Tag Archives: Creating Content

13 Key Ways to Lower Your Blog’s Bounce Rate (and Why it Matters)

The post 13 Key Ways to Lower Your Blog’s Bounce Rate (and Why it Matters) appeared first on ProBlogger.

13 key ways to lower your blog's bounce rate (and why it matters)

Bounce rate is a Google Analytics metric that tells you the percentage of people who “bounce” off your site (i.e. visit your site and leave from the first page they arrive on).

To find out your bounce rate, log into your Google Analytics account.

(If you haven’t set up Google Analytics on your blog, do it. It’s powerful, very useful, and completely free. You can find out more about Google Analytics in episode 30 of the podcast.)

Once you’re in Google Analytics, go to Audience → Overview and look at the Bounce Rate. You should see a little chart and a percentage that looks something like this:

On my Digital Photography School site the percentage is around 78%. That means 78% of the people who arrive at the site only view the page they arrive on.

You can click the little chart or select from the dropdown menu to see the entire chart for the previous month (or whatever period you select):

Most blogs don’t see much day-to day-variation in their bounce rate. Mine changes slightly when I send out our email (which I’ll talk about soon), but chances are your blog has a steady, even line when you view your chart.

Interpreting Your Bounce Rate

A high number (say, 99%) means a lot of people are leaving your blog without checking out any of your content beyond the page they arrive on.

A low number means a lot of people are sticking around, and looking at more than one post or page on your site.

Bloggers often think a high number is bad and a low number is good, and later in the post I’ll be showing you ways to lower your bounce rate. But it’s worth keeping in mind that a high bounce rate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For instance:

  • You might want readers to leave and do something else. For instance, if you promote affiliate products you probably want to send readers away to buy them.
  • You might want people to call your business. And a high bounce rate might suggest that’s working. People are finding your site, and then picking up the phone to call you.
  • You might sell products through a major e-retailer such as Amazon or eBay. If you are, you’ll need to send people away from your site.
  • You might be getting readers to sign up to your email list through a popup tool that doesn’t load another page on your site.

How to Drill Down When You’re Looking at Bounce Rate

While looking at the bounce rate for your entire site can be interesting, it’s better to focus on specific pages. You can do this by going to Behavior → Site Content → Content Drilldown, and clicking on the page you’re interested in. Here’s an example:

On ProBlogger, the bounce rate for the front page is 61%. That’s lower than our site average, which is normally in the high 70s. When people arrive on the front page, they’re probably trying to figure out what the site is, what content they’re interested in, and so on. So it makes sense for the bounce rate of that page to be relatively low.

Some pages on ProBlogger have a really low bounce rate. On the “Start Here” page it’s 54%, and on the job board it’s 35%. That’s great, because it means people are clicking to view individual jobs.

Other pages have a much higher bounce rate. One post from 2012 gets search engine traffic every day, but its bounce rate is 91%. People arrive, see that the information isn’t relevant for them, and leave.

How to Look at the Bounce Rate of Different Sources of Traffic

Another thing to be aware of is that bounce rates vary depending on the traffic source. In Google Analytics, you can go to Acquisition → All Traffic → Channels to view the bounce rates for different sources of traffic. It’ll look something like this:

On Digital Photography School, Google traffic bounces away at 77% and social media traffic bounces at 81%. But email traffic has a much lower bounce rate – 55%.

So when I’m looking at lowering the bounce rate there, I’m particularly interested in the Google traffic because more than half of my traffic comes from Google. And most of it comes from first-time visitors. I’d love them to stick around and hopefully subscribe.

But I’m not particularly bothered about lowering the bounce rate for email traffic. It’s already pretty low, and those people have already subscribed.

13 Straightforward Ways to Lower the Bounce Rate on Your Blog

Now that you understand bounce rates, and how to break it down by page and traffic source in Google Analytics, let’s go through some ways to lower it.

#1: Make a Great First Impression

When someone comes to your site for the first time, they decide within seconds whether it’s credible, is relevant to them, and has content worth reading.

And they base those decisions on your design, branding, tagline, and other clear indicators to the benefits of them reading.

#2: Work on Social Proof

If you have a testimony from a reader (or from someone well known), include it. If you’ve got a lot of Twitter followers or email subscribers, put the number on your site. If you’ve been quoted or featured in mainstream media and can use that publication’s logo, use it.

These are all signals to first-time visitors that your site is credible and useful.

#3: Remove the Dates on Your Blog Posts

This might be a bit controversial, but I’m going to suggest it anyway. Consider removing the dates on your blog posts. It can help make a good first impression – especially when you have a lot of older evergreen posts.

On my Digital Photography School site I have a post about shutter speed that I wrote in 2007. It’s just as relevant today, but if I included the date on that post people would inevitably judge it as less worth reading.

#4: Make Your Site Easy to Use

It might sound obvious, but people are more likely to click around on your site if it’s easy to do. Make sure your site loads quickly, and make your content easy to read.

For more on this, you might want to listen to episode 176 of the podcast where I talk about creating scannable content: making sure the text is easy to read, having clear navigation, making your site responsive so it’s optimised for mobile, minimising interruptions, and so on.

#5: Focus on High-Quality Content

If a first-time reader lands on a well-written, articulate article that enhances their life in some way, they’re going to click around. So focus on writing consistently good posts that help your reader as much as possible.

And investing time to write great content improves your blog in other ways too.

#6: Ask Readers to Connect in Some Way

Normally you want readers to make an ongoing connection with you – perhaps by subscribing to your email list or following you on social media. Make strong, clear calls to action in various parts of your blog to encourage readers to connect to you.

This will help keep readers coming back to your site as return visitors, which will reduce your bounce rate over time. On Digital Photography School we see that people who come back every day click around at a much higher rate than first-time visitors.

#7: Create Portals for Your Site

This is one of the best things I’ve done on ProBlogger. On the front page we have icons for different ‘portals’ (under “I need help to…”). The same icons also appear in the sidebar next to every single post.

Each portal is a special page that includes a video greeting (where I make a personal connection) and a call to subscribe. There’s also lots of information on each portal page. It isn’t a category page with links to our latest posts. Instead it’s a curated list of the best content we have.

These portals have reduced our bounce rate a lo. The individual portal pages have a bounce rate as low as 40%. If you’d like to know more about them, check out episode 114 of the podcast.

#8: Create a “Start Here” Page

Our “Start Here” page is featured prominently in our navigation: it’s the first item in the menu. It’s targeted at first-time readers, particularly those coming from Google who hopefully spot the link in the navigation and click on it.

You don’t have call yours a “Start Here” page. An “About” or “My Story” page could serve the same purpose.

#9: Make External Links Open in a New Tab

When you link to another site or blog from one of your posts, a simple way to ensure you don’t lose your reader is to make the external link open up in a new tab (or window). That way, the reader won’t actually leave your site.

This is simple to do in WordPress. Simply edit the link and click the checkbox to open it in a new tab. There are also WordPress plugins that can handle this for you, such as Open external links in a new window.

#10: Link Back to Older Content from Your Posts

When you write your next blog post, challenge yourself to create links to at least three of your existing posts. For example, you could link to a previous post that covers something you mention in greater detail.

Another option is to add suggested reading (or listening) at the end of your post. While you can do this using a plugin, I like to add in my own so I can choose exactly what I want to encourage readers to look at next.

You could also create an interlinked series of posts, which can be great not only for lowering your bounce rate but also for exploring more complex ideas on your blog.

#11: Link to Popular Posts in Your Sidebar

If you’ve got a post (or several posts) you know are popular, make sure they’re really easy to find. You could highlight them on your About or Start Here page. But you can also link to them in your sidebar.

You can do it with a text link, or you can get more creative with a button or a banner. For example, on ProBlogger we have an image in the sidebar that links to our “How to Start a Blog” post, with the call to action text in the image itself.

#12: Create a “Sneeze” Page

In the menu on Digital Photography School, we highlight a post called “Tips for Beginners” because it’s always popular with our readers. If a reader clicks that link, they end up on what I call a “Sneeze” page.

This page introduces the topic, then lists 40 or so different posts we’ve written that are relevant for beginners. The point of the page is to get people “sneezed” deeply into our archives.

You can also write entire posts with this in mind. One we produced for Digital Photography School is “21 Settings, Techniques and Rules All New Camera Owners Should Know”.

#13: Make it Easy to Search Your Site

Many blogs don’t give readers the opportunity to search their content, or bury their search bar somewhere low on the page. This makes it hard for readers to search for information they particularly want.

Make sure your search bar is easy to find. You want you readers to find the right content as easily as possible.

I know that’s a lot to take in. So here are some practical steps for what you can do next:

#1: Identify the top three posts on your site that consistently get a lot of traffic.

#2: Have a look at the bounce rate on each post. Are they all similar, or is one much higher or lower than the others? Can you figure out why?

#3: Try to optimise those three posts to reduce the bounce rate. You could add a call to subscribe, include further reading, or add extra links in that content.

If you want to go further, create a “Start Here” page for your site, or create some “Sneeze” pages or posts to list your best content in particular categories.

Don’t forget to leave a comment below to let us know how you get on.

Image credit: Markus Spiske

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What if You Can’t Find Your Niche?

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How to find your niche

Are you struggling to stay motivated with your blog writing about the same thing again and again?

Or are you flitting around between lots of different topics, trying and failing to find one thing you want to write about?

In the old days of blogging, bloggers were often advised to be very specific – define a niche on a very narrow topic (e.g. “iPhone covers”) and become the expert in that particular narrow field.

Thankfully, things are more relaxed these days. Many bloggers have a fairly broad remit, and it’s become far more common to think about having a niche demographic than a niche topic (which I wrote about on ProBlogger way back in 2007).

Of course, bloggers still need some sort of niche. It’s hard to think of any successful blogs that cover every single topic the blogger could possibly be interested in.

But if the path to finding your niche is a little rocky, don’t worry because…

Plenty of Bloggers Don’t Succeed with Their First Idea

There are lots of bloggers out there who took a while to find their niche. Perhaps you’re one of them.

Some bloggers started a blog that took a long time to see traction. It took Chris Brogan eight years to get his first 100 subscribers. And Brian Casel reveals in this post that

My blog received less than 20 visitors a day. My newsletter did not exist. I had been blogging for years, but couldn’t connect with an audience, let alone create a product they might buy.

before he finally gained traction with a three-step strategy.

Other bloggers try several niches before finding the one that’s a perfect fit for them. Johnny B Truant started out writing about weightlifting and running for diabetics, used to set up WordPress blogs, and now runs the publishing business Sterling & Stone alongside Sean Platt.

So if your blog seems to be growing very slowly, or you’ve tried out a couple of niches that just weren’t right for you, take heart. It’s an experience many, many bloggers have faced.

Including me.

When I began blogging in 2002, it was out of curiosity. It wasn’t until a year later that I started my first photography blog (a camera review blog thatI later re-launched as Digital Photography School). And during 2004 I started a lot of different blogs – it got up to 30 at one point. I launched ProBlogger in September 2004, and it wasn’t until 2005 that I went full time. (You can read the full story here.)

Finding Your Niche

There’s no magic way to find the perfect niche for you. But here are some questions you might like think about that could help you choose.

  • What have you already tried in terms of blogging? Were there any aspects of it that you particularly enjoyed? Maybe you had a blog about meal planning that you struggled to feel interested in, but loved writing a post about cooking alongside your kids.
  • What blogs or magazines do you read? Could you write about similar topics?
  • What topics can you imagine yourself talking about or writing about for years to come?
  • What sort of blog would feel like “you”? If your current topic seems like an uncomfortable fit, something you wouldn’t want to talk to your friends about, then maybe it isn’t right for you.

I know many bloggers feel they don’t want to confine themselves to a single niche.

If that’s you, maybe you’d find it helpful to focus on your audience instead of on a particular topic. For instance, you might want to write for “parents” or “retirees”, covering multiple topics that would be of interest to that audience.

For more help finding your niche, listen to my podcast on how to decide what your blog should be about, which covers 15 great questions to ask yourself.

Are Your Early Blogging Efforts Wasted?

If you’ve been working hard for months or even years on a blog only to decide your heart really isn’t in it, you might find it very hard to let go.

It can feel like all those words and all that effort to grow your mailing list or to increase your pageviews were a waste of time.

But there’s a different way to look at it. All that work was vital in getting you to where you are right now, and none of it was wasted. The skills you learned, from setting up WordPress to crafting great blog post titles, will be a huge help to you with your next blog.

(If you decide to start a completely new blog, rather than changing direction with your existing one, you might also want to look into selling your first blog.)

When Thomas Edison was working on his nickel-iron storage batteries, he told a reporter, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.

Hopefully you won’t need to go through 10,000 blogs before finding your niche. But you may well need to try out a few wrong paths or false starts before finding the best way forward for you.

Is it Time to Change Direction, or Start Something New?

As you’ve been reading this post, you may think your blog just isn’t a good fit for you anymore. You’re struggling with motivation to write there. Perhaps you got into that niche because you thought it would make money. Or perhaps you picked a topic that interested you a couple of years ago, but is no longer something you find engaging.

