Before we dive into this MONSTER post…
If you prefer to get the challenges in your inbox the next 21 days instead (or in addition to) reading this post, sign up for my 21 Days To Build A Better Blog Challenge below!
DAY 1: Automate Your Social Media
The first thing I did when I started my blog was look for social media automation tools.
Because I knew I didn’t want to be on social media 24/7.
While the other tools were great starter tools, especially Loomly, SmarterQueue saved me the most amount of time.
It LOOPED and RECYCLED my content!
Unlike most social media automation tools where you have to constantly refill your queue with new content, such as Tailwind for Pinterest or Planoly for Instagram, SmarterQueue recycles my content every 90 days. (You can set it up to loop however you want – every 30, 60 or 90 days or anything you’d like).
Of course, I had to fill up my queue with 90 days worth of content… but that was easy.
I simply pulled my posts from my RSS feed and the content I had been putting out on my Instagram account. If you don’t have your own content yet, you can pull from loads of other sources.
It may take a little bit of time to set it all up, perhaps a whole day, but once you do you won’t have to touch your social media (unless you want to).
It looks like I’m online on all my platforms ALL THE TIME, when in fact I literally haven’t touched my socials FOR 6 MONTHS.
Plus they have the best payment structure and you pay for exactly what you need instead of paying for a huge package and only using half of the tools available.
Here is a sneak peek at my SmarterQueue account scheduled out from 8AM-11PM every single day, every single waking hour, Sunday to Saturday.
Invest in tools that SAVE YOU TIME!
Day 2: Design A Better Logo In 5 Mins
A logo, in a way, sets the tone of your brand.
It’s also the base for every aesthetic thing that comes after it.
Your logo’s font and format also set the mood for your blog’s brand and content.
If you already have a logo but aren’t happy with it, it’s never too late to try a new one!
You can go about logo design one of two ways;
- Hire a professional at the best rate from 99designs
- Create a professional logo for free on DesignEvo
Here are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about your logo design.
- Ask yourself: “What am I trying to convey?” What word or emotion do you want to evoke?
- Minimalism may not be for everyone, but it’s important when it comes to logos! Simple is memorable.
- Also make sure your logo looks good on colored backgrounds, white backgrounds, and transparent backgrounds to ensure it’s versatile for any and all situations.
My blog is a publication, so instead of creating a logo, I created a badge for the people that were featured on my blog.
If you’re a female entrepreneur and would like to get interviewed on my blog, please sign up here.
Day 3: Complete The “Fresh Eyes” Test
Have a friend or family member who roughly fits your target audience, that is NOT FAMILIAR with your site, go through it in front of you.
Make sure to do this test on both mobile and desktop.
Start with mobile because 85% of the time this is how your site is going to be accessed.
Tell them to navigate it as if you weren’t there.
Don’t tell them what to do, in fact, don’t talk to them at all, just OBSERVE.
Take note of these things…
- What they click on
- How they navigate it
- What they have difficulty with
- What they pause on
- What they skip over
- What actions they take (or don’t take)
Take note of these things before they respond…
- How many minutes did it take them to feel that they had fully cruised your site?
Then ask them…
- What were their first impressions?
- What did they think your site was about?
- What questions do they have?
- What suggestions do they have?
- What stood out to them?
- What did they remember?
- How did they feel about certain words/pictures?
- What impression did they get on the blogger?
Take note of these things as they respond…
- What specific words do they use to describe their experience?
Do this test on 5-10 more people in your target audience.
If you’re comfortable with it, ask a stranger in a coffee shop who doesn’t look busy to assess your site to get a completely raw experience. You can even say that it’s a friend’s site you’re helping to build or for some project so they give you their HONEST OPINIONS.
Take note of reoccurring themes and suggestions that people may have had.
Then use the data you collected to improve upon your site.
REMEMBER – don’t get offended.
I know it’s your baby, but if you want to improve and grow, you must listen and implement people’s honest feedback, especially if several people mention the same issues.
Day 4: Boost Your SEO With ONE Thing
Google will LOVE you for this.
Linking to your previous posts is CRUCIAL to bumping up the SEO of your site.
The longer people stay on your site (aka the lower your page’s BOUNCE RATE is) the better.
