advertisements all over your pages. You simply have no control. To get this slice of pie, you’ve got to go get a proper site.

  • They could close shop and that’s it

There are no guarantees on the longevity of some of these companies. Some are one-trick ponies that could decide to simply shut down their servers and pack up their business for a myriad of reasons and because the terms of their modus operandi cover them legally, they are fully protected.

  • No protection of your information which could be sold

Always ask yourself what the catch is. In this case, most of these free website companies collect email addresses and sell them to other marketing companies as a way of making money.

  • Lack of responsive designs and support for mobile devices

Most free website companies don’t offer responsive designs that work on mobiles phones because what they offer are often too old to support the fluidity of mobile devices, thus your dashboard is restricted to desktop which infers that you would not be able to update your site from your phone, neither can mobile phone visitors find you and you must remember that handheld device is part of everyday life today and it drives a reasonable amount of traffic that you would not get.

  • There are no contact forms or branded emails

Your contact form and about page are one of the first things that you put up on a good site. It’s through your contact form that you would most probably receive business requests – if your site is business driven and other requests. Most free sites don’t have a way to add a custom contact form neither can you create an email account name with your domain name if you are interested in doing so.

  • Difficult to get rid of your site and data

Peradventure you decide to cut ties with the free website company, it’s almost impossible to drop your site from their server because they deliberately make it difficult to do so since most times they use the content created by free users to earn money.

  • Limited upload features and poor statistics

Paid hosting buys you the benefit of uploading unlimited files to your site using the media uploader that’s on WordPress, but with free site companies, you only get a web interface that’s slow where you can only upload one file at a time to a restricted amount. On the other hand, you are in no way able to install traffic counters such as google to gain an understanding of your sites stats.

  • You are investing so much of your time for nothing

You are working as hard if not even harder than the paid user and it all amounts to nothing. Blogging takes up a lot of one’s time and as is often said, your time is your money and you have to choose how you invest it wisely.

There are reputable sites that offer free plans, but they are few and far between. If your aim is to build something tenable and serious online, then you should never start with a free site. Without mincing words, it’s a waste of time, it’s unsafe, unreliable, could be a harrowing experience and your growth potentials are seriously hindered.

There are better ways

My recommendation is that you register your domain name and build your site. You won’t wake up tomorrow to find that it has vanished into thin air. There are top-notch hosting companies that offer WordPress open software hosting at a decent cost and they will help you with the support that you need to meet this.

I hope you’ll make a smart business decision today and ditch free hosting because free is not free after all.

If you find this article useful please share it and educate others. I would love to hear from you.

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These Are The Reasons No One Reads Your Blog. 11 Little Tips To Change Things.

Blog Audience, Improve Blog, Writer, Blog Tips, Copy-writing, Branding, Social Media, Site Speed, Promotion, Grammarly, WPEngine, NameCheap

 Reasons why no one reads your post


As a writer cum blogger, we all know how much effort and time it takes to craft your words, curate your images, tag, categorize, primp, polish and publish courageously, only for you to sit back satisfied, twiddling your thumbs anticipating a deluge of comments from expected readers, but, gasp and with a lump in your throat, no one hits that like button or even leaves a smiley face behind. It could dampen anyone’s enthusiasm.

The situation is tougher when you are just starting out with your blogging or writing passion and you need that validation that comes from others – of course, your few good buddies and mom would probably support you, woe betide them if they don’t, but we all do need that extra validation because we are social beings, so spare yourself the rhetoric of ‘I’m writing for myself,’ and let’s get to the cause.

  • Your Entitlement Thinking

Yes, you heard me right. We all have our egos’ and at the back of a writer/blogger’s mind is the belief that our awesome, compelling writing is the next best thing after chocolate, coffee, and cakes – yet no one is reading this awesome writing even after you’ve done all the things that you think are right.

We simply fail to remember that everyone else is busy getting on with their awesome writing and no one owes us an iota of that attention which we feel entitled to.

We must always realize that their time which they give to us is a privilege and when we get rid of our entitlement mindsets, we are less burdened with thoughts of expectations that don’t belong to us and we free our minds to greater possibilities which include getting more creative and leaving our glorified pedestals behind while we engage with others and build a community around us.

One book that I am glad I read and still refer to often is ‘How Successful People Think: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life from non-other than the leadership expert John C. Maxwell.

