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There is far too much to say about covert action bar 2.0 review to include in this book, but here are a few quick general tips that can help get you started and improve your photos right away: • Your camera matters. If you plan to take a lot of photos for your blog, invest in at least a starter DSLR camera. I have used my trusty Nikon D3100 for several years now, and still love it.
It is easy to use and has a great guide mode that helped me shoot in manual mode before I fully understood how manual mode worked. While sometimes I dream of upgrading my camera body, I found that first investing in a premium lens for my starter body was a much wiser choice. The 24-70/2.8 lens is super versatile and gives my photos that great blurriness in the background that I love. • Get the lighting right.
There is nothing more important to a photograph than good lighting! In fact, learning about photography is more about learning to understand light than anything else. Bright, indirect daylight is best. Ifyou are shooting food or crafts, shoot during the day, either outside in the shade or in front of a well-lit window with your back to the window.
Make sure you are out ofthe direct sunlight! Whenever possible, avoid using your flash. • Check your background. Make sure there is nothing weird or distracting in your background. The plainer, the better! • Use the “Rule of Thirds.” For better composition, imagine your photo split into thirds horizontally and vertically, then try to get the main focal point of your photo to be on one ofthe lines or at one ofthe four intersecting points. There are lots of great online resources for learning how to work your camera.
I have personally used and like the MomTog’s Un-Manual. I think it is a great guide with a ton of easy-to-follow information. My only real problem with the Un-Manual was that the author uses and references a covert action bar 2.0 review for all the detailed instructions and diagrams. Since I shoot with a Nikon, it was a little trickier to learn from.
I have also taken several online photography courses, including Ashley Ann Photography’s Snap Shop, Sweet Violet Photography’s Simply Basics, and MeRah Koh’s Magical Light course. They were all extremely helpful, and I highly recommend any ofthem. Make It Pin-Worthy I’ve already alluded to the importance of Pinterest when it comes to promoting your blog, and rest assured I will be talking about Pinterest a lot more before this book is done. There is a reason for that, and not just because I think Pinterest is fun (which I do!).
Right now there is no single better way to promote your blog content than Pinterest, particularly if you haven’t yet established a platform. Quite honestly, when used correctly, Pinterest is more powerful than Facebook, Twitter, Google+, StumbleUpon, SEO, blog hops, link parties, and even paid advertising combined.
It is, in my opinion, the number one thing worth spending a lot of time on to get it right, and while it is never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket, something must be said for seizing an incredible opportunity. The great thing about spending the time to make your content “pin-worthy” is that doing so actually makes your content better.
Pin-worthy content is also share-worthy via other social media outlets, and more SEO friendly as well. If something does well on Pinterest, it will do well pretty much everywhere else. Pinterest is just the fastest way to draw attention to it. So what makes content pin-worthy? Pay attention now because this part is important: the most pin-worthy posts are the perfect combination of compelling content and highly pinnable images. In the last chapter, we talked a lot about creating killer content and the importance of being awesome. Awesome content is compelling.
Awesome content makes people want to click over right then and there. Awesome content then makes those readers re-pin and share and comment, which in turn convinces other readers to do the same. Awesome content sells itself. But Pinterest is a visual site, which means that the accompanying image to your awesome content must be equally compelling. Your image must sell your content.
In other words, the image you pin should tell enough of your story to make people want to read more. Pinterest is still pretty new, but there have been a few studies on what types of pins get more re-pins. These observations are a good place to start. A recent article from Curalate Insights3 found that: • Colorful images are better than monochromatic images. • Bright images are better than dark covert action bar 2.0 review.
• Warm colors are more likely to be re-pinned than cool colors. • Close-up shots are more likely to be re-pinned than panoramic shots. • Pins without faces are far more likely to be re-pinned. At this point you may be thinking something like, Well, my blog isn’t about crafts or home decor or recipes, so Pinterest doesn’t really apply to me .
Surprisingly, my own anecdotal research and personal experience on Pinterest has found that while recipes and DIY images do tend to get re-pinned quite a bit, they don’t drive nearly as much blog traffic as articles and images that relate to something interesting, helpful, inspirational, or life-changing. People will pin and collect images they like, simply because they are pretty or interesting or inspiring, or because they look delicious.
Converting those pins to page views means taking your beautiful images one or two steps farther. Those images must correspond to great content, and your image description on Pinterest must be engaging enough to capture people’s attention and give them enough of a sense of urgency to want to read that post right then and there.