Is it time for a change of direction? You could refocus your existing blog. Or you could launch something completely new.

If you’re going to start a new blog, check out these podcast episodes:

Even better, you can work through our (completely free) Start a Blog Course. Sign up here and get started straight away.

If you’re going to refocus or even relaunch your existing blog (especially if you haven’t written much, or anything, for a while), listen to our podcast episode on how to relaunch a dormant blog.

Finally, if you’d like a hand brainstorming about your new niche, come over to the ProBlogger Community group on Facebook. (Start your post with the hashtag #ask, so we know it’s a question.) We’ll be glad to help you.

Image credit: Tim Mossholder

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How Long Should Your Blog Post Be?

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How long should your blog post be?

Today’s post is by ProBlogger writing expert Ali Luke

When I started blogging in 2008, there was a (roughly) agreed-on standard for blog posts: you should post around 500 words every weekday.

Now that I look back on that, it seems pretty silly. Some topics can be adequately covered in 300 words, while others might need 5,000. And some bloggers have a naturally terse writing style, whereas others like to dig deep and give lots of examples.

Around the end of 2013, long-form content became much more popular in the blogging world. (Here’s Darren’s post about ProBlogger’s own experiments with writing longer posts.) Then, as now, it seemed clear that Google had a preference for in-depth content.

But during the past few years, short pieces of content have become increasingly popular as well. Twitter, for instance, is often described as a “microblogging” platform. While plenty of people use it for general conversations or promotional tweets, others do use it in a blog-style way. Take a look at James Breakwell (@XplodingUnicorn)’s brilliant tweets about family life, for instance.

Lots of blogs also carry relatively short posts. Gizmodo is a good example, with very frequent news / time-sensitive posts. For instance, eBay is Knocking 15% Off Everything Just for Today was 168 words.

So should you write short posts, long posts, or something in between?

The answer is, as you might have guessed, it depends. You need to find a post length that suits your content, your readers, and (perhaps most importantly) you as a blogger.

But before we dig into those considerations, let’s take a quick look at length vs frequency.

Blog Post Length vs Frequency

While it’s not a rule, blogs that publish short posts usually publish them more frequently than blogs that publish long posts.

You can see why this makes sense for both the blogger and the reader. You might publish a 400-word post every weekday, or a 2000-word post once a week.

If you want to increase the length of your blog posts, you might also want to decrease how often you publish them. Otherwise you’ll burn out, and your readers will get overwhelmed.

(Sidenote: I’ve never unsubscribed from a blog because they posted less frequently than I wanted. However, I have unsubscribed from blogs that posted too frequently, especially if the quality of posts wasn’t consistent.)

So, with the caveat that changing the length of your content will likely mean changing the frequency too, here are some key considerations when thinking about how long your blog posts should be.

What Suits Your Content?

Some topics pretty much demand in-depth posts. If you’re writing about something that involves lots of different steps, such as “How to start a blog”, it’s probably not going to be short.

But other topics work best with short content. This is particularly the case for blogs that aim to entertain rather than inform. Readers may delight in reading lots of short anecdotes about your kids, but be put off by a rambling story.

Of course, you probably have a bit of flexibility on how exactly you approach your topic. So if you feel you want to write short posts rather than in-depth ones, come up with post ideas that would work for that. Instead of “How to start a blog”, you might write “How to register a domain name” or even “What is a domain name?”

What Suits Your Readers?

The next key consideration is whether your readers would prefer shorter or longer posts. If you already have a reasonable number of readers, you could survey them to find out. You could also take a look at your most popular posts in Google Analytics, or the posts that get the most comments or shares. Does short or long content seem to resonate better with your audience?

You might potentially find that your readers like a mix of posts. Maybe they want fairly short and to-the-point posts most of the time, with a much longer piece of content occasionally thrown in.

What Suits You?

Last, but certainly not least, comes… you. Are you the sort of writer who naturally produces concise, impactful posts like Seth Godin does? Or do you love to dig into a topic and write a post that covers every angle?

If you’ve been trying to write long posts but struggling to stay motivated and productive, it could be a sign you’re better suited to sharing short, succinct pieces of content instead. On the other hand, if you’ve been writing three or more short pieces every week and it feels like you’re on a content treadmill, writing one long piece every week or even every couple of weeks might work better for you.

The great thing about blogging is there are no “rules” on how a blog post should look. You’re free to write 10,000-word epic guides (such as Neil Patel’s Online Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide), or posts with only a few words and mostly pictures or embedded tweets (such as Buzzfeed’s 19 Hilarious Back-To-School Tweets From Parents Who Have Been There), or anything in between.

Quick note: If you’re concerned about the SEO benefits of short vs long content, it’s worth knowing that many experts believe longer content does better on Google. However, if you and your existing readers prefer short posts, don’t force yourself to create long content. It will  only rank well if it’s really good (and gets backlinks).

So what sort of content will you create: short or long? It’s completely up to you. Have a look around and see what others are doing, experiment with different lengths yourself, or come and discuss short vs long in the ProBlogger Community.

Image Credit: Markus Spiske

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Everything You Need to Know About Inserting and Editing Images in WordPress

The post Everything You Need to Know About Inserting and Editing Images in WordPress appeared first on ProBlogger.

Do you feel confident using images in your blog posts?

While there’s no absolute rule that bloggers need to include images, most bloggers will include at least one eye-catching image in each post (normally at or very near the start).

However, it’s easy to make mistakes with images. We’ve already covered how to obtain images legally so you don’t accidentally infringe on someone’s copyright. But in today’s post, I want to go through the process of uploading and inserting images.

Whether you’ve just started blogging or you’ve been blogging for years, I hope you’ll learn something new from today’s post. We’re going to start off with the basics, and move on to some more advanced tips and tricks.

He are the ten things we’re going to cover:

  1. How to download an image from the web
  2. How to upload an image to your blog
  3. How to insert an image into your post
  4. How to align your image within your post
  5. How to resize your image
  6. How to turn your image into a link
  7. How to add alt text to your image
  8. How to edit your image in WordPress itself
  9. How to keep your image file sizes low
  10. How to optimise images for retina screens

#1: How to Download an Image from the Web

Brand new bloggers might feel a bit stuck at the first hurdle: downloading their chosen image.

Once you’ve found an image you can legally use, you’ll need to download it to your computer. (While it’s technically possible to insert it in your post using its existing URL on the web, this “hotlinking” is a bad idea. Many sites don’t like it, as it puts extra strain on their servers. And if the image file is removed from its current location, it’ll disappear from your post too.)

To download an image, right-click on it. You should see an option such as “Save image as…”. (It may be worded slightly differently depending on your browser.)

Download image

Click on “Save image as…”, and then select the folder on your computer where you want to save it.

On sites that act as a library of images (such as Pixabay and Flickr), you’ll normally be able to choose from different sizes for the image. Here’s how it looks on Pixabay.

Select image resolution

The numbers on the left are the dimensions of each image in pixels (width by height). The numbers on the right are the size of each image file in kB/MB. As you can see, larger images equal much larger files.

It’s up to you what size you choose. (We’ll cover this in more detail in sections #9 and #10 on this list.) Note that on Pixabay you need to create a (free) account to download the largest images.

#2: How to Upload an Image to Your Blog

After you’ve selected and downloaded an image, you need to upload it to your blog.

On WordPress, log in to your dashboard, open up your chosen post (or start a new one), and click the “Add Media” button.

Add Media button

Then click the “Upload Files” tab. You can either drag and drop your chosen file to upload it to your blog, or click the “Select Files” button to browse through your computer folders for it.

(Note that whichever you choose, the original file will remain on your computer. Only a copy of it is uploaded.)

If you want to, you can upload several images at once.

#3: How to Insert an Image

First, position your cursor where you want to put the image within your post. (Click at the start or end of a line of text, or click on a blank line.)

Your uploaded images be available in your media library. Click “Add Media” then the “Media Library” tab (if it’s not already selected for you) and you’ll see them.

Insert image

To insert an image, click on it and you’ll see this panel on the right-hand side of your screen.

Attachment details

You can set the alignment of the image, add a link, and choose the size you want it to be displayed. We’ll be covering all of these later on in this post. (You can edit your image to change any of these details after inserting it.)

Click “Insert into post” to place the image in your post where your cursor is.

#4: How to Align Your Image Within Your Post

If you inserted your image without changing the alignment setting, it may not appear exactly the way you wanted. Perhaps you intended to have it above your text, centred, or at the start of your post. But instead it’s right-aligned alongside the text.

Change alignment of image

(Dummy text generated by fillerama on “Doctor Who” mode.)

To re-align your image, click on it and then click the “align center” button on the mini-menu that pops up.

Align Center Button

(You can also click the little pencil button to edit the image, where you can select the alignment, size and more.)

Your image should now be aligned correctly in your post.

#5: How to Resize Your Image

If your image is too big, you can resize it by clicking on it and then clicking on the edit button in the mini-menu.

You’ll see details about the image. Click the dropdown menu next to “Size” and you’ll see a range of options.

Resize image

If one of the listed sizes works for you, select it. If not, click “Custom Size” and enter a width or height for your image in pixels. Whichever you choose, the other dimension will be adjusted automatically.

Click the “Update” button at the bottom of the screen, and you’ll be returned to your post with the image updated to your chosen size.

Note that this process doesn’t change the size of your original uploaded image, so the file size will remain the same. (We’ll cover more on this later in this post.)

#6: How to Turn Your Image into a Link

At some point you’ll almost certainly want to create an image that readers can click on to go to a different page.

For instance, you might want to create:

  • A “start here” page showing the featured image from several posts, with each image linking to the appropriate post
  • A page of book reviews, with the cover image for each book linking to the book on Amazon
  • A custom “buy” button for your products, with each one linking to a PayPal or shopping cart page

To add a link to your image, click on the image and then click the little “edit” button that appears to get the Image Details screen.

Click the “Link To” dropdown and select “Custom URL”. You can then enter whatever URL you want the image to link to.

Add link to image

Make sure you click the “Update” button to save your changes to the image.

An even quicker way to add a link to an image is to copy your link, then click on the image and paste the link (press Ctrl+V on a PC or Command+V on a Mac). This will automatically add the link to the image.

#7: How to Add Alt Text to Your Image

Alt (alternative) text is normally used for accessibility. It provides a short description of your image that can be read to people using screen-reading software. (It will also appear on the screen as text if the image fails to load.)

Note that this is different from a caption. If you enter a caption, it w’ll be displayed immediately beneath the image in your post.

You can add alt text to your image when you’re editing it. Simply fill in the Alternative Text field with whatever text you want.

Add alt text to image

#8: How to Edit Your Image in WordPress Itself

It’s normally best to edit images before you upload them using software such as Photoshop (or, if you want a free alternative, Gimp or Paint.NET).

But sometimes you might want to make adjustments to your original image within WordPress. You can do this by clicking the “Edit Original” button in the Image Details panel.

You’ll then see this screen.

Edit original image

You can then resize the image. (You can only scale down, not up.)

Note: it’s best to do this before making any other edits.

You can also rotate the image, or flip it from top to bottom or left to right, using the buttons immediately above it.

You can crop the image by clicking on it and dragging to select your chosen area. Here’s the original image flipped left to right, with an area selected so it can be cropped.

Crop image

To crop the image, you then need to click the “crop” button on the top left above the image.

Once you’re happy with your changes to your image, click “Save” beneath it, then “Update” on the next screen. You should now see your new image in the post itself.

If anything goes wrong, you can restore your original image using the “Restore Original Image” option.

Restore original image

#9: How to Keep Your Image File Sizes Low

The larger your image files, the longer they’ll take to load on your web page. And this can potentially affect on your site’s performance. If your site is really slow to load, readers may simply give up and go elsewhere.

There are several ways you can keep file sizes down, including:

  • Using .jpg images where possible. They’re compressed, so they aren’t as high quality as other file types. But for images in regular blog posts, they’ll probably look fine. Note that if you have transparent (or partially transparent) images, though, you can’t save them in .jpg format.
  • Resizing your image before uploading it to WordPress. If you’ve taken a photo on your camera and it’s 4000px wide, don’t upload it unedited to your blog. Yes, you can scale it down in your post (see #5), but the image will still take a long time to load. Instead, use image editing software to resize the photo before you upload it into your media library.
  • Using the WordPress plugin Smush to resize and optimise images you’ve already uploaded in the past. This could make your site significantly faster.
  • Using the TinyPNG service and/or Compress JPEG and PNG images plugin to reduce the size of your .png images. (If you have partially transparent images, they’re probably .png files. You should also use .png for any files with graphics in them.)

#10: How to Optimise Images for Retina Screens

The newest Apple products have Retina displays, which have a higher pixel-per-inch density than regular screens.

As SitePoint explains:

Retina has four times more pixels than standard screens. If you have a 400 x 300 image (120,000 pixels), you’d need to use an 800 x 600 alternative (480,000 pixels) to render it well on a high-density display.

This means that if you want a 500px by 330px image for your post, it would be best to upload it as a 1000px by 660px image. That way, it can be displayed crisply on the retina screen.