Your low bounce rate tells Google that your site has quality information because it retains people’s attention.
There are TWO ways to link internally.
- List out your post titles before your actual blog post
- Link within your post using specific keyword anchor text
I would suggest doing BOTH.
What does that look like?
Let’s take one of my posts that went viral as an example: 12 Most Profitable Niches For Making Money Online.
See how I linked related blog posts in the introduction seamlessly?
Because if people are searching for profitable niches, they are more than likely interested in making money with their blog. Make sure the posts you’re linking to are extremely RELEVANT and add even more value to your post.
Then within the body of your blog post, make sure your anchor text, which is the text that is hyperlinked, is linked to highly relevant keywords that relate to the blog post which it is linked.
In this case, “concrete money-making strategy” and “how to blog strategically” are anchor texts that are highly searched keyword terms when it comes to my blog.
Day 5: Add 4 Strategic Call-To-Actions
If you don’t ask your readers to do something… they won’t.
The top 4 things you want every single visitor to do is;
- Sign up for your email list
- Join your community group
- Buy one of your products/services
- Follow you on one of your social media channels
Staying connected somehow is the ultimate goal because 95% of the people that visit your site for the first time WON’T RETURN… unless prompted to!
Now, we are going to piggyback off of yesterday’s lesson and use the same viral post 12 Most Profitable Niches For Making Money Online as an example.
Notice how I have included an IMAGE with my CTA which is linked to my blogging course to make it stand out more.
Get creative with how you include a call-to-action and make sure it POPS.
Here is another example from my post, 100 Most-Asked Blogging Questions Answered.
As I’m telling people how to blog strategically, I’m using my own strategies to get them into my Facebook Group for Female Entrepreneurs + Bloggers.
Day 6: Build A Better Email List Faster
If you’re not collecting emails someway, somehow… you’re missing out on the point of having a blog.
Without an email list, your blog will DIE.
Every time I send an email to my list, my traffic spikes!
Every time I have a promo that I send to my list, my sales spike!
Here are the top email list builders you must have:
I have tried loads of different email collectors and providers and have narrowed it down to these two.
I like Sumo because of the various options it gives me for sign up forms.
I really like having a banner on the top of my page. It’s unobtrusive, blends well with my theme, and looks great on mobile.
You can click on the image below to download the 12 Most Profitable Niches List.
While pop-up forms are controversial because they are so “in-your-face” statistically they still are my highest performing form regardless of what information I have on them.
This doesn’t just apply to my blog, this is statistically proven for ANY and ALL blogs. Read the pop-up analysis on HubSpot.
Click on the image below to sign up for weekly entrepreneurial advice.
Day 7: Send More Strategic Emails
It’s one thing to build your list, it’s another to be effective with those precious email addresses!
WITHOUT an email marketing strategy, your list will just sit there and not do anything for you.
WITH an email marketing strategy, your traffic and sales will grow.
First, if you don’t have an email service provider, I would suggest getting one ASAP. I recommend ConvertKit.
So what’s the best email marketing strategies?
- Address people by name
- Segment your subscribers
- Send mobile-friendly emails
- Test copy, design, and buttons
- Automate your campaigns
Let me explain what each of the points above means in order.
- When people see their name as the addressee, they are 50% more likely to open up an email because it’s personalized. This can be automated by simply inserting “merge tags” as you craft your email. You can access them in ConvertKit under the tab “Personalize”.
- A segment is a portion of your list that is sectioned off according to interests assigned to them according to what they opted-in for. This way you’ll know what may interest them in the future so you can send more relevant information.
- Before you send out an email, make sure to send a copy to yourself first to see if the entire headline shows up on your cell phone screen. This will get you more opens because they know what the email is about in the fewest words possible.
- Perform A/B testing. Cut your list in half and send 50% of them one version and 50% the second version of the same email. Make sure that you only change ONE THING so you have a constant and a variable. For example, your button might be green instead of blue.
- Trigger-based emails are emails that are sent out automatically based on user behavior. For example, someone adds an item to their cart, but then abandon it which triggers the follow-up email of sending them the link to their cart item and 20% off. This is generally enough to get people to purchase on the spot. These are harder to set up, but well worth your time.