This means, ifyou are a DIY or home decor or food blogger, your beautiful images must connect on an emotional level or they will simply be re-pinned without really driving traffic. On the other hand, if you are a writer, this means making your accompanying image compelling enough to sell your story, similar to the way a book cover sells its content. Here are a few examples ofsome ofmy own most popular pins to give you a better idea of what I am talking about.
All of the following pins have been pinned and re-pinned thousands of times and have driven tens of thousands of new readers to my blog. Notice that they represent a variety of subjects, from recipes to cleaning tips to DIY projects and beyond, but that each one has three important things in common—great content, a nice image and graphic that works with the title, and a compelling description to make you want to click and read that post.
Before I get you too excited about the limitless possibilities of Pinterest (though it might be too late), we are going to back up and take a quick look at some of the traditional or “old school” methods of building traffic and growing your platform. It seems a little silly to even use the word traditional to talk about anything blogging-related when blogging is only about fifteen years old, but the truth is that blogging and social media are constantly changing.
What worked well five years ago now seems archaic, and what works now may very well be just a flash in the pan. In fact, my main reason for self-publishing this book rather than taking the traditional route was that traditional publishing simply takes too long and technology changes too quickly. I wanted this information to be as relevant as possible right now, even ifthat means I have to update every year.
So why bother with “old school” methods at all, you might be wondering, if technology is changing so fast? The answer is that when you are trying to grow a blog and build your platform, it is best to get traffic any and every way you can. While viral traffic from social media—which we will talk about in the next chapter—can be faster and more efficient when it works, it is also more volatile.
What is white hot one day can be ice cold the next. I have learned the hard way that it is never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket. The more diverse your streams of traffic, the more stable your blog will be. The smartest approach to building blog traffic is to approach it from a variety of angles, in however many ways you can, focusing on both short-term gains and long-term growth.
But before I delve into the various ways to build your blog traffic, I have to start with a strong word of caution, as I know there are probably more than a few readers who will go straight to this chapter without bothering to read about the importance of content and presentation first. Are you ready? Don’t try to build your blog traffic if your blog isn’t ready. Just don’t do it.
There really is no point in trying to build your blog as a business if your content is just okay, your navigation is an exercise in frustration, your do-it-yourself design screams amateur, and your poor-quality images are completely uninspiring and un-pin-worthy. Yes, maybe your parents will read it and love everything you have to say. The rest of the world will pass.
Always keep in mind that sustainable blog traffic growth only happens if your content rocks. Getting people to come once is one thing; getting them to come back again and again (then tell all their friends to come too) is what will ultimately build your blog.
If you are working like crazy to build your traffic and you aren’t seeing any results, it might be time to go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate your content. But now, with that lecture out of the way, let’s look at some of the traditional approaches to building your blog traffic. Word of Mouth Quite honestly, this is how many bloggers got their start, and how most bloggers continue to get started down the blogging path.
You start a blog, write a few things, then tell a few friends or a few family members who in turn—if what you’re sharing is any good—share with a few more friends and extended family members, and so on and so on. Word of mouth is a great way to start building blog traffic, and to start getting feedback from people you know and trust.
They can tell you if you are on the right track (or what needs work) before you try marketing yourself to the masses. Telling people you know that you are writing a blog is also critical practice; if you can’t sell your blog to your best friend, then to whom can you sell it to? Before you go out and start telling people, put some time and thought into crafting your “elevator pitch”—your thirty-second overview of what your blog is about, and why people would want to read it. Practice it, hone it, OWN it.
Then go out and let people know! If you are in the beginning stages of blog writing, or even if you’ve been writing for a while but haven’t quite dared to tell those closest to you, here are a few ideas: • Send a quick email to everyone in your address book, inviting them all to read your latest (or favorite) blog post. Be sure to include the link! If you’re feeling brave, let them know you would love to get some honest feedback, then ask a few specific questions.
Just be sure you’re prepared for honesty! • Every single time you publish a blog post, share it with a comment on your personal Facebook page. Again, ask for feedback! • Have inexpensive business cards printed, then share them with everyone you know. • Have an inexpensive bumper sticker or car decal printed with your web address.
This is how all my neighbors—even the ones I didn’t know— started reading my blog! (A word of caution—depending on what you write about, that can get weird. Sometimes it is better that your neighbors don’t know about your blog.) • Politely ask the people you trust who you know read (and like) your blog to spread the word.
You can do this via a blog post, or at the end of each blog post, or in person.
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