Your theme might automatically size and display the image correctly for each user (based on their device) if you simply insert it into the post at the larger size. If it doesn’t, you can use the WP Retina 2x plugin (which is explained in detail by Barn2 Media) to create and show the retina images as appropriate.

I know there’s been a lot to take in with this post. Don’t worry: you don’t have to master everything at once.

If you’re new to blogging, you might simply want to get confident with the basics of downloading and uploading images to your blog, then inserting them into your post at the appropriate point.

But if you’ve been blogging for quite a while, you’ve hopefully picked up a new tip or trick today as well. How will you put it into practice this week?

The post Everything You Need to Know About Inserting and Editing Images in WordPress appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

Seven Sure-Fire Ways to Annoy a Blog Editor (and What to Do Instead)

The post Seven Sure-Fire Ways to Annoy a Blog Editor (and What to Do Instead) appeared first on ProBlogger.

Ways to annoy a blog editor

This is a post by ProBlogger writing expert Ali Luke.

Are you (inadvertently) annoying bloggers you want to impress?

If you’re hoping to build a great relationship with a blog editor – maybe so you can land a guest post, or interview them on your blog – then this post is for you.

Because you might just be getting yourself on their blacklist without even realising.

For ten years, I’ve been the owner-editor of my blog Aliventures. I have an assistant for some admin tasks, but emails still come through me. And while my blog definitely isn’t the biggest out there, I still get a fair number of annoying emails.

Back in 2013–14 I spent some time editing Daily Blog Tips, where I fielded a lot of comments, enquiries, guest post requests, and so on.

With both Aliventures and Daily Blog Tips, I’ve had plenty of wonderful interactions with lovely readers. But a few readers obviously didn’t realise their comments or emails were guaranteed to irritate me.

Some of the mistakes I’m about to go through might seem fairly obvious; some might not. I’ve tried to explain why each one is so annoying to an editor.

If you’ve been making some of these mistakes, don’t worry. None of them are awful, just annoying. And all you need to do is avoid making them in future.

#1: Leaving a Comment With a Keyword as Your Name

Have you ever seen (or even left) a comment on a blog with the name field filled in as something like “SEO guru” or “India Travel Tips” or “Top Freelance Writer”? I can understand why people do this. Even though it won’t help you rank for that keyword (links in comments are no-follow), it might tempt a curious reader to click on your name and visit your site.

Using a keyword as your name is really irritating for the blog editor. It looks shady and spammy. And no-one wants any part of their blog, including their comment section, to look like that.

It’s also a technique often used by actual spammers. So for many blog editors, seeing a keyword in the “name” field of a comment is such a red flag that they’ll delete your comment altogether.

Instead: Use your actual name. (If you don’t want to use your full name, just use your first name). It’s not that hard. And don’t think you can get round this with something like “Ali Luke | Top Freelance Writer”. While a blog editor might let it stand, it doesn’t leave the best impression.

#2: Sending Vague, Unanswerable Questions by Email

While I welcome emails from readers, and an always happy to answer a question or two, sometimes their emails just leave me scratching my head.

They’ll be something like, “I want to write stories, please can you help?” or even “How do I become a writer?”

If I only received one email like this it wouldn’t bother me. But when I get similar emails regularly, I can’t help but feel a little exasperated. These questions could easily take me a whole book to answer. They’re not really something I can answer in a quick email.

I can’t imagine what response the emailer is hoping for. Maybe they think they might be able to strike up a mentoring relationship or similar. Or perhaps they think I have some special writing secret I only give out privately and won’t share on my blog.

While I’m not cross about these emails – I’m sure they’re well-meaning – I do find them a bit frustrating. I usually respond by sharing a link to one or more of my favourite writing websites, and giving my best wishes. But I’d really love it if these people would figure out one specific question I could help them with.

Instead: If you’re emailing a blogger for help and advice, ask something specific. (Check their blog first to make sure they haven’t covered it already).

If you’ve got a fairly broad question you want answered, you could frame it as “I’d love to see you blog about…” Most blog editors are happy to receive reader suggestions.

#3: Making Snide Remarks About Typos or Mistakes

With a degree in English Literature and a Masters in Creative Writing, I like to think my grasp of the English language is more than reasonable. But like everyone else I make the occasional typo or mistake. (And I don’t always proofread quite as well as I should.)

One of the most irritating things blog readers can do is to point out those errors in a nasty – and public – way. They may leave a comment saying, “Wow, I thought you were a professional writer, and you can’t even spell”. Or they’ll take issue with a particular word or phrase I’ve used that’s perfectly correct in British English (which is what I use for my own blog and many of my guest posts).

Instead: Do alert a blog’s editor to any typo or mistake you spot. Believe me, they’ll want to know. But do it in private (by email or direct message) and be nice about it. Something along the lines of: “I think a typo slipped through in your first paragraph (‘potatoe’ should be ‘potato’). Just thought you’d like to know.”

#4: Starting an Argument in the Comments

On large blogs, I’ve seen the attitude among some readers that the blog is a “public forum” and they should be entitled to have their say – even if they’re being nasty to other readers.

This is really frustrating for a blog editor. They’ll have to spend time checking the comments, and potentially deleting ones that fall foul of the blog’s commenting policy. (Even if the blog doesn’t have a commenting policy, editors will still quite rightly delete comments that are hostile and rude.)

Remember: even if the blog you’re reading is large, it’s still someone’s website. It isn’t a public forum or social network. (Even sites such as Facebook and Twitter can delete your posts if you write something truly outrageous.)

Instead: If you disagree with someone, there’s nothing wrong with saying so. But be civil, and if you wouldn’t say it in the blogger’s living room then don’t say it on their blog. If someone else attacks you, either respond calmly or not at all. (Sometimes, it’s best just to walk away.)

#5: Ripping Off Their Content

If you want to really wind up a blog editor, here’s a great way to do it: steal one of their posts and publish it on your own site.

While some spammers do this fully knowing it’s wrong, I’ve also come across occasional readers who are new to the blogging world and simply don’t realise they can’t republish other people’s work on their own blog.

So, just in case you’re wondering, here’s what is (and isn’t) okay:

  • You can quote other bloggers. (Make sure you clearly identify the words you’re quoting, and that you name the blogger and link to the source of the quote where possible).
  • You can link to other bloggers’ posts to recommend them to your readers. You can republish a short excerpt from the post (but again, make sure it’s identified as a quote).
  • You can’t publish someone else’s entire post unless they’ve given you explicit permission to do so.
  • You can’t publish images from their post without explicit permission to do so.
  • You can’t take someone else’s post and rewrite it sentence-by-sentence to make it your own. If you’re using their structure and their thoughts, the fact you’ve switched lots of words for different ones or reworked some sentences doesn’t matter. You’re still committing plagiarism.

Instead: Normally, the best thing to do is to simply write your own original blog posts. That way there’s no danger of ripping off someone else’s work. But if you particularly love a post someone else wrote, you could write something inspired by it. (Make sure you link to and acknowledge the original.)

If you really want to republish someone’s post, email newsletter, etc. on your blog, then email them and ask for permission.

#6: Emailing Badly Written, Off-Topic Guest Post Suggestions

In my email inbox, I have a specific label for ‘bad guest post pitches’. Here are a few lines taken verbatim from various emails under that label. Note that these were all guest post pitches for my blog Aliventures, which is about the “art, craft and business of writing”.

“I can provide you 100% Copyscape protected the interesting and informative article that will be helpful to your readers. […] I have also articles published in some of the major websites.”

“I write excellent content with good information that will be appealing to your audience along with attractive images and infographics. I write on varied topics like health, marketing, gifts, travel, etc.”

“I`ve got some useful and unique content about Business Correspondence Skills, that would naturally attract the attention of the authors and the audience alike.”

I’m not sure what people hope to achieve with guest post pitches like this. I suspect they send out so many that eventually someone agrees to take a post from them.

As a blog editor, I’m not going to accept a post that’s off-topic for my blog. (It’s annoying that people email me without even checking what I cover.) And if the pitch itself is badly written and full of spelling mistakes, I won’t want even an on-topic guest post from that writer.

A milder (but still annoying) form of this is when people email me saying something like, “Can I send you a guest post to look at?” I need more than that to go on.

If you’re pitching a guest post, send an actual pitch. And don’t think sending a email like this to get a “Yes, send it on over” response will get you a foot in the door. It just makes you look a bit clueless).

Instead: Write a great guest post pitch. Tell the blogger the topic or title you propose to write about, and make sure it’s firmly on-topic for their blog. Don’t feel you’re “not good enough” or that your blog “isn’t big enough” for you to pitch a guest post yet. Trust me, your pitch will be far better than most of the ones coming the editor’s way.

#7: Asking for a Link to Your Post

This might seem a little controversial. But as a blog owner/editor, I find it annoying to receive link requests.

Yes, I know getting links to your blog is really important and a big part of offsite SEO. But I get so many link request emails that they always come across as an irritation, not a great opportunity.

The requests I receive often seem like they’re generic template emails, too. They either tell me they’ve linked to me and they’d appreciate a link back (reciprocal link exchanges isn’t a good idea in SEO terms), or that they noticed I linked to someone similar to them in a particular post and want me to link to them too.

(I assume they’re using a tool to find backlinks to their competitors so they can target bloggers to request links to their posts as well.)

However brilliant your post is, the truth is most blogger editors won’t have much time to invest in checking it out. Plus, if I wrote a post six months ago I’m not interested in going back and updating it to add more links.

Instead: By all means seek out links to your blog. But don’t email loads of big-name bloggers in the hopes of getting somewhere. Instead, build up relationships with blogging peers who write about your topic. (This is a great idea for lots of reasons, not just to get links.) Then once it’s appropriate, let people know you’d be happy to link to them any time they have a post they’re particularly trying to promote. Hopefully they’ll return the favour. But don’t be upset if they don’t.

 

Most of these mistakes are easy ones to make. You might think they’re all little things, and that editors shouldn’t get annoyed by them. But imagine receiving the 20th irrelevant, badly spelt guest post pitch in a week, and you’ll see why editors might not have much patience left.

Have you been inadvertently making any of these mistakes? What will you do differently next time around?

Image Credit: Ben White

The post Seven Sure-Fire Ways to Annoy a Blog Editor (and What to Do Instead) appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

How to Find Images for Your Blog That Won’t Get You Sued

The post How to Find Images for Your Blog That Won’t Get You Sued appeared first on ProBlogger.

At some point (probably soon after you launch your blog) you’ll want to start using images.

You probably already have some of your own images you can use: a photo of yourself for your About page, or a photo of your workspace, home, garden, or whatever’s relevant for your blog.

But when it comes to your regular blog posts, your first instinct might be to head to Google and search for whatever you need: “happy people”, “woman writing”, “fresh salad”, etc.

But looking for images through Google can be a huge and very expensive mistake.

Images, just like blog posts, are automatically copyrighted to the person who created them. You wouldn’t want someone to take your blog post and use it on their site, would you? Well,  photographers and artists feel the same way about their work.

While it’s unlikely you’d get sued for inadvertently using someone else’s art without permission, you could upset someone and look unprofessional.

But bloggers have been threatened with legal action (and pressured into paying huge fines) for using copyrighted images.

In The $7,500 Blogging Mistake That Every Blogger Needs to Avoid!, Chrystie from Living for Naptime details her experience with being asked for $7,500 in ‘damages’ by a scammy photographer for using a single green bell pepper photograph.

Big companies can also pursue bloggers for minor, unintentional infractions. Getty Images has gathered a bit of a reputation for this. And a lot of blog posts out there explain how to respond to Getty Images if they contact you demanding money. (Settlement Demand Letter from Getty Images and Tips for Responding to a Getty Images Extortion Letter are good places to start if you’ve run up against Getty Images yourself.)

You might think that if you’ve seen an image being used on someone else’s blog then you’re safe. But that’s not necessarily the case. They might be using it illegally without realising.

The good news is there are plenty of ways to safely use other people’s images on your blog that are completely legal.

Copyright and Creative Commons (Briefly) Explained

Before we take a look at specific image sources, I want to briefly talk you through a couple of important terms: ‘copyright’ and ‘creative commons’. Note that I am not a lawyer, and this is a quick rather than exhaustive explanation.

‘Copyright’ indicates that a person holds the rights to control where an image, blog post, etc. is published. They can give you permission to use their photo (e.g. if you email them to ask), but you can’t (legally) use it without their permission.

‘Creative Commons’ is a special type of licensing system for images, blog posts and other creative works. If an image is licensed under Creative Commons, you may be able to use it safely on your blog. However, there are several different types of Creative Commons licenses, so make sure you follow the terms of the specific license for your chosen image.

For instance, an image might be licensed under Creative Commons for “non-commercial use”. This means you shouldn’t use it on a blog that runs ads, sells products, or otherwise brings in money. And you definitely shouldn’t use it as, say, the cover image for an ebook.

Images can also be licensed under Creative Commons to require attribution. This means you must name and link to the photographer or artist from your blog post. If you prefer not to do this, you’ll need to source images that don’t require attribution.