Tenets grasped from this book has helped me immeasurably.

  • The idea that since you built a blog, they will come

You just set up your brand new blog and you think it’s a soccer pitch where fans gather in their thousands. Well, breaking news, blogging is a different game. It’s a butt flattening, finger tapping, elbow greasing, mentally demanding exercise and the rules are different. Your new blog is not going to start gaining loads of visitors overnight or even in several nights.

You’ve got to create enough content which would open inroads to your blog through search engines. Your content is your invitation to treat. You’ve got to build credibility as a reliable source of information as well as building your audience, so whoever told you that blogging or writing is an easy road to quick pickings is lying to you, however, if you stick to it, it would be worth its while at the end.

Perfect domains are here

  • Your site is not useful

Many take up blogging for various reasons, but I have commonly heard/read others say that their purpose for starting a blog is to work on their writing, promote their published work, showcase their talent etc. At the bottom of this list of purpose’s is the forgotten reader who would form part of your target audience should he/she find something that retains their attention.

There are millions of talented writers/bloggers and other creative people out there in today’s frenetic pop culture world, and the only way to carve a niche is to stand out. Be useful to your audience so that they become your repeat customers.

Give out tutorials, free tips, worksheets,  e-books, even services etc. Promote others. People appreciate those who promote and help them to grow.

Make your posts count in some way. Whilst crafting your post, bear two things in mind:

The purpose of your post and what a reader takes away from it.

Of course, there are blogs that exist for the mere pleasure of writing personal journal’s, but my underlining question is ‘what is the long-term goal for your blogging ambition?’

Remember that by the time that you’ve honed your skills and published a book or two, the audience that you built would probably be your first customers and help to generate some growth for your blog.

  • You are inconsistent

Are your posts inconsistent and sporadic that no one is able to figure out when next they will read from you? Even when you do attract an audience and after a while, you are not posting regular engaging articles, they will lose interest and move on. This is a highly fluid and competitive existence, sadly.

Your frequency and consistency count. No, you don’t have to publish a thousand posts every day, besides, no one has time for all that, but consistency counts even if it’s one post per week. Create a schedule and keep to it.

  • Your writing sucks 

The quality of your post highly depends on the quality of your writing. An article that lacks clarity and filled with grammatical errors is tiresome to read. Sentiments aside, tackle grammar and spelling issues by using writing aids such as Grammarly and proofread your work before publishing. No one is above making mistakes even if you are a solid 5-star writer.

Blog Audience, Improve Blog, Writer, Blog Tips, Copy-writing, Branding, Social Media, Site Speed, Promotion, Grammarly, WPEngine, NameCheap

  • Your blog is not optimized for social sharing or comments

Many times I’ve come across posts that I would like to comment on or leave a footprint to show that I visited, only to find that there are no buttons or that the buttons don’t work.

It’s imperative to add your social network buttons or a comment bar to your posts to enable your readers’ to share your content as well. This would help you to gain a new audience that you may not have been able to connect to on your own.

You should also note that publishing a post that’s been automated to share on social platforms is not enough. Publishing a post is not an end itself. You have to interact with your readers where they are and this might mean scheduling time to read other people’s’ articles, create conversation, share their work as often as you can.

Social media is a huge opportunity to grow your blog. Use it optimally.

  • Your site lacks focus and is poorly branded

Your interest is diverse and you want to write a bit about everything, which is not a bad thing in itself. I equally have an eclectic taste in reading and writing and a bag full of opinion to go with it, in fact, I’ve gotten into an argument over this topic before – I was on the side of writing whatever pleases me on my blog as against having a blog with a narrow focus that boxes you in.

However, your divergent interests and ideas may not work together on one site which is what led me to set up this blog where I could talk about specifics of – blogging, writing, photography, speaking…while my other blog is for poetry, fiction, life lessons…

The truth is that when a blog is narrowed down to certain specifics, it’s easier to keep the attention of a focused audience who already have an idea of what they want to read.

What reference points do you want your site identified with? That answer is the key to your question of what you should focus on.

Finally, if your site is one hot mess of a place, cluttered without direction, it’s visually unappealing and appears unserious. Take a bit of time to streamline your site, clean it up and keep it professional.




