Ty Banfield

Is Blogging a Waste of Content?

A lot of people in the mainstream view blogging as a really easy activity. The reason is because of the stereotype of a blogger as someone who rolls out of bed at noon and sits in front of their computer with pajamas on. In reality, blogging is actually very hard to do well. Whether you’re blogging to promote a business or as a primary source of income, it takes quite a bit of discipline to do well. Because developing an audience requires you to deliver content on an ongoing basis, you have to consistently come up with good ideas. If you’re having trouble writing, the pressure is still on for you to deliver. Regularly delivering quality content will help you build an audience who’s excited to see what you’re going to publish next. However, if you’re publishing 2, 3 or 4 posts a week, this adds up to between 100 and 200 a year. Since your audience is always looking forward to your next post, what happens to all that old content? Some people argue that because blogs only feature the latest posts that have been published, they’re actually a waste of content and very inefficient. While it is true that the standard blogging format does have this weakness, that doesn’t mean that your posts have to be irrelevant after a few weeks. If you want to get the...

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Easy Ways to Improve Your Freelance Website

Whether you’re a designer, writer, coder or any other type of freelancer, your website can be a prime source for leads. If you’re ranking well for terms that are related to the types of services you offer, those visitors are going to be very interested in what you can do for them. While your website can play an integral role in building and expanding your freelance business, there are many common mistakes that limit the effectiveness of people’s freelance websites. Fortunately, most of these mistakes are quite easy to fix. If you want to convert more visitors into actual leads, here are some easy ways to improve your freelance website: Add a Photo: When someone is hiring a freelancer, they want to hire a real person. Many freelance websites make the mistake of trying to act “bigger” or “more corporate” than they actually are. Instead of trying to be dry and formal, embrace the fact that you’re one person with a valuable service to offer. One of the most effective ways to do this is by adding a nice picture of yourself to your website. Depending on the design of your website, it’s usually best to put your picture in either your site’s header or the top of its right sidebar. By adding a picture of you smiling, potential clients will feel a connection with you as soon as...

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Do You Want More Blog Subscribers?

When someone takes the time to subscribe to your blog, it’s a pretty clear indication that they’re interested in what you have to say. What’s great about having people who are interested in what you’re writing is not only are they ideal future leads, but they can also do marketing for you. If you look at some of the biggest blogs across multiple niches, you’ll discover that many were able to reach the top because of their passionate audiences. While there’s only so much one blogger can do, a blogger with an audience of readers who are constantly telling other people to go to that blog has a much bigger reach. Although just about every blogger wants this type of situation, many believe that it’s never going to be possible for them. Since they don’t even have a few dozen subscribers, they can’t imagine having tens of thousands. If this is how you feel, it’s important to understand that you don’t have to make this huge jump overnight. Instead, the success of most blogs comes from gradual momentum that builds over time. As a blog’s audience slowly gets larger, it eventually grows to that ideal point where the audience starts acting as marketers for the blog. Since it doesn’t take tons of subscribers to see a noticeable improvement, your goal should be to maximize the number of new visitors...

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Easy Ways to Beef Up Your Content

2011 has been a challenging year for many website owners. As Panda has continued to make clear, Google is serious about delivering quality content to its searchers. While it’s easy to spend a lot of time debating what is and isn’t quality content, there are some clear indications of what Google generally prefers. Length is one factor that seems to be quite significant. In August, serpIQ ran an analysis of their database of 20,000+ keywords and front page results. As you can see from the screenshot below, the average content length for a Top 10 result is at least 2,000 words. Although this is obviously a cause of correlation and not causation, it does bring up an interesting question: Why would Google favor longer content? In general, longer content is going to be more comprehensive. If one website has 1,000 words about a topic and another website has 2,000 words about the topic, the latter is going to be able to cover more information than the former. So, if your homepage is short on content, does this mean you just need to start writing whatever comes to your mind? Of course not! There’s a big difference between beefing up your content and filling it with fluff. Adding a bunch of nonsense to take up space isn’t going to help any visitors who are actually reading it. While beefing up...

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5 Steps to Pleasing the Panda in Under 2 Hours

Are you still struggling to regain your pre-Panda traffic levels? Then following these five steps may be just what you need to get back on track: Understand That The Panda is a Different Kind of Animal Many of Google’s big algorithmic changes are related to off-page elements. When a site is impacted by one of these changes, they can commonly fix it by attracting more quality links. From holding a blog contest to putting real effort into guest blogging, there are plenty of ways to tackle this challenge. But the Panda update does not fit into this mold. This change is about the content and structure of your website. It’s also different because any changes you make may not have an immediate impact on your rankings. Although Google has rolled out at least 5 versions of Panda, it can take some time for any changes you make to be registered. The good news is while you may have to wait for any changes you implement to sway Google’s opinion of your site, the improvements themselves don’t have to take a long time to make. Find Where People are Leaving Although there are shortcomings to using bounce rate as a metric, it can provide valuable insight into areas of your site that are falling short. You should pull up your analytics data and sort your content by bounce rate. For...

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How to Make Your SERP Listings More Attractive to Searchers

On Friday, Search Engine Land confirmed that Google is testing frames for search options and results. If this becomes a permanent change, it will give searchers even more control over finding exactly what they want. Because of Google’s push towards giving users even more control over searches and the fact that SERP CTR can influence your rankings, it’s more important than ever to ensure your SERP listings are as appealing as possible. To accomplish this important goal, here are effective options you can implement today: Microformats Have a page that includes reviews? What about dates? Since Google supports 5 different microformats, you should be able to incorporate this option on quite a few of your pages. Because microformats can add rich details like stars or dates directly to your SERP listings, they can make your listings stand out from others and attract clicks from interested searchers. Google +1 SEO Effect did a study in June to determine the impact of the Google +1 button. In addition to their other findings, the study determined that “the Google +1 button saw a 20% increase in rankings which led to a corresponding lift in Clickthrough rate (CTR).” Even though the exact measurements of this study are likely far from perfect, the bottom line is it’s well worth taking the time to install this Google feature on your blog or site. Include a...

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How I Doubled a Site’s Speed in Under 10 Minutes

Recently, a friend asked me to take a quick look at his site. My friend wanted to know if there was any way he could speed up his site. Before logging into his WordPress Dashboard to browse around, I used Who.is to look up what company is hosting his site. Although I discovered it’s a hosting company with a reputation for being slow, I knew he didn’t want to deal with moving to a new host. I used WebSitePulse to run an initial speed test. After verifying his site’s response time was on the slower end of the spectrum, I logged into his WP Dashboard. I decided to see how many plugins he was running. I was shocked to discover he had over 40 active plugins! At first, I couldn’t even imagine how he had taken the time to install and activate this many plugins. However, a quick email to him revealed that his website had been built by a “professional WP development company.” In reality, this company justified jacking up its price by doing a mass installation and activation of a bunch of unnecessary plugins. Since I was helping my friend as a quick favor, it didn’t make sense for me to manually review each and every plugin. Instead, I decided to go for the low hanging fruit. How to Use Firebug to Identify Slow WordPress Plugins To...

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