Day 8: Sell Better Affiliate Products
If you’re not familiar with what affiliate marketing is, take this course first.
If you are and you haven’t signed up for a ShareASale account, do it now.
Because it literally doesn’t matter what your niche is, ShareASale will have something for you that sells easily.
Plus it’s the easiest platform to get approved for and also the easiest one to navigate.
What kind of affiliate products work best?
- Closely align with your niche
- Pay per sign-up in addition to per sale
- Higher priced items
- Pay higher percentages
The very first product/service I ever sold on the ShareASale platform was Tailwind.
I made $81.88 from writing the 2 posts below.
- How To Auto Post On Instagram And Find The Best Hashtags
- How To Get 100 Pinterest Followers In 7 Days
Because Tailwind is a low-risk tool and you earn 15% PER SIGN UP in addition to PER SALE.
Plus what blogger do you know that DOESN’T USE Tailwind?!
(Probably because it is the ONLY tool that Pinterest Certified).
Help yourself out and sell trending and popular products!
Day 9: Promote Better Deals
Yesterday we talked about selling better products according to your niche, today we’re going to talk about selling higher ticket products.
We talked about #1 and #2 (below) yesterday, today we are going to talk about #3 and #4.
What kind of affiliate products work best?
- Closely align with your niche
- Pay per sign-up in addition to per sale
- Higher priced items
- Pay higher percentages
Recap: the first product I sold on ShareASale…
- I made $81.88 selling Tailwind in just a few days.
- It was a great first product/service to promote.
- However… it wasn’t the best use of my time.
It took me 4 hours each to write those posts only to have made about $40 per post.
When you promote higher priced items… naturally you’ll get a higher payout so your time is better spent.
So I decided to sign up to be an Ultimate Bundles affiliate, which is what I suggest every single blogger signs up for because it’s literally the easiest thing to sell.
It doesn’t matter what niche you are, Ultimate Bundles will have a bundle for you!
The bundles they currently have won’t last forever, they constantly change their bundles, so if you don’t see something that matches you right now, wait until they come out with one that will work for you.
The only way to ensure a good payout is if the bundle closely matches your niche.
I decided to sell their “Work At Home” Bundle and made $18.80 that first week passively. All I did was put their banner on my sidebar.
So I decided to sell another one of their bundles called “Genius Blogger’s Toolkit” and made $248.31 in 4 days from simply sending a few emails.
They offer 40% on most of their products and 70% if you become a bundle contributor.
If you don’t have your own product yet, this could be your first.
Sign up for Ultimate Bundles and start making some monayyyyyy!!!
Day 10: Post Better Graphics
People usually classify themselves as either;
- NOT artistic
Create up to 5 templates per social media channel.
For example, if you look at my Instagram account @ladybossblogger, you’ll see I swap between just two templates and for @elainerau I just have one. This makes my life extremely easy because everything is drag and drop!
If you fall under #2, I have your solution: Creative Market.
Did you know?
You don’t have to create any of your graphics yourself!!!
Creative Market has everything PRE-MADE and BEAUTIFULLY DESIGNED for you!
Make your life easier and save time with graphic creation by getting them by the bundle!
Then upload them all into your SmarterQueue social media scheduler and automate your brand’s life!
Day 11: Get Paid For Your Posts
Did you know that you can get paid to post on your own blog?
ValuedVoice pays you about $50 per post.
There are lots of platforms out there that you can join, but from all the ones I’ve tried, I’ve personally found ValuedVoice to be the fastest and easiest way to make money immediately.
This was my first month’s payout.
This was my second month’s payout. Check it out and let me know your experience!
Day 12: Download Better Plugins
The more plugins you have the slower your site speed will be.
Therefore, you want to make sure you only have the most necessary plugins.
Here is my list of TOP WORDPRESS PLUGINS.
- JetPack – site stats
- SocialWarefare – social sharing
- ConvertKit – email marketing
- Sumo – email capture
- Facebook Pixel – advertising
- Pretty Links – link cloaking
What plugins do you use that are just clogging up your site?
DELETE THEM NOW.
Test the performance of your site by using website.grader.com and implement their suggestions.
Day 13: Create A Vision Board Today
Have you ever created a vision board?
If so, why did you do it? Did everything on your vision board come true?