11 Little Tips That Make a World of Difference

  1. Rebrand your site – if need be – there is always room for improvement.
  2. Imitation is a key to success. Yes, I said it. Find out what others are doing to grow their niche and imitate them by tailoring your steps.
  3. Get your writing out there. Collaborate with others, guest post, join challenges, try videos, vlogging, podcasting advertise if need be, just keep trying.
  4. Look back at your posts that tanked. Figure out why they did so and avoid repeating the same mistakes.
  5. Use engaging photos. The world we live in is highly visual driven and this equally applies to online engagements. People like to look at interesting imagery. Avoid tagging on tacky looking photos and consider taking or creating your own pictures to avoid copyright issues.
  6. Increase your font. Some use fonts others have to squint to read. No one wants to get cross-eyed trying to read an article that is probably not that interesting. Give your words more clarity and check your errors.
  7. Promote others, you promote yourself. This is not rocket science. Find time to consistently promote others in your niche and they will stick with you.
  8. Try to make your posts useful.
  9. Make your content witty, add a bit of humanness to it, share anecdotes of your experience. People connect to some emotional engagement.
  10. Ask for feedbacks at the bottom of your post from your readers. You could even use a poll to find out what they would like you to blog about.
  11. Check your site speed. Nobody likes a slow blog and if your blog loads too slowly, chances are the reader would lose interest and move on. For WordPress.com bloggers this might be less of an issue, but for self-hosted .org sites, your loading speed counts. A fast blog is achieved by using fast servers. You can test your website with the WP Engine WordPress Speed Test. and analyze why your site loads slowly.

I hope that you find this article useful and would certainly love to hear from you about your blogging experience.

Here are other quick tips for your blog. Do something nice today, we would appreciate if you share this post. Thank you 🙂

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BLOG BYTES – USEFUL TOP TIPS 3

Useful Top Tips, Blogging, Blog Posts, Networking, Online Relationships, Best Practice, Be Patient

Be Patient

Don’t expect to be an instant online hit once you press that publish button. As a matter of fact, your post may sit at the bottom of the blog ocean for some time, before any interested reader mercifully fishes out your soggy post.

I liken this stage to that of a fisherman who waits patiently in his rocking boat to catch a fry. At this point in time, any fry that he catches would do.




The thing about blogging is that it’s a painstaking affair that requires patience. It requires leaving your blog posts and going out there to seek others in your niche.

It takes people time to connect and build relationships and this equally applies to online relationships. Thankfully, there are ways to help build your network.

Here’s a post I published some time ago ‘The Mathematics of Blogging.’ You can also check this link for more Top Tips.

Why I Chose WP Engine. Grab Super Cool Hack For Deep Discounts

WP Engine, Web Hosting, Web Solutions,Customer Service, Discounts, Hacks, Migration, Site Set Up, Support, Security, Backups, Plugins, Fast Responsive site

Let’s talk about WP Engine 

You have been contemplating starting a blog or moving from managed hosting to self-hosting, but with the plethora of web hosting services out there, you are still debating your choices.

If you are like me you probably spend days, weeks, and months thinking, comparing notes and analyzing the different set-ups that are out there, that you probably end up cross-eyed and confused from reading so many articles on competing services.

Yes, it’s important to do your research, but at times, over-thinking a process could kill enthusiasm and inspiration. I nosed around a bit, read as many articles as my brain cells could accommodate, asked questions from users about their experience with the different services before I made my decision.

A Brief Outline of Things to Consider When Choosing a Web Hosting Provider

WP Engine, Web Hosting, Web Solutions,Customer Service, Discounts, Hacks, Migration, Site Set Up, Support, Security, Backups, Plugins, Fast Responsive site

What’s your plan for your site?

Not all web hosts are right for every customer. Before you venture off to look for hosting provider, take an in-depth look at what your plans are for your site. Some bloggers start with just the need for a space to write and to share their creativity, naturally, as time goes on, the need to maximize one’s blog arises, therefore, it’s worthwhile to take that little time to map a chart of what you want before you go shopping for hosting services.

Pricing

This is the part that most of us look at before making a choice, but cost shouldn’t be the main driving factor. Some providers offer great shared plans but don’t have the solutions and capacity for a growing business, while some are best suited for big enterprises and are not tailored to fit small start-ups.

Always bear in mind that we get what we pay for and grabbing the cheapest offer that’s available is not the smartest idea or move for you. Some of these hosting services that offer the barest minimum charge – like $1.99 or thereabouts usually fall short in hardware and support.