Note: licensing an image under Creative Commons doesn’t mean the photographer/artist has given up their copyright. For instance, you can’t take their image and claim that you made it yourself.

You can find out all about Creative Commons on the Creative Commons website.

This might all sound very daunting, and I hope I haven’t put you off ever using images on your blog again The good news is there are plenty of ways to find images that you can safely use. And I’m going to share some of the best ones with you now.

Option #1: Use Stock Photographs You Pay For

There are plenty of stock photo sites out there that sell images, normally for a fairly small fee. If you want high-quality images for your site this is a good option, although it may be unrealistic to pay for an image every time you write a blog post.

Stock photos can be a good option for products/services you offer. Even if you don’t want to use them regularly, you might want to dip into stock libraries occasionally. Just check the terms and conditions carefully to make sure you’re allowed to use them in this way.

Some large, reputable stock photo sites include:

As well as letting you buy individual images, most stock photo sites let you buy a subscription plan. If you want a lot of stock photos (e.g. you want to use one in every post you write), this may be better value.

Stock images are normally available in a variety of sizes, with the smallest size being the cheapest. If you want a 500px wide image for a blog post, the smallest size will often be all you need.

Option #2: Use Free Images that are Creative Commons Licensed for Commercial Use

While you could use non-commercial licensed Creative Commons images if you’re blogging as a hobby, it’s safest to use only images that have been licensed for commercial use. This way, if you monetise your blog in the future you won’t have to worry about whether it’s still okay to use all of your images.

Free images vary in quality, and you may find your search doesn’t bring up many options. And some of the better free images may have already appeared on a lot of other blogs in your niche. So you might need to dig around a bit to find ones you’re happy to use for your posts.

But since you’re not paying anything, you can always switch an image for a new one if you find something better in the future.

We’ve covered lots of great places to find free images for your blog here on ProBlogger before, so I’ll share just three good options here:

Pexels – All images on the site are licensed for commercial use and don’t need attribution.

Flickr – Some images are copyrighted, while others are licensed under various Creative Commons licenses. You can use the Advanced search to find commercial-use images.

Unsplash – As with Pexels, all images are licensed for commercial use and don’t need attribution.

Option #3: Creating Your Own Images

Finally, you could create your own images for your blog. That might mean taking photos, sketching cartoons, creating digital art, or whatever you enjoy.

Using your own images can make your blog feel especially real and authentic to readers. In some types of blogging – e.g. if you’re a craft blogger – it’s expected that you’ll use your own images of your projects.

Taking Photos for Your Blog

You don’t need to be super professional, but try to make it the best you can. If you have a DSLR camera, learn how to use it properly. Who knows? You might discover an entirely new  hobby to blogging!

ProBlogger’s sister site, Digital Photography School, has plenty of resources to help you. A good place to begin is on the Start Here page.

Using Screenshots on Your Blog

Another type of image you can create is a screenshot. These can be very helpful when giving a tutorial about how to do something online. If you’re using screenshots of web pages that are publicly available, the copyright holder (i.e. the website owner) probably wouldn’t object. But it never hurts to check with them.

If you want to use screenshots in a paid-for product (such as an ebook) or something people have to sign up for (such as a free email course), always check with the copyright holder first.

I know there’s a lot to take in here, especially if you’ve been using Google to find images in the past.

If you’re worried the images you’ve already used might be infringing someone’s copyright, it would be worth going through your posts and searching for each one in Google Images. (Click the camera icon next to the search bar to upload the image.)

Once you’ve found the image, track down the original source (e.g. a stock photography site or the photographer’s own website) and check whether the image is licensed under Creative Commons. If it isn’t, or you can’t be sure of the original source, take it down immediately and replace it with an image you can legally use.

How do you source great images for your blog? Or do you prefer to create your own? Share your tips with us in the comments.

The post How to Find Images for Your Blog That Won’t Get You Sued appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

How to Find Images for Your Blog That Won’t Get You Sued

The post How to Find Images for Your Blog That Won’t Get You Sued appeared first on ProBlogger.

At some point (probably soon after you launch your blog) you’ll want to start using images.

You probably already have some of your own images you can use: a photo of yourself for your About page, or a photo of your workspace, home, garden, or whatever’s relevant for your blog.

But when it comes to your regular blog posts, your first instinct might be to head to Google and search for whatever you need: “happy people”, “woman writing”, “fresh salad”, etc.

But looking for images through Google can be a huge and very expensive mistake.

Images, just like blog posts, are automatically copyrighted to the person who created them. You wouldn’t want someone to take your blog post and use it on their site, would you? Well,  photographers and artists feel the same way about their work.

While it’s unlikely you’d get sued for inadvertently using someone else’s art without permission, you could upset someone and look unprofessional.

But bloggers have been threatened with legal action (and pressured into paying huge fines) for using copyrighted images.

In The $7,500 Blogging Mistake That Every Blogger Needs to Avoid!, Chrystie from Living for Naptime details her experience with being asked for $7,500 in ‘damages’ by a scammy photographer for using a single green bell pepper photograph.

Big companies can also pursue bloggers for minor, unintentional infractions. Getty Images has gathered a bit of a reputation for this. And a lot of blog posts out there explain how to respond to Getty Images if they contact you demanding money. (Settlement Demand Letter from Getty Images and Tips for Responding to a Getty Images Extortion Letter are good places to start if you’ve run up against Getty Images yourself.)

You might think that if you’ve seen an image being used on someone else’s blog then you’re safe. But that’s not necessarily the case. They might be using it illegally without realising.

The good news is there are plenty of ways to safely use other people’s images on your blog that are completely legal.

Copyright and Creative Commons (Briefly) Explained

Before we take a look at specific image sources, I want to briefly talk you through a couple of important terms: ‘copyright’ and ‘creative commons’. Note that I am not a lawyer, and this is a quick rather than exhaustive explanation.

‘Copyright’ indicates that a person holds the rights to control where an image, blog post, etc. is published. They can give you permission to use their photo (e.g. if you email them to ask), but you can’t (legally) use it without their permission.

‘Creative Commons’ is a special type of licensing system for images, blog posts and other creative works. If an image is licensed under Creative Commons, you may be able to use it safely on your blog. However, there are several different types of Creative Commons licenses, so make sure you follow the terms of the specific license for your chosen image.

For instance, an image might be licensed under Creative Commons for “non-commercial use”. This means you shouldn’t use it on a blog that runs ads, sells products, or otherwise brings in money. And you definitely shouldn’t use it as, say, the cover image for an ebook.

Images can also be licensed under Creative Commons to require attribution. This means you must name and link to the photographer or artist from your blog post. If you prefer not to do this, you’ll need to source images that don’t require attribution.

Note: licensing an image under Creative Commons doesn’t mean the photographer/artist has given up their copyright. For instance, you can’t take their image and claim that you made it yourself.

You can find out all about Creative Commons on the Creative Commons website.

This might all sound very daunting, and I hope I haven’t put you off ever using images on your blog again The good news is there are plenty of ways to find images that you can safely use. And I’m going to share some of the best ones with you now.

Option #1: Use Stock Photographs You Pay For

There are plenty of stock photo sites out there that sell images, normally for a fairly small fee. If you want high-quality images for your site this is a good option, although it may be unrealistic to pay for an image every time you write a blog post.

Stock photos can be a good option for products/services you offer. Even if you don’t want to use them regularly, you might want to dip into stock libraries occasionally. Just check the terms and conditions carefully to make sure you’re allowed to use them in this way.

Some large, reputable stock photo sites include:

As well as letting you buy individual images, most stock photo sites let you buy a subscription plan. If you want a lot of stock photos (e.g. you want to use one in every post you write), this may be better value.

Stock images are normally available in a variety of sizes, with the smallest size being the cheapest. If you want a 500px wide image for a blog post, the smallest size will often be all you need.

Option #2: Use Free Images that are Creative Commons Licensed for Commercial Use

While you could use non-commercial licensed Creative Commons images if you’re blogging as a hobby, it’s safest to use only images that have been licensed for commercial use. This way, if you monetise your blog in the future you won’t have to worry about whether it’s still okay to use all of your images.

Free images vary in quality, and you may find your search doesn’t bring up many options. And some of the better free images may have already appeared on a lot of other blogs in your niche. So you might need to dig around a bit to find ones you’re happy to use for your posts.

But since you’re not paying anything, you can always switch an image for a new one if you find something better in the future.

We’ve covered lots of great places to find free images for your blog here on ProBlogger before, so I’ll share just three good options here:

Pexels – All images on the site are licensed for commercial use and don’t need attribution.

Flickr – Some images are copyrighted, while others are licensed under various Creative Commons licenses. You can use the Advanced search to find commercial-use images.

Unsplash – As with Pexels, all images are licensed for commercial use and don’t need attribution.

Option #3: Creating Your Own Images

Finally, you could create your own images for your blog. That might mean taking photos, sketching cartoons, creating digital art, or whatever you enjoy.

Using your own images can make your blog feel especially real and authentic to readers. In some types of blogging – e.g. if you’re a craft blogger – it’s expected that you’ll use your own images of your projects.

Taking Photos for Your Blog

You don’t need to be super professional, but try to make it the best you can. If you have a DSLR camera, learn how to use it properly. Who knows? You might discover an entirely new  hobby to blogging!

ProBlogger’s sister site, Digital Photography School, has plenty of resources to help you. A good place to begin is on the Start Here page.

Using Screenshots on Your Blog

Another type of image you can create is a screenshot. These can be very helpful when giving a tutorial about how to do something online. If you’re using screenshots of web pages that are publicly available, the copyright holder (i.e. the website owner) probably wouldn’t object. But it never hurts to check with them.

If you want to use screenshots in a paid-for product (such as an ebook) or something people have to sign up for (such as a free email course), always check with the copyright holder first.

I know there’s a lot to take in here, especially if you’ve been using Google to find images in the past.

If you’re worried the images you’ve already used might be infringing someone’s copyright, it would be worth going through your posts and searching for each one in Google Images. (Click the camera icon next to the search bar to upload the image.)

Once you’ve found the image, track down the original source (e.g. a stock photography site or the photographer’s own website) and check whether the image is licensed under Creative Commons. If it isn’t, or you can’t be sure of the original source, take it down immediately and replace it with an image you can legally use.

How do you source great images for your blog? Or do you prefer to create your own? Share your tips with us in the comments.

The post How to Find Images for Your Blog That Won’t Get You Sued appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

Seven Easy Ways to Write Better Titles for Your Blog Posts

7 easy ways to write better titles for your blog postsToday’s post is by ProBlogger Writing Expert Ali Luke

The most important words in your post are the 6–10 words in the title (also known as the headline).

These words determine whether or not the rest of your post ever gets read. They can guarantee failure, or give your post a great shot at success.

And yet many bloggers treat their title as an afterthought. They either run with the working title they thought up when planning their post, or come up with something half-hearted just so they can publish.

So you can see how much titles matter, let me offer you three different posts. I’ll call them:

  1. More Reader Engagement
  2. How to Get More Comments
  3. Five Ways to Encourage Readers to Comment More Often on Your Posts

Which would you prefer to read?

I’m guessing it’s #3. (Which is, in fact, one of my posts on ProBlogger.) But each title could refer to the same post.

The good news is it’s not hard to get better at writing titles. There are a few straightforward techniques you can use instantly (or with just a little bit of work) to dramatically improve your titles.

Here are my seven favourites:

#1: Be Specific, Not General

A post titled ‘More Reader Engagement’ could mean almost anything. Is it about comments, social media, readers taking action, or what? It’s a general title that could apply to all sorts of posts.

But a post titled ‘Five Ways to Encourage Readers to Comment More Often on Your Posts’ is clear and specific. If you see that title on Twitter or in your email inbox, you’ll know exactly what you’ll get from that post.

Some bloggers think a vague title will intrigue readers, who’ll then click it to find out what the post is about. The truth is, readers have so many other calls on their time and attention that unless you’re a personal friend they’re probably won’t care enough to click.

#2: Use Numbers Where Appropriate

If you look at any magazine cover, you’ll see that numbers are used prominently.

Numbers are a great form of specificity. A post that promises ‘five ways’ is very different from a post that promises ‘100 ways’.

Here are a few example of how different types of titles could be adapted to include numbers:

How to Set Up WordPress
How to Set Up WordPress in Five Simple Steps

My Top Lessons Learned from My First Year of Blogging
My Ten Top Lessons Learned from My First Year of Blogging

How I Dramatically Increased the Size of My Newsletter List
How I Increased the Size of My Newsletter List by a Whopping 351%

Should You Have Comments On Your Blog?
Should You Have Comments On Your Blog? Four Experts Speak Out

It won’t always make sense to use a number in the title of your post, but quite often it will. Of course, it often makes good sense to use numbers in your post, too. (For more on that, check out How to Use Numbers Effectively in Your Blog Posts.)

#3: Use Powerful Adverbs, Adjectives and Phrases

Although I’m not a fan of hype (which I’ll come to in a moment), you do need to sell your blog post a bit in a title. This means using powerful words that grab readers’ attention.