Vision boards are usually created at the beginning of the year or at the beginning of a dream project.
What is the PURPOSE of a vision board?
It helps you map out visually what you may not be able to express in words yet.
They are also called DREAM BOARDS.
The board below was created in PicMonkey.
It can be a mix of photos and words, totally up to you.
PHYSICAL vision boards are out… and DIGITAL vision boards are in!
So you can access them on your desktop or your phone and KEEP YOUR VISION IN THE FOREFRONT OF YOUR MIND.
If you’re super crafty, you can always create it then take a photo of it.
I suggest saving it as the background to both your computer and cellphone.
Most of us talk about our plans so that we can start to develop our vision for it.
After we do that, we can act upon it.
But it’s a process… in order to go from talking to doing, you must dream a little.
That is the purpose of having a vision board.
Day 14: Boost Your Site’s Speed
Your theme and hosting service provider has a lot to do with your site’s speed.
- The best theme for speedy PROS is the Genesis Framework.
- The best theme for speedy BEGINNERS is the Divi Theme.
- The best hosting platforms out there are BlueHost and GoDaddy.
If your theme is designed with SEO in mind, it will allow for Google to crawl and index your site better.
If your web host is on a better platform, your site will naturally run faster.
Day 15: Add A Different Medium
If you haven’t tapped into video yet… it may be time to.
You don’t necessarily have to be in front of the camera if you’re not comfortable with that.
All you need are 3 things;
This is exactly what you need to do step-by-step:
- Choose one of your most popular posts.
- Type out the main points into a powerpoint presentation.
- Plug your headphones into your computer.
- Download ScreenFlow to record your screen.
- Record your screen as you talk through your blog post points.
- Optional: Record yourself and plug it into the beginning of your video.
- Upload it to YouTube and embed it into your blog post.
- Promote it like crazy!!! Maximize your organic reach using the only YouTube Certified tool: VidIQ.
Check it out for yourself. 🙂
Day 16: Track Your Goals And Habits
Did you know that there’s an app for that?
A very effective one I might add.
It’s called Strides.
- The more you learn how to set GOALS, the more effective you’ll get AT EVERYTHING IN LIFE.
- The better you get to know your HABITS, the more efficient you’ll become because you’ll start to weed out the bad ones by replacing them with good ones!
Day 17: Add A Store To Your Blog
If you’re not already monetizing your blog somehow, starting a store is a great way to do so!
There are LOADS of tools out there, but these are the top 3 that I recommend.
After you have your store, download the e-commerce store’s plugin so it’s linked to your website/blog.
Then start creating your product in Printful!
If you’re more crafty and already have an Etsy store (or prefer to create your own products to sell) you can connect it with the plugin below as well.
Day 18: Create An Online Course
If you don’t already have an online course, there are lots of reasons why you should create one!
- It builds your credibility.
- It builds your revenue.
When you create a course, you’re basically translating your services/expertise/content into a package or “product”.
This helps create a PASSIVE INCOME stream because once you’re done creating it, you can sell it over and over again and it IS NOT a direct exchange of your TIME for the amount of money you make.
Once you have a good product, you can then pay for advertising and set up automations to sell it for you, thus freeing up even more of your time!
The 3 top ways to create an online course…
- Create your course using Teachable
- Become an Ultimate Bundles contributor
- Create an email course in ConvertKit
#1 and #2 are paid courses, #3 is for free courses.
Figure out which one is best for you!
- Teachable – take the most popular posts on your blog that are centered around the same topic and use them as the base for your course and foundation to build upon. I based my very first course on one of my posts that went viral “12 Most Profitable Niches For Making Money Online” and broke down exactly how to tap into and monetize those 12 niches effectively.
- Ultimate Bundles – if you don’t have a ton of content or time and want to collaborate with other people in your niche to create the best bundle deal, create one amazing digital product and submit it to Ultimate Bundles. Good luck!
- ConvertKit – test out your full course idea by creating a series of short email courses. Create an opt-in form that connects to your email sequence and start getting people in your email funnel!
Day 19: Create A Better Freebie
Almost anything can be a freebie if you package it up well!
You wanna know something crazy though?