If you plan to have an e-commerce site, post videos, podcasts, photographs, rich content etc, going for the cheapest plan would probably frustrate your efforts. You’ll probably spend more time dealing with downtime or loading issues than you would like when you choose a hosting plan that might not offer the RAM, space and processing power that installing these things would need.

Area of Specialty and Support

Check out the features of the web hosting provider, what are their areas of specialty and ability? What makes them special? Are there any extra incentives that you would get from using their services such as prompt and regular data backup. What kind of machines are they operating on? Even if you are not a technically astute person, when you read reviews you would know if the host uses top of the line process and services. You could always engage them in a chat or email exchange to understand if they are the right fit for your business.

I would recommend that you look out particularly for things like; speed, uptime, and support, by far the most important aspect in my opinion.

Not all the big names are best tailored for your needs

This is where a good number of people get caught by all the dazzle. Most of the big name companies have built their brand and gained their success over time that they tend to slack off and due to the fact that they are well-known, it’s easy to forget to check their suitability for your business that one ends up with poor customer service and experience.

What are other people saying?

Ask other users in your niche for recommendations on what works for them. Read other third-party reviews online to help you make an informed decision. On the other hand, you could ask the providers that you are looking at the questions you would like answered. This will certainly give you an idea of their professionalism and customer support. Put everything that you found out in a balanced perspective.

Here are the reasons why I chose WP Engine

After much consideration and enough nosing around, I made my decision to go with WP Engine based on various parameters.

I got a listening ear from customer service

Before signing up with them, I sent out inquiries to different web hosting services and out of all, WP Engine got back to me promptly, directed me to their 24/7 chat support services where I bounced off questions with an assistant. I totally loved that feel that there’s someone paying attention to my needs. It corroborated many other reviews  that I had read out there.

The Plan and The Cost

The plans that they have to offer is a few dollars more than some other providers that I compared it with, but putting everything in perspective, that I would I have room to grow from small to large enterprise, their regular upgrades, backup, support, speed and the thought of owning a hack proof website, spending that few more dollars that I would probably spend on bars of chocolate or a drink didn’t seem too much. Besides, you get a discount when you go through referral or promotions. Remember that excellent hardware and service is not cheap.

Money back guarantee if I wasn’t satisfied

Yes, knowing that I had a 60 days money back guarantee made me feel comfortable enough to give it a go and its way past 60 days and I am a satisfied customer.

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Their Promise

What they have on offer is a seller for me. WP Engine is a VIP WordPress hosting service and in my opinion, the best WordPress hosting for your website. Their hosting service offers excellent uptime, top-notch security, fast and robust servers, automatic security updates, daily backups, excellent customer service that makes you feel appreciated, and a one-click staging area and restore system that takes away a lot of technical hassles especially for tech-challenged people like me.

A fat slice of the incentives.

Based on the fact that I’m interested in affiliate marketing, I am on the lookout to partner with credible services that offer sensible commissions and WP Engine offers industry leading payouts of $200 per new customer referred by you. There are several incentives worth looking at. Their commissions are generous and this can help you to increase your revenue from your site and over time, your earnings pay for the cost of setting up your site, so to me, it’s a win/win situation.

In Summary and My Experience so far

I am completely a huge fan of WP Engine and would recommend it 100% to anyone. Naturally, there are pros and cons to every service out there and based on my experience so far, their pros far outweigh any cons, besides I haven’t had any downsides yet. Two weeks ago that I installed a plugin and got an immediate notification from WP Engine that the plugin was not good for my system as well as a list of recommended plugins that I could use. I like the idea that I’m not in the dark, stumbling around by myself and probably making costly mistakes. If you are looking to migrate your site or to set up a new website,

If you are looking to migrate your site at the speed of light or to set up a new website, quit worrying and choose a WordPress focused, hassle free helping hand. Let WP Engine handle your WordPress site.

Here’s a big announcement. WP Engine has a Special Sales Scoop Cheat Code now that’s worth taking advantage of. It offers you a get 4 months free on annual plans (20% off first payment on monthly plans) – no coupon necessary!

Click this Link to activate the code and enter the following code using arrows and letters on your keyboard when you get to WP Engine website. Offer expires midnight 31/10/2016.

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Go ahead and give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.
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