Here are a few examples of titles from ProBlogger, with the powerful adverbs, adjectives and/or phrases highlighted:

Try reading each of those without the highlighted words. They still sound like interesting posts, but aren’t quite so compelling.

Some good words to consider using are:

Words that promise something readers can do easily:

  • Easy
  • Quick
  • Simple
  • Straightforward

Words that promise something readers (probably) won’t already know about:

  • Secret
  • Little-known
  • X won’t tell you (e.g. “ten secrets top bloggers won’t tell you”)

Words that position the reader alongside experts and people they look up to:

  • Like a pro
  • Expert
  • Professional (e.g. “the tools professional editors use”)

Words that promise a comprehensive resource:

  • Epic
  • Ultimate
  • Only (e.g. “the only guide to WordPress you’ll ever need”)

Words that warn readers of danger to avoid:

  • Mistakes
  • Red Flags
  • Warning

But make sure the words are justified. Don’t say your suggestions are “easy” if they require substantial background knowledge or take a lot of time. Don’t call your 500-word blog post an ‘ultimate’ guide. Which leads me to…

#4: Don’t Over-Hype

Your title is a promise. It sets readers’ expectations for your post. Unfortunately, some blog posts have a great title, but the post itself doesn’t deliver on its promise.

Yes, you might get readers. But they definitely won’t be sticking around to read anything else you’ve written. You might even get comments, but they won’t be complimentary!

I don’t want to worry you, or make you feel anxious about titling your posts. Most bloggers are likely to under- rather than over-hype.

But if you’re using a particularly powerful promise in the title (such as ‘The only WordPress Guide You’ll Ever Need’), ask an honest friend or fellow blogger to take a quick look and tell you if the post really lives up to the title.

#5: Don’t Make Your Title Too Long

There’s no absolute rule on how long your title should be. But try not to make it any longer than it needs to be.

‘Seven Easy Ways to Write Better Titles for Your Blog Posts’ is 60 characters long, meaning it will display in full in search engine results and can fit into a short tweet or social media post.

It’s also short enough for a reader to take in quickly.

But it I called this post ‘Let Me Share My Top Seven Easy Ways to Write Much Better Titles for Every Single Blog Post You Ever Create’, it would lose a lot of its impact. It’s too long (106 characters) to display in full in search engine results. And it’s much too wordy: readers might glaze over partway through.

And if I’m this wordy in the title itself, they might think the post is going to be similarly bogged down.

As a very rough guide, I suggest aiming at around 5–10 words or 50–80 characters for your blog post titles. CoSchedule has some great information on optimal title (headline) length here: What Really Is the Best Headline Length?

#6: Use Square Brackets to Add Extra Information

One nifty trick to keep a title short but still give readers an idea of what they’ll be getting is to use square brackets.

You simply add them to the end of your title, like this:

  • How to Set Up WordPress in Just 20 Minutes [Video]
  • Five Powerful Ways to Start Your Blog Post [With Examples]
  • Your Ultimate Guide to Editing Images for Your Blog [Roundup]

There’s no rule about what you can or can’t put in square brackets, though the ones I most often see used are ‘[video] and ‘[with examples]’. It’s a way to concisely promise an extra benefit and/or of give readers more details about what to expect from your post.

#7: Swipe Other People’s Titles (Then Twist Them)

Finally, one of my very favourite titling tricks (especially if I’m stuck) is to swipe someone else’s title.

Is this legal? Yes, there’s no copyright on titles.

Is it ethical? Yes. I’d avoid doing it if they used a very unusual title format. In most cases, the formula they used for their title is very similar to plenty of other titles out there already. And I’m going to be ‘twisting’ the title anyway.

Here’s a worked example of how you could choose a title and come up with your own spin on it:

Original title: Deadlines – Are they Good or Bad for Your Blogging?

This could become:

Blogging blog: Comments – Are They Good or Bad for Your Blog?

Academic blog: Deadlines – Are They Good or Bad for Your Students?

Small business blog: Email Sign-Up Incentives – Are They Good or Bad for Your List?

Each of these follows the same underlying format as the original (a key word or phrase followed by a dash, then ‘Are They Good or Bad for…’). But each is unique.

Here’s another example:

Original title: 3 Principles of Building an Engaged Blog Audience

This could become:

Parenting blog: 3 Principles of Raising Kind Children

Organisation blog: 5 Key Principles of Organising Your Kitchen

Leadership blog: 7 Principles of Running Engaging Meetings

Go back into your archives and take a look at the titles of three posts from earlier this year. (I suggest you look at these rather than more recent posts so you have some distance from them.)

Would you read those posts if you had only the titles to go on?

Can you spend a few minutes tweaking the titles to make them more compelling? For example, could you add a number or a powerful adjective? (Be careful you don’t change the post URL though, or links to your post will break.)

If you’ve got questions, or you’d like to share your ‘before and after’ versions of your titles, just pop a comment below.

The post Seven Easy Ways to Write Better Titles for Your Blog Posts appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

250: 9 Types of Killer Filler Content that are Easy to Create

How to Create Killer Filler Content for Your Blog

This week I’m sharing a list of content filler types you can use for your blog. And they don’t take a lot of effort or time to create.

If you’re struggling to create thoughtful, original long-form content, these will help fill some of the gaps.

Here’s how to create killer filler content and add value to both your blog and your readers.

  1. Reader Discussions: Ask a question to generate a debate/community workshop
  2. Polls: Increase reader engagement and start a good discussion with a question
  3. Homework/Challenges: Specify a topic, and give readers an assignment
  4. Link Posts: Link to another blog/article (or include a list of links) to build relationships and find out what others are thinking
  5. Best Of/Archive Posts: Post useful posts new readers have never seen
  6. Guest Posts/Regular Contributors: Include posts written by others, or find a regular writer to do a semi-regular post
  7. Embeddable Content: Use photos, cartoons, or go to YouTube; search keywords related to your blog topic, and find a high-value video that helps your readers
  8. Interviews: Find interesting experts, and ask them questions to help your readers
  9. Answer Question: Address questions from readers and beginners (but make the answers short and sweet)

These posts are a little less labor intensive to create, but still serve a purpose for your readers.

The key is to experiment. Which get positive reactions? Evolve them into something you can add on a regular basis to your blog.

But remember, don’t publish ‘filler content’ just for the sake of posting.

Quote of the Week: “If you treat every situation as a life-and-death matter, you’ll die a lot of times.” – Dean Smith

Links and Resources for 9 Types of Killer Filler Content that are Easy to Create:

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Hello. It’s Darren from ProBlogger here. Welcome to episode 250. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, and courses all designed to help you as a blogger to grow your blog, to build that audience, to create great content, and to build profit around your blog. You can learn more about what we do at problogger.com.

In today’s episode, I want to suggest to you a list of types of content that you can use on your blog and potentially in other mediums as well that don’t take a massive amount of time to create. This episode does build upon what I talked about in the last episode– episode 249–where I was talking about deadlines, schedules, and editorial calendars.

In that episode, we heard a question from a blogger who was finding it difficult to keep up with the schedule. That actually found having a deadline each week, having that schedule was limiting and they decided to slow down and only post when they had something to say, which I agreed with on some levels, but I did mention that there was a danger associated with that.

One of the dangers is that you can slow down so much that you don’t publish anything at all. I suggested last episode that there might be some ways of creating content that don’t take a lot of effort, that still serve your readers, and keep the publishing of content ticking over.

I jokingly call this kind of content, filler content. But it’s not really filler content because filler content does have this light and fluffy feeling to it. We want the content to be killer filler content. We want it to be relatively easy to create, but also adding value to your readers and to your blog.

Today, I want to suggest nine types of killer filler content for your blog. Before I do, this is episode 250, which feels a little momentous. It’s a bit of a milestone, so I do want to pause for a moment and given the fact that I really didn’t know if this podcast was going to have more than 31 episodes, it’s a bit of a milestone. I’m kind of proud to get to this point, but I also really am very aware that it only has happened because of you. I did want to stop and thank you today as a listener.

I just checked our stats. We’re approaching four million downloads. Probably, we will hit that in the next couple of months and that blows my mind. It’s been three years of creating content. The fact that almost four million people have tuned in at some point or another is fantastic.

I’m really aware that a number like that sounds a lot, but what really strikes me is that, that represents a lot of people like you taking time out of their day every week to spend a little bit of time with me.

I hear from a lot of you that you enjoy our weekly chats and that sometimes you hear things on this podcast that help you to grow your blog. That’s really exciting for me, so I just wanted to pause, take a moment today, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to hang out with you each week, and to contribute to your week and your blogging in some small way.

I love these times, even though I don’t get to hear your voices, but I look forward to the chats that we have and I look forward to hearing the stories that come out of this as well. So, thank you.

You can find today’s show notes, which will have a transcript of today’s show at problogger.com/podcast/250.

Today’s topic—let’s get to that now—is how to create these killer filler content for your blog. I do want to really emphasize today that you probably should never really be publishing filler content. You don’t want to just post for the sake of posting.

Every time you publishing something you have an opportunity to add value to your readers to build your brand in some way. I do want you to keep in the front of your mind that as I go through this list of types of filler content, that they can each be used in good ways, but also in bad ways. They can actually all be used in ways that can add value into the lives of your readers and build your brand, but they can also be used in bad ways.

If you just get into a routine of publishing filler content that doesn’t add value, really what you’re doing is destroying your brand, frustrating your readers, and not really helping you to build anything, so keep that in the front of your mind.

I should also say that I think this type of content that I’m going to share today, you could fill your whole blog up with this, but really, I want to share these ideas to go in between your other content–the deeper, more thoughtful, the original ideas that you have, I think the more of that kind of deeper, longer-form perhaps content, original thought that you can bring to your blog, the better. Really, what I’m describing today are things that can go around that and can add value to that in some ways as well.

Let me go through these nine different types of content and then I’ll wrap it up at the end. Number one is something that we’ve been doing on digital photography school and ProBlogger, really since the beginning of both of those sites on a semi-regular basis. We don’t do this every week, we don’t even do it every month. But every month or two, we would do these types of post and it is the reader discussion.

There’s a number of ways you could do this. One way is to issue your readers with a question that they can go away and discuss. The question on ProBlogger might be, “Tell us about the most successful way that you’ve driven traffic to your blog. It’s a nominated topic, it’s a nominated question, it opens a discussion, and that maybe all the content that you have. You may write just a paragraph asking the question and then throw it open to your audience.

Another way you can do it is set up a debate. You might say, “Here’s two approaches–which one do you agree with?” In digital photography school, we have from time-to-time done debates like, “Zoom lenses versus prime lenses? Prime lenses are lenses that don’t zoom. Which one do you prefer?” We just open that up as a discussion and we know that there are fans of zoom lenses, there are fans of prime lenses, there are fans of people who like to do both, a discussion will open up as a result of that. This is where you open up a debate or you give two alternatives.

Another thing that you can do is to ask people to share their stories. You might ask them to share examples of something that you’ve written about previously. You may have written a post, your longer, more thoughtful post earlier in the week. You might publish one on Monday and it might be on that topic of zoom versus prime lenses. You talk about the pros and cons and then on Wednesday you might do a follow-up post that opens up the discussion. You link from one to the others. This, we find, works quite well on digital photography school where we have a tutorial and then we have a discussion.

Whilst we could do those two things into one post and sometimes that works, what we find is that we get more comments if we do a separate post later in the week that links to the first, because people have had time to digest that tutorial that we have already published and then I can have a discussion about it later. It also give us a second chance to promote the original content that we published earlier in the week.

Discussion posts can be really good. The other bonus about having a discussion post is that you get inspired, you get questions, you get ideas from the discussion that you could then write about later. I quite often find our discussion posts stimulate an idea for me for a follow-up post, which again gives you an opportunity to link back to that discussion, creates more page views on your blog, and it highlights the fact that you got discussion on your blog. Discussions can be great for that. The only thing that you really want to pay attention to is making sure that discussion is relevant to your overall topic of your blog.

Number one, discussions. Number two is similar in some ways and that is where you could run a poll. It’s so easy to run a poll on your blog. There are plenty of tools around. There’s lots of WordPress plugins if you’re a WordPress user. There are other poll tools around that allow you to embed polls onto your blog. This again gives you the opportunity to ask your readers a question, and then you can see the results of that. They don’t even have to leave a comment to respond to that.

This is something that we used to do every week on digital photography school. We certainly slowed down on the amount of polls that we do these days, but one of the bonuses of doing polls is that they actually give you a result as well. You can do a follow-up post about the result of the poll. Typically what we do is ask a question of our readers of this or that type question or give them three or four alternatives, and then, a week or two later we would look at the results of that and we would write a post sharing the results. Drawing people’s attention back to that poll, we create a chart, show them the results, talk about why maybe the results happened and maybe give them some further reading as well.

This idea of taking the results of the poll or taking the discussion that’s already had and creating new content about that is how this content creates even more content for you and I love that. A reader discussion, for example. You could take some quotes from your readers and then put them into a new blog post later on, again adding some of your own thoughts which your readers will love because you’re featuring their ideas in your main content.

Number one was reader discussions. Number two was polls. Number three is something that we still do every week on digital photography school and we do it from time-to-time on ProBlogger, and that is to give your readers a little bit of homework or a challenge to do.