A bad freebie (aka one that doesn’t attract subscribers) is better than having no freebie at all.
The only way to do it right is if you try different things to see what works!
What makes a freebie irresistible?
- It’s easily consumable – provides a quick win
- It’s highly specific – has only one point
- It’s transformational – leads your audience through a change
- It’s relevant – and relates to the other content you produce on your blog
What are some general freebie ideas?
- eBooks: This is a great option because you can give it as a freebie to new subscribers but also sell it to non-subscribers on Amazon.
- Digital Workbook/Tutorial: A step-by-step walkthrough for anything.
- eCourse or Workshop: “How to _____” in a visual, audio or written form.
- Checklist, To-Do List, Cheatsheet, Templates: For specific tasks or challenges.
- Coupons: Especially effective for small businesses who specialize in local sales.
- Video series/webinars: Whether live or pre-recorded, these can be instructional, motivational, or conversational.
- Email course: These are great for getting people used to receiving your emails as you teach them something. This is especially great if there is a lot of content to digest, it’s best given over the course of a few days or a week.
- Consultation: To give advice, critiques, opportunities for growth.
- Quiz: People love quizzes and learning more about themselves. This is also highly shareable so make sure to give them the option to share their results!
- Audio file/transcript: More and more people are wanting to learn on the go, so make it easy for them to digest your content while they are working out or on the go.
- Basically anything downloadable or printable: As long as it’s off your main blog.
Now it’s time to start creating!!! Let’s gooooo!!!
Day 20: Create A Better Instagram
Top 3 Instagram Growth Tactics…
1. Post consistently (at least once a day)
Tailwind did some research on and found that the more consistently you post, the more likes and followers you’ll get. Is there ever a day where people don’t go online? Not usually, therefore you need to be present daily!
This is the only way that you will see consistent growth on your account.
2. Mix it up with videos, live videos, and stories
Showcase your personality with video. You don’t have to post it on your feed, especially if you think it will mess up the aesthetic vibe you’re going for, but you can utilize video in your stories or live videos.
Regardless if you like it or not, video is taking over and you must jump on board! I much prefer to hide behind my blog, but it did wonders for my business once I started showing up on Insta Live. You get immediate feedback and get to communicate with your followers in a very intimate way which is super cool.
I decided to do live versus pre-recorded video so I wouldn’t have to worry about editing anything afterward, plus it forced me to be ok with the video and all the technical hiccups along the way. It’s a great way to get your feet wet in video and get over your fear of being recorded.
The first time is not going to be your best time, nor should it be your last! The more you force yourself to do it, the better you’ll get at it!
3. Study and use quality hashtags
Quality meaning hashtags that people are actually searching for in regards to the content they want to consume. Hashtags are as important as the photos you post because they help your images get found! The more relevant your hashtags are to what’s depicted in your image, the better.
Use all-hashtag.com to find THE BEST hashtags!
Tailwind also has a super cool hashtag feature where they not only give you relevant suggestions, but they color code it to see if it’s a #niche, #good, #best, or #competitive hashtag!
A good rule of thumb is to include the maximum amount of hashtags for each post, which is currently 30.
- 5 should be niche
- 10 should be good
- 10 should be best
- 5 should be competitive
Day 21: Clean Up Your Broken Links
The more broken links you have on your site, the worse your DOMAIN AUTHORITY will be.
Use this FREE Broken Link Checker to make sure your links are all going to a valid URL!
And this concludes our 21-Day Ways To Build A Better Blog Series!
YOU DID IT!
Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your blogging journey.
If you haven’t joined my FB Group for Female Entrepreneurs + Bloggers, please do so we can stay connected.
Please subscribe to receive my weekly entrepreneurial advice newsletter.
PIN THE IMAGE BELOW AND PASS ON THE CHALLENGE!
Latest posts by Elaine Rau (see all)
- How To Find The Best Savings Accounts - February 17, 2019
- Deborah Kos Helps Busy Moms Learn How To Be Less Stressed - February 16, 2019
- Brittany Lee Helps Women Get What They Want From Their Men - February 14, 2019
- How To Celebrate Valentine’s Day Like A Boss - February 13, 2019
- Caroline Kalentzos Provides Public Relations For Luxury Lifestyle Brands - February 12, 2019