This is one of the most popular posts that we do on digital photography school every week. My editor will name a theme or a topic and then our readers go away and take a photo on that theme before coming back and sharing the image that they take in the comments of our blog.

This, we call it our weekly challenge, it’s a little assignment. Some of our readers, actually the whole week revolves around this challenge. We typically will write a tutorial on the topic of the challenge. We might write a tutorial on shooting with long shutter speeds and then we might have a discussion later in the week on that topic, then later in the week again we give our readers a challenge to take a photo with a long shutter speed.

The beauty of this—I’ve talked about this in the past—is that we’re giving our readers information in the tutorial, and then we are giving them an opportunity to discuss, to have some interaction with that topic, and then we give them an invitation to actually implement what they’re learning, get them out and applying the information that they’ve learned.

This information, the interaction, and getting them to do something with it not only gives us three pieces content in a week instead of one. It actually challenges our readers to do what we’re teaching them.

So, if you have a how-to blog, this is a great little model that you could very easily implement into your blog, that takes you posting from once a week to three times a week very, very easily. Homework challenge is the third type.

The fourth type is something that we used to do all the time on blogs back in the day. The link post was so popular. A few years back, this was what everyone did on their blogs, almost every post. I actually looked back on my very first blog recently. I looked up on the Wayback Machine and I was amazed that always every post I wrote out of the first few months was me linking to something else and then making comment about that. I would link to a blog post that I’d read and then I would add my thoughts. I would talk about what I agreed with, what I disagreed with, and tell my readers why they should read that link, that was almost every post I did.

It’s the kind of thing that we do today on social media, but why not go back to that and do that on your blog from time to time? It’s relatively easy to create that type of content. There’s a number of ways that a link post you might put it together. One, as I just described, you linking to another blog or an article and then adding a few of your own thoughts to it. I think it is important that you add something original to it, that you give your readers a little bit of context as to why you are linking to that post.

The other way that you can do is to create a series of links. It’s almost like a compilation of things to read for your readers. We used to do this even a year or two ago on ProBlogger once a week. Our editor at the time, Stacy, would put together I think about six or seven links from around the web that she’d found interesting that have been published over the last week. We might link to Social Media Examiner, to Moz, and other blogs like Copyblogger who had published new things over the last that we found interesting.

Stacy would pull together those links into a list and then she would write a short paragraph, a few sentences about each one. It took a little bit of work to do, but it wasn’t her having to come up with lots of ideas and it was a much easier piece of content to create each week.

The other way you could do it is instead of publishing a list of new content that you’d found over the last week, you could choose seven links that all relate to a particular topic. You might do a bit of a search around for a topic that you cover on your blog that gives seven other people’s opinions on the topic. You might have a short quote from each those and then link for further reading.

These types of content might sound a little bit lighter than some of the stuff that you do, but what I found is that our readers really love these types of content because it gets other people’s voices onto your blog, other ideas onto your blog. It can add in some really interesting ideas into your content as well.

They’re also really good at building relationships with other people on the web in your niche as well. When you are linking to other people, you’ll find from time to time that they will notice those links and they might even reach out to you as well. Sometimes, actually share that content.

We had a post on digital photography school a few years ago, which was 18 Great Photography Links From Around The Web. It was just 18 links that I’d found that week. That post went viral. It was just a list of links with a sentence or two about each one and it got hundreds of thousands of views that particular week. These types of posts can do quite well. They also keep you in touch with what other people are writing about, and thinking and learning in your niche, which can be good for you and can stimulate further ideas for you to create content.

You can see a theme here. Most of these things not only adds some new content onto your blog. They not only serve your readers in a new way, but they can actually inspire you if you’ve got a bit of writer’s block or if you are searching for things to write about, struggling to come up with new ideas, that can sometimes stimulate that.

A fifth type of killer filler content that you can create is similar to the link post in some ways, but this is where you create a link post of content in your own archives. This is going to be particularly useful for any of you who have been blogging for a year, or two, or three and you’ve probably got those archives that most of your readers do not know about because they’re new readers and they haven’t seen the old content in your archives, or maybe they’ve forgotten about it.

If you got evergreen content in your archives, it is useful every now and again to bring it to the attention of your readers. A post that you might do from time to time is a ‘best of’ post. “Here is the best post from our category on digital photography school.” It might be our portraits category or “Here’s five articles that you may not have read from our landscapes category.” Actually resurfacing that content, highlighting it again. Now you wouldn’t want to do this every single post, but once a month you might add this into your content schedule.

There’s a blog called Lifehacker that I used to read a lot. I assume it’s still around today. I don’t read it so much anymore. They used to do this post which, once a week, they would do a post, ‘One year ago on Lifehacker.’ It was basically them looking at what they published one year ago and then relinking to anything that was still relevant today. It became this weekly thing that people looked forward to. It enabled them to explore the recent history of the archives of that post. That’s the fifth type of killer filler content.

Number six is guest post or other regular contributors. I’m not going to talk in great deal about this because just a couple of episodes ago in episode 248, I talked about how to find new writers for your blog and we touched on this again.

Obviously, one way to create content for your blog that doesn’t take you a lot of work is to have someone else write it for you, either as guest or as a hired writer.

Now, I do need to emphasize that this does still take some work because you need to have some editorial control over that. You want to proofread it, you want to make sure that it is written with sound advice and it fits with the overall ethos of your blog, but I think it is one way to lighten the load because you don’t have to come up with the idea for that content. You don’t have to come up with the original thought for that. You just need to put on your editor hat to make sure it is of a high-enough quality. That’s the sixth way of creating some extra content on your blog.

Number seven is embeddable content. I hinted at this one last week’s episode because it’s something that I still do to this day. On digital photography school, we have one post every week that is us highlight and embedding a video that we found on YouTube that someone else has created on the topic of photography and a different aspect of photography.

Our editor does a bit of a search on YouTube to find the best video on a topic that she wants to cover, then she writes a paragraph or two introducing that topic, talking about it from her perspective, linking to anything we’ve written on that topic before, and then she embeds that YouTube video into the post. These posts do really well.

Sometimes actually, some of the best posts that we do in terms of traffic, which feels a bit awkward in some ways because we didn’t create the bulk of the content, but our readers love them. We don’t normally do video. They allow us to create content on topics that maybe a fringy topic that we don’t have expertise in.

They also build relationships with the video creators as well. The video creators get views out of these. They are able to monetize those views if they’re running ads on their site. They help to build their profile.

We get a lot of video creators actually pitching us and saying, “Hey, why don’t you feature our video?” They’re actually bringing value to our readers, they’re bringing value to the video creators, but also, they’re bringing value to our site as well because they’re adding a different voice and different expertise into the site.

It’s so easy to do. Head over to YouTube and just do a search for keywords relating to your topic. Make sure the videos are relevant, that they’re high quality, that they add something to your blog that they’re going to benefit your readers in some way, then embed that into a post. Add some of your own thoughts around it, of course, link to anything that is relevant to that so you might get the second page view in some way, and this can do very well on your blog. We do this every week. We do one post a week in our schedule using curated content.

Now of course, videos are just one type of thing that you can embed on to your site. Embeddable content comes in so many different forms. Back in episode 152, I did a whole episode on the topic of ‘finding embeddable content to use on your site.’ You can use SlideShares, other people’s slide presentations. You can embed those onto your site. You’d be amazed on SlideShare the topics that are covered.

You can do almost any social media update that you can find, yours or other people’s. You can embed someone’s tweets, their Facebook post, their Facebook videos, the live videos that they’ve done. Pinterest bookmarks, Instagram, you can take all of that content and use it on your blog within the terms and conditions of those social networks.

You can embed audio files. I think, the site Anchor still allows you to do that. You can go to sites like Andertoons and embed cartoons. Videos of other people’s livestreams from Facebook or Periscope. Photos from sites like 500px and Flickr–animated GIFs, infographics–there are sites around that allow you to embed content onto your blog.

There’s an amazing amount of great content on the web that people want you to share on your blog. You don’t get into trouble with copyright around this because they actually have enabled embedding of their content onto your site.

This maybe one thing you can do on your blog, you might want to do it every now and again. You may actually want to link this up with the link post that you do so you might want to share a couple of links each week, maybe YouTube video that you found, maybe a few tweets or other social media updates and that could become a curated piece of content that you feature on your blog.

Again, you’ll find that these sparks ideas for your own writing and content creation as well. It could also be a good follow-up piece of content if you’ve written an article early in the week, you might then find someone else’s perspective on YouTube on that particular topic as well.

Number eight type of killer filler content is interviews. This one does take a little bit more work than some of the other ideas that I’ve listed, but interviewing someone in your niche can be a great way of creating content without a ton of work. The hardest part is finding someone with expertise in your area who’s got the time to be interviewed and then constructing some questions that are going to be interesting enough to put to them and also your readers.

Again, this can be done in a variety of ways. You might choose to do an audio recording of an interview. You might want to do a Skype call where you record that audio or even the video as well, or you might want to send the questions via email as well and then take the written answers and put them into a blog post as well.

Again, it takes some work to do this. It takes a little while to get used to it, but it’s the type of content that your readers love. On this podcast, some of the most popular episodes I’ve ever done have been interviews. Again, they mean that I don’t have to come up with the ideas for the show. I just have to come up with the questions to ask, which is a skill in and of itself, but it uses a different part of my brain. I find it refreshing to switch into an interview every now and again.

The last type of killer filler content that I want to add into today’s show is I guess a flip side of an interview. It is you asking yourself a question or letting your readers ask you a question, then creating some content around that. Actually, answering a question that a reader might have or that someone who’s a beginner in your topic might have.

I’m aware that some of you may not have enough readers to be getting questions in yet, but you certainly would be able to answer some questions that your potential reader might have coming up with those questions for yourself.

Pat Flynn has built a whole podcast around this with his AskPat Podcast. If you’re not familiar with it, he—until recently, I think it was late last year, he posted five podcasts a week answering a reader question. His podcast were very short. They were four or five minutes, some of them, as much as maybe 10 minutes at the most. He kept his answers short and sweet. The expectation with his listeners was that they weren’t long episodes, and then he would take a question and answer it off the top of his head on the fly.

You could do that as a podcast. You could also do that as a live video, taking questions and answers. You could do it as a recorded video or you could it as a blog post as well. In fact, I did this a few years ago on ProBlogger. I think I was going away for a week and I was like, “Oh, what am I going to publish while I’m away?” What I did was wrote a post saying, “Hey, if you’ve got any question for me, I want to answer them.”

I took those questions and I limited myself to 10 minutes to answer the question. I wrote that in the introduction of the post, these are quickfire questions and answers, and I’m going to limit myself. These are short posts. My readers again weren’t expecting lots of deep analysis in the answers. Just was just me answering the question, limiting myself to 10 minutes. That went across really well.

Our readers really enjoyed them because they were short posts. They didn’t have to spend 15 minutes reading the content. I have to link to further reading in them as well, which drove people deeper into the site. Again, it’s a relatively easy thing to do. It does take some effort, but it’s less effort than writing a really long article every week.

Now, I’m aware that with these nine types of killer filler content, that I’m scratching the surface. Other ideas have are already being coming as I’ve been talking to you today. The key is to experiment, to test what types of posts get positive reactions from your readers, what types of posts are actually easy for you. You might actually find some of these quite difficult because your brain is wired a different way to mine.

The other thing I’ll say is that these types of posts, sometimes the first time you do it, they take a little bit of effort, but over time they become easier to do, and you might find it become very quick for you to do.

The other thing I wanted to add in is that it’s really the combination of these types of posts in combination with your longer, more thoughtful content that you do as well that really matters. I encourage you to think about the flow of your content. I’ve mentioned a few times here that you can use this type of content in conjunction with your other content on your blog.

Let me give you an example of what a week of content using this kind of flow might look like. On a Monday you might publish your main piece of content for the week. This might be a longer, more thoughtful article that you’ve written on a topic, it might be a how-to piece of content, something that might be three or four thousand words. It’s the main piece of content for the week. That’s Monday.

Tuesday, you might do an embeddable piece of content that is on the same topic. “Here’s a video of someone else exploring this same topic.” They’ve got some different perspectives. Maybe they’ve got the opposite perspective, maybe they got the same perspective, so you’ve got an embeddable piece of content. Tuesday is the embeddable.

Wednesday might be your reader discussion. This is where you open it up to your readers. “What do you think about this? Now, you’ve seen my opinion, you’ve have seen someone else’s. What do you think about this? Where do you stand with this topic?” You come up with a question that builds upon that in some way. That was Wednesday.

Thursday might be your challenge post. This is where you challenge your readers to get out there and to do something that you’ve taught them to do earlier in the week.

Friday might be an interview. Maybe it relates to the topic again of the week or maybe it’s something else completely.

Saturday might be a link roundup. Again, you could tie that into the theme of the week. All of these posts could be related or you could just mix it up and just do other links that you found.

Sunday might be a day off or you might choose to do a quick answer of a reader. Maybe it’s a question that’s come up during the week that you then do an answer of.

Now that’s seven pieces of content, with one longer, thoughtful piece of content and then all of the others are centered around that. It brings other perspectives into your site, it gets your readers engaged in your topic, it gets your readers taking action on the thing that you taught them that week.

Hopefully, somewhere in the midst of that is something that’s going to help you to create maybe a little bit more content while you give yourself space to write some of these longer form content as well.

I should really say that seven posts a week is possibly too much. I just gave you that example as how you could do it if you did want to do daily posting, but you may choose to do that same rhythm over a month or over a couple of weeks, still taking out content every three or four days along that kind of a structure.

I hope that somewhere in the midst of that is something of value to you. I’d love to hear if anything has sparked as a result of the ideas that I’ve shared today. Maybe there’s a new topic content you want to have a play around it.

Just because you do it once doesn’t mean you have to do it forever. Just throw it into the mix. See what happens for you and your energy, but also see what happens with your readers. You might just find something new that you could repeat into the future.

This week’s quote of the week comes from Dean Smith who said, “If you treat every situation as a life-and-death matter, you’ll die a lot of times.” I guess my thought on this quote today is we do give a lot of thought to these things and we stew over, should I publish daily? Or should I publish five times a week? Or should I publish this type of content? Or should I publish that type of content?

I do think it’s important to give consideration to this. It is important to your blog, but it’s not a life-or-death matter. Be a little bit playful with it, mix it up, try new things, and see what happens. The worst thing that can happen is the post might fall flat. It may not hit the mark and that can be just a hint that you don’t do that again and then you can move on to try something else. Hope that fits with you.

You can find today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/250 where I will include a little bit of further listening for you of some of the podcast episodes that I have mentioned today.

Thanks so much for listening, helping us to get to 250 episodes. It means a lot to me that you’ve been with us this long. If you have a moment I would love to get your reviews of this podcast on iTunes or wherever else you listen to this podcast. It means a lot to me to read those. I get an email every week letting me know when people have left a review.

Thanks so much to those of you who have, and if you’ve got a moment to leave a review and a rating, that helps me a lot. Thanks for listening. I’ll chat with you next week on the ProBlogger Podcast.

Before I go, I want to give a big shout out and say thank you to Craig Hewitt and the team at Podcast Motor who have been editing all of our podcasts for some time now. Podcast motor has a great range of services for podcasters at all levels, making help you to set up your podcast, but also a couple of excellent services to help you to edit your shows and get them up with great show notes. Check them out at podcastmotor.com.

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250: 9 Types of Killer Filler Content that are Easy to Create

How to Create Killer Filler Content for Your Blog

This week I’m sharing a list of content filler types you can use for your blog. And they don’t take a lot of effort or time to create.

If you’re struggling to create thoughtful, original long-form content, these will help fill some of the gaps.

Here’s how to create killer filler content and add value to both your blog and your readers.

  1. Reader Discussions: Ask a question to generate a debate/community workshop
  2. Polls: Increase reader engagement and start a good discussion with a question
  3. Homework/Challenges: Specify a topic, and give readers an assignment
  4. Link Posts: Link to another blog/article (or include a list of links) to build relationships and find out what others are thinking
  5. Best Of/Archive Posts: Post useful posts new readers have never seen
  6. Guest Posts/Regular Contributors: Include posts written by others, or find a regular writer to do a semi-regular post
  7. Embeddable Content: Use photos, cartoons, or go to YouTube; search keywords related to your blog topic, and find a high-value video that helps your readers
  8. Interviews: Find interesting experts, and ask them questions to help your readers
  9. Answer Question: Address questions from readers and beginners (but make the answers short and sweet)

These posts are a little less labor intensive to create, but still serve a purpose for your readers.

The key is to experiment. Which get positive reactions? Evolve them into something you can add on a regular basis to your blog.

But remember, don’t publish ‘filler content’ just for the sake of posting.

Quote of the Week: “If you treat every situation as a life-and-death matter, you’ll die a lot of times.” – Dean Smith

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Hello. It’s Darren from ProBlogger here. Welcome to episode 250. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, and courses all designed to help you as a blogger to grow your blog, to build that audience, to create great content, and to build profit around your blog. You can learn more about what we do at problogger.com.

In today’s episode, I want to suggest to you a list of types of content that you can use on your blog and potentially in other mediums as well that don’t take a massive amount of time to create. This episode does build upon what I talked about in the last episode– episode 249–where I was talking about deadlines, schedules, and editorial calendars.

In that episode, we heard a question from a blogger who was finding it difficult to keep up with the schedule. That actually found having a deadline each week, having that schedule was limiting and they decided to slow down and only post when they had something to say, which I agreed with on some levels, but I did mention that there was a danger associated with that.

One of the dangers is that you can slow down so much that you don’t publish anything at all. I suggested last episode that there might be some ways of creating content that don’t take a lot of effort, that still serve your readers, and keep the publishing of content ticking over.

I jokingly call this kind of content, filler content. But it’s not really filler content because filler content does have this light and fluffy feeling to it. We want the content to be killer filler content. We want it to be relatively easy to create, but also adding value to your readers and to your blog.

Today, I want to suggest nine types of killer filler content for your blog. Before I do, this is episode 250, which feels a little momentous. It’s a bit of a milestone, so I do want to pause for a moment and given the fact that I really didn’t know if this podcast was going to have more than 31 episodes, it’s a bit of a milestone. I’m kind of proud to get to this point, but I also really am very aware that it only has happened because of you. I did want to stop and thank you today as a listener.

I just checked our stats. We’re approaching four million downloads. Probably, we will hit that in the next couple of months and that blows my mind. It’s been three years of creating content. The fact that almost four million people have tuned in at some point or another is fantastic.

I’m really aware that a number like that sounds a lot, but what really strikes me is that, that represents a lot of people like you taking time out of their day every week to spend a little bit of time with me.

I hear from a lot of you that you enjoy our weekly chats and that sometimes you hear things on this podcast that help you to grow your blog. That’s really exciting for me, so I just wanted to pause, take a moment today, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to hang out with you each week, and to contribute to your week and your blogging in some small way.

I love these times, even though I don’t get to hear your voices, but I look forward to the chats that we have and I look forward to hearing the stories that come out of this as well. So, thank you.

You can find today’s show notes, which will have a transcript of today’s show at problogger.com/podcast/250.

Today’s topic—let’s get to that now—is how to create these killer filler content for your blog. I do want to really emphasize today that you probably should never really be publishing filler content. You don’t want to just post for the sake of posting.

Every time you publishing something you have an opportunity to add value to your readers to build your brand in some way. I do want you to keep in the front of your mind that as I go through this list of types of filler content, that they can each be used in good ways, but also in bad ways. They can actually all be used in ways that can add value into the lives of your readers and build your brand, but they can also be used in bad ways.

If you just get into a routine of publishing filler content that doesn’t add value, really what you’re doing is destroying your brand, frustrating your readers, and not really helping you to build anything, so keep that in the front of your mind.

I should also say that I think this type of content that I’m going to share today, you could fill your whole blog up with this, but really, I want to share these ideas to go in between your other content–the deeper, more thoughtful, the original ideas that you have, I think the more of that kind of deeper, longer-form perhaps content, original thought that you can bring to your blog, the better. Really, what I’m describing today are things that can go around that and can add value to that in some ways as well.

Let me go through these nine different types of content and then I’ll wrap it up at the end. Number one is something that we’ve been doing on digital photography school and ProBlogger, really since the beginning of both of those sites on a semi-regular basis. We don’t do this every week, we don’t even do it every month. But every month or two, we would do these types of post and it is the reader discussion.

There’s a number of ways you could do this. One way is to issue your readers with a question that they can go away and discuss. The question on ProBlogger might be, “Tell us about the most successful way that you’ve driven traffic to your blog. It’s a nominated topic, it’s a nominated question, it opens a discussion, and that maybe all the content that you have. You may write just a paragraph asking the question and then throw it open to your audience.

Another way you can do it is set up a debate. You might say, “Here’s two approaches–which one do you agree with?” In digital photography school, we have from time-to-time done debates like, “Zoom lenses versus prime lenses? Prime lenses are lenses that don’t zoom. Which one do you prefer?” We just open that up as a discussion and we know that there are fans of zoom lenses, there are fans of prime lenses, there are fans of people who like to do both, a discussion will open up as a result of that. This is where you open up a debate or you give two alternatives.

Another thing that you can do is to ask people to share their stories. You might ask them to share examples of something that you’ve written about previously. You may have written a post, your longer, more thoughtful post earlier in the week. You might publish one on Monday and it might be on that topic of zoom versus prime lenses. You talk about the pros and cons and then on Wednesday you might do a follow-up post that opens up the discussion. You link from one to the others. This, we find, works quite well on digital photography school where we have a tutorial and then we have a discussion.

Whilst we could do those two things into one post and sometimes that works, what we find is that we get more comments if we do a separate post later in the week that links to the first, because people have had time to digest that tutorial that we have already published and then I can have a discussion about it later. It also give us a second chance to promote the original content that we published earlier in the week.

Discussion posts can be really good. The other bonus about having a discussion post is that you get inspired, you get questions, you get ideas from the discussion that you could then write about later. I quite often find our discussion posts stimulate an idea for me for a follow-up post, which again gives you an opportunity to link back to that discussion, creates more page views on your blog, and it highlights the fact that you got discussion on your blog. Discussions can be great for that. The only thing that you really want to pay attention to is making sure that discussion is relevant to your overall topic of your blog.

Number one, discussions. Number two is similar in some ways and that is where you could run a poll. It’s so easy to run a poll on your blog. There are plenty of tools around. There’s lots of WordPress plugins if you’re a WordPress user. There are other poll tools around that allow you to embed polls onto your blog. This again gives you the opportunity to ask your readers a question, and then you can see the results of that. They don’t even have to leave a comment to respond to that.

This is something that we used to do every week on digital photography school. We certainly slowed down on the amount of polls that we do these days, but one of the bonuses of doing polls is that they actually give you a result as well. You can do a follow-up post about the result of the poll. Typically what we do is ask a question of our readers of this or that type question or give them three or four alternatives, and then, a week or two later we would look at the results of that and we would write a post sharing the results. Drawing people’s attention back to that poll, we create a chart, show them the results, talk about why maybe the results happened and maybe give them some further reading as well.

This idea of taking the results of the poll or taking the discussion that’s already had and creating new content about that is how this content creates even more content for you and I love that. A reader discussion, for example. You could take some quotes from your readers and then put them into a new blog post later on, again adding some of your own thoughts which your readers will love because you’re featuring their ideas in your main content.

Number one was reader discussions. Number two was polls. Number three is something that we still do every week on digital photography school and we do it from time-to-time on ProBlogger, and that is to give your readers a little bit of homework or a challenge to do.

This is one of the most popular posts that we do on digital photography school every week. My editor will name a theme or a topic and then our readers go away and take a photo on that theme before coming back and sharing the image that they take in the comments of our blog.

This, we call it our weekly challenge, it’s a little assignment. Some of our readers, actually the whole week revolves around this challenge. We typically will write a tutorial on the topic of the challenge. We might write a tutorial on shooting with long shutter speeds and then we might have a discussion later in the week on that topic, then later in the week again we give our readers a challenge to take a photo with a long shutter speed.

The beauty of this—I’ve talked about this in the past—is that we’re giving our readers information in the tutorial, and then we are giving them an opportunity to discuss, to have some interaction with that topic, and then we give them an invitation to actually implement what they’re learning, get them out and applying the information that they’ve learned.

This information, the interaction, and getting them to do something with it not only gives us three pieces content in a week instead of one. It actually challenges our readers to do what we’re teaching them.

So, if you have a how-to blog, this is a great little model that you could very easily implement into your blog, that takes you posting from once a week to three times a week very, very easily. Homework challenge is the third type.

The fourth type is something that we used to do all the time on blogs back in the day. The link post was so popular. A few years back, this was what everyone did on their blogs, almost every post. I actually looked back on my very first blog recently. I looked up on the Wayback Machine and I was amazed that always every post I wrote out of the first few months was me linking to something else and then making comment about that. I would link to a blog post that I’d read and then I would add my thoughts. I would talk about what I agreed with, what I disagreed with, and tell my readers why they should read that link, that was almost every post I did.

It’s the kind of thing that we do today on social media, but why not go back to that and do that on your blog from time to time? It’s relatively easy to create that type of content. There’s a number of ways that a link post you might put it together. One, as I just described, you linking to another blog or an article and then adding a few of your own thoughts to it. I think it is important that you add something original to it, that you give your readers a little bit of context as to why you are linking to that post.

The other way that you can do is to create a series of links. It’s almost like a compilation of things to read for your readers. We used to do this even a year or two ago on ProBlogger once a week. Our editor at the time, Stacy, would put together I think about six or seven links from around the web that she’d found interesting that have been published over the last week. We might link to Social Media Examiner, to Moz, and other blogs like Copyblogger who had published new things over the last that we found interesting.

Stacy would pull together those links into a list and then she would write a short paragraph, a few sentences about each one. It took a little bit of work to do, but it wasn’t her having to come up with lots of ideas and it was a much easier piece of content to create each week.

The other way you could do it is instead of publishing a list of new content that you’d found over the last week, you could choose seven links that all relate to a particular topic. You might do a bit of a search around for a topic that you cover on your blog that gives seven other people’s opinions on the topic. You might have a short quote from each those and then link for further reading.

These types of content might sound a little bit lighter than some of the stuff that you do, but what I found is that our readers really love these types of content because it gets other people’s voices onto your blog, other ideas onto your blog. It can add in some really interesting ideas into your content as well.

They’re also really good at building relationships with other people on the web in your niche as well. When you are linking to other people, you’ll find from time to time that they will notice those links and they might even reach out to you as well. Sometimes, actually share that content.

We had a post on digital photography school a few years ago, which was 18 Great Photography Links From Around The Web. It was just 18 links that I’d found that week. That post went viral. It was just a list of links with a sentence or two about each one and it got hundreds of thousands of views that particular week. These types of posts can do quite well. They also keep you in touch with what other people are writing about, and thinking and learning in your niche, which can be good for you and can stimulate further ideas for you to create content.

You can see a theme here. Most of these things not only adds some new content onto your blog. They not only serve your readers in a new way, but they can actually inspire you if you’ve got a bit of writer’s block or if you are searching for things to write about, struggling to come up with new ideas, that can sometimes stimulate that.

A fifth type of killer filler content that you can create is similar to the link post in some ways, but this is where you create a link post of content in your own archives. This is going to be particularly useful for any of you who have been blogging for a year, or two, or three and you’ve probably got those archives that most of your readers do not know about because they’re new readers and they haven’t seen the old content in your archives, or maybe they’ve forgotten about it.

If you got evergreen content in your archives, it is useful every now and again to bring it to the attention of your readers. A post that you might do from time to time is a ‘best of’ post. “Here is the best post from our category on digital photography school.” It might be our portraits category or “Here’s five articles that you may not have read from our landscapes category.” Actually resurfacing that content, highlighting it again. Now you wouldn’t want to do this every single post, but once a month you might add this into your content schedule.

There’s a blog called Lifehacker that I used to read a lot. I assume it’s still around today. I don’t read it so much anymore. They used to do this post which, once a week, they would do a post, ‘One year ago on Lifehacker.’ It was basically them looking at what they published one year ago and then relinking to anything that was still relevant today. It became this weekly thing that people looked forward to. It enabled them to explore the recent history of the archives of that post. That’s the fifth type of killer filler content.

Number six is guest post or other regular contributors. I’m not going to talk in great deal about this because just a couple of episodes ago in episode 248, I talked about how to find new writers for your blog and we touched on this again.

Obviously, one way to create content for your blog that doesn’t take you a lot of work is to have someone else write it for you, either as guest or as a hired writer.

Now, I do need to emphasize that this does still take some work because you need to have some editorial control over that. You want to proofread it, you want to make sure that it is written with sound advice and it fits with the overall ethos of your blog, but I think it is one way to lighten the load because you don’t have to come up with the idea for that content. You don’t have to come up with the original thought for that. You just need to put on your editor hat to make sure it is of a high-enough quality. That’s the sixth way of creating some extra content on your blog.

Number seven is embeddable content. I hinted at this one last week’s episode because it’s something that I still do to this day. On digital photography school, we have one post every week that is us highlight and embedding a video that we found on YouTube that someone else has created on the topic of photography and a different aspect of photography.

Our editor does a bit of a search on YouTube to find the best video on a topic that she wants to cover, then she writes a paragraph or two introducing that topic, talking about it from her perspective, linking to anything we’ve written on that topic before, and then she embeds that YouTube video into the post. These posts do really well.

Sometimes actually, some of the best posts that we do in terms of traffic, which feels a bit awkward in some ways because we didn’t create the bulk of the content, but our readers love them. We don’t normally do video. They allow us to create content on topics that maybe a fringy topic that we don’t have expertise in.

They also build relationships with the video creators as well. The video creators get views out of these. They are able to monetize those views if they’re running ads on their site. They help to build their profile.

We get a lot of video creators actually pitching us and saying, “Hey, why don’t you feature our video?” They’re actually bringing value to our readers, they’re bringing value to the video creators, but also, they’re bringing value to our site as well because they’re adding a different voice and different expertise into the site.

It’s so easy to do. Head over to YouTube and just do a search for keywords relating to your topic. Make sure the videos are relevant, that they’re high quality, that they add something to your blog that they’re going to benefit your readers in some way, then embed that into a post. Add some of your own thoughts around it, of course, link to anything that is relevant to that so you might get the second page view in some way, and this can do very well on your blog. We do this every week. We do one post a week in our schedule using curated content.

Now of course, videos are just one type of thing that you can embed on to your site. Embeddable content comes in so many different forms. Back in episode 152, I did a whole episode on the topic of ‘finding embeddable content to use on your site.’ You can use SlideShares, other people’s slide presentations. You can embed those onto your site. You’d be amazed on SlideShare the topics that are covered.

You can do almost any social media update that you can find, yours or other people’s. You can embed someone’s tweets, their Facebook post, their Facebook videos, the live videos that they’ve done. Pinterest bookmarks, Instagram, you can take all of that content and use it on your blog within the terms and conditions of those social networks.

You can embed audio files. I think, the site Anchor still allows you to do that. You can go to sites like Andertoons and embed cartoons. Videos of other people’s livestreams from Facebook or Periscope. Photos from sites like 500px and Flickr–animated GIFs, infographics–there are sites around that allow you to embed content onto your blog.

There’s an amazing amount of great content on the web that people want you to share on your blog. You don’t get into trouble with copyright around this because they actually have enabled embedding of their content onto your site.

This maybe one thing you can do on your blog, you might want to do it every now and again. You may actually want to link this up with the link post that you do so you might want to share a couple of links each week, maybe YouTube video that you found, maybe a few tweets or other social media updates and that could become a curated piece of content that you feature on your blog.

Again, you’ll find that these sparks ideas for your own writing and content creation as well. It could also be a good follow-up piece of content if you’ve written an article early in the week, you might then find someone else’s perspective on YouTube on that particular topic as well.

Number eight type of killer filler content is interviews. This one does take a little bit more work than some of the other ideas that I’ve listed, but interviewing someone in your niche can be a great way of creating content without a ton of work. The hardest part is finding someone with expertise in your area who’s got the time to be interviewed and then constructing some questions that are going to be interesting enough to put to them and also your readers.

Again, this can be done in a variety of ways. You might choose to do an audio recording of an interview. You might want to do a Skype call where you record that audio or even the video as well, or you might want to send the questions via email as well and then take the written answers and put them into a blog post as well.

Again, it takes some work to do this. It takes a little while to get used to it, but it’s the type of content that your readers love. On this podcast, some of the most popular episodes I’ve ever done have been interviews. Again, they mean that I don’t have to come up with the ideas for the show. I just have to come up with the questions to ask, which is a skill in and of itself, but it uses a different part of my brain. I find it refreshing to switch into an interview every now and again.

The last type of killer filler content that I want to add into today’s show is I guess a flip side of an interview. It is you asking yourself a question or letting your readers ask you a question, then creating some content around that. Actually, answering a question that a reader might have or that someone who’s a beginner in your topic might have.

I’m aware that some of you may not have enough readers to be getting questions in yet, but you certainly would be able to answer some questions that your potential reader might have coming up with those questions for yourself.

Pat Flynn has built a whole podcast around this with his AskPat Podcast. If you’re not familiar with it, he—until recently, I think it was late last year, he posted five podcasts a week answering a reader question. His podcast were very short. They were four or five minutes, some of them, as much as maybe 10 minutes at the most. He kept his answers short and sweet. The expectation with his listeners was that they weren’t long episodes, and then he would take a question and answer it off the top of his head on the fly.

You could do that as a podcast. You could also do that as a live video, taking questions and answers. You could do it as a recorded video or you could it as a blog post as well. In fact, I did this a few years ago on ProBlogger. I think I was going away for a week and I was like, “Oh, what am I going to publish while I’m away?” What I did was wrote a post saying, “Hey, if you’ve got any question for me, I want to answer them.”

I took those questions and I limited myself to 10 minutes to answer the question. I wrote that in the introduction of the post, these are quickfire questions and answers, and I’m going to limit myself. These are short posts. My readers again weren’t expecting lots of deep analysis in the answers. Just was just me answering the question, limiting myself to 10 minutes. That went across really well.

Our readers really enjoyed them because they were short posts. They didn’t have to spend 15 minutes reading the content. I have to link to further reading in them as well, which drove people deeper into the site. Again, it’s a relatively easy thing to do. It does take some effort, but it’s less effort than writing a really long article every week.

Now, I’m aware that with these nine types of killer filler content, that I’m scratching the surface. Other ideas have are already being coming as I’ve been talking to you today. The key is to experiment, to test what types of posts get positive reactions from your readers, what types of posts are actually easy for you. You might actually find some of these quite difficult because your brain is wired a different way to mine.

The other thing I’ll say is that these types of posts, sometimes the first time you do it, they take a little bit of effort, but over time they become easier to do, and you might find it become very quick for you to do.

The other thing I wanted to add in is that it’s really the combination of these types of posts in combination with your longer, more thoughtful content that you do as well that really matters. I encourage you to think about the flow of your content. I’ve mentioned a few times here that you can use this type of content in conjunction with your other content on your blog.

Let me give you an example of what a week of content using this kind of flow might look like. On a Monday you might publish your main piece of content for the week. This might be a longer, more thoughtful article that you’ve written on a topic, it might be a how-to piece of content, something that might be three or four thousand words. It’s the main piece of content for the week. That’s Monday.

Tuesday, you might do an embeddable piece of content that is on the same topic. “Here’s a video of someone else exploring this same topic.” They’ve got some different perspectives. Maybe they’ve got the opposite perspective, maybe they got the same perspective, so you’ve got an embeddable piece of content. Tuesday is the embeddable.

Wednesday might be your reader discussion. This is where you open it up to your readers. “What do you think about this? Now, you’ve seen my opinion, you’ve have seen someone else’s. What do you think about this? Where do you stand with this topic?” You come up with a question that builds upon that in some way. That was Wednesday.

Thursday might be your challenge post. This is where you challenge your readers to get out there and to do something that you’ve taught them to do earlier in the week.

Friday might be an interview. Maybe it relates to the topic again of the week or maybe it’s something else completely.

Saturday might be a link roundup. Again, you could tie that into the theme of the week. All of these posts could be related or you could just mix it up and just do other links that you found.

Sunday might be a day off or you might choose to do a quick answer of a reader. Maybe it’s a question that’s come up during the week that you then do an answer of.

Now that’s seven pieces of content, with one longer, thoughtful piece of content and then all of the others are centered around that. It brings other perspectives into your site, it gets your readers engaged in your topic, it gets your readers taking action on the thing that you taught them that week.

Hopefully, somewhere in the midst of that is something that’s going to help you to create maybe a little bit more content while you give yourself space to write some of these longer form content as well.

I should really say that seven posts a week is possibly too much. I just gave you that example as how you could do it if you did want to do daily posting, but you may choose to do that same rhythm over a month or over a couple of weeks, still taking out content every three or four days along that kind of a structure.

I hope that somewhere in the midst of that is something of value to you. I’d love to hear if anything has sparked as a result of the ideas that I’ve shared today. Maybe there’s a new topic content you want to have a play around it.

Just because you do it once doesn’t mean you have to do it forever. Just throw it into the mix. See what happens for you and your energy, but also see what happens with your readers. You might just find something new that you could repeat into the future.

This week’s quote of the week comes from Dean Smith who said, “If you treat every situation as a life-and-death matter, you’ll die a lot of times.” I guess my thought on this quote today is we do give a lot of thought to these things and we stew over, should I publish daily? Or should I publish five times a week? Or should I publish this type of content? Or should I publish that type of content?

I do think it’s important to give consideration to this. It is important to your blog, but it’s not a life-or-death matter. Be a little bit playful with it, mix it up, try new things, and see what happens. The worst thing that can happen is the post might fall flat. It may not hit the mark and that can be just a hint that you don’t do that again and then you can move on to try something else. Hope that fits with you.

You can find today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/250 where I will include a little bit of further listening for you of some of the podcast episodes that I have mentioned today.

Thanks so much for listening, helping us to get to 250 episodes. It means a lot to me that you’ve been with us this long. If you have a moment I would love to get your reviews of this podcast on iTunes or wherever else you listen to this podcast. It means a lot to me to read those. I get an email every week letting me know when people have left a review.

Thanks so much to those of you who have, and if you’ve got a moment to leave a review and a rating, that helps me a lot. Thanks for listening. I’ll chat with you next week on the ProBlogger Podcast.

Before I go, I want to give a big shout out and say thank you to Craig Hewitt and the team at Podcast Motor who have been editing all of our podcasts for some time now. Podcast motor has a great range of services for podcasters at all levels, making help you to set up your podcast, but also a couple of excellent services to help you to edit your shows and get them up with great show notes. Check them out at podcastmotor.com.

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