Tag Archives: Rainmaker Platform

Last Day to Get the Rainmaker Platform

Last Chance to Get the Rainmaker Platform at the Current Pricing

This is it … your absolute last day to invest in the Rainmaker Platform at pricing that will never be seen again. The party’s over today at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time (you can read the original announcement with all the details here).

We hope you’ll join the Rainmaker family before we make the switch. Just head over to the site, check out all the amazing things Rainmaker empowers you to do, and start your free trial today.

The post Last Day to Get the Rainmaker Platform appeared first on Copyblogger.

Improve Your Writing and Last Chance for Rainmaker Platform

Improve Your Writing and Last Chance for Rainmaker Platform

Brian wrote on Monday about the big news for this week: This is your last chance to pick up the Rainmaker Platform as a standalone service. We’re transitioning to a bundled hybrid of technology with client services … and that will come with a significantly higher price tag.

If you’ve been thinking about Rainmaker, this would be a great time to jump in. To get the advantageous pricing we have today, you’ll need to start your free trial before Friday, June 16, 2017 (that’s tomorrow) at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time.

On Tuesday, Stefanie asked if your blog necessarily needs a robust editing and proofreading process. And no, the answer isn’t automatically “of course it does.” Answer her three Socratic questions to see for yourself.

And on Wednesday, I shared ways to make your writing more colorful and lively … without getting into Dora the Explorer territory.

On the Copyblogger FM podcast, I talked about how to go from being a “training addict” to being the kind of person who actually implements great advice. And on The Writer Files, Robert Bruce interviewed the always-interesting Ryan Holiday about “why the long game is the only game,” as well as other intriguing topics.

That’s it for this week — have a great weekend, and we’ll see you Monday. :)

(And don’t procrastinate on the Rainmaker thing — get your free trial going with the current pricing before it goes off the market tomorrow.)

— Sonia Simone
Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital


Catch up on this week’s content


last chance to get the rainmaker platform at the current pricingThe Rainmaker Platform Goes Off the Market this Friday

by Brian Clark


these tools help you evaluate your current publishing processDoes Your Blog Need Editing and Proofreading?

by Stefanie Flaxman


don’t tell me it’s awesome, epic or amazing. Show me why.How to Add Color and Richness to Your Writing … Without Making Us Want to Barf

by Sonia Simone


How to Turn All that Marketing Advice into ActionHow to Turn All that Marketing Advice into Action

by Sonia Simone


How Bestselling Author Ryan Holiday WritesHow Bestselling Author Ryan Holiday Writes

by Kelton Reid


The post Improve Your Writing and Last Chance for Rainmaker Platform appeared first on Copyblogger.

The Rainmaker Platform Goes Off the Market this Friday

Last Chance to Get the Rainmaker Platform at the Current Pricing

The Rainmaker Platform is coming off the market this Friday at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time. To get the current pricing, you must start your free trial before the deadline.

Last month I told you about the Rainmaker Platform’s shift from software-as-a-service to a bundled hybrid of technology and client services, all at much higher prices. Before we do that, we’re offering one last chance for people who just want the Platform at the current lower pricing.

If you’re not familiar, the Rainmaker Platform is a complete digital marketing and sales solution. It combines powerful website features with email, marketing automation, and a ton of other powerful tools that you have to see for yourself. And yes, it’s the very technology that powers Copyblogger and thousands of other sophisticated sites.

When you choose the annual plan, you always enjoy substantial savings. But from now until we take it off the market, you’ll save hundreds of dollars more every single year when you get on board with the Rainmaker Platform.

Start your free trial today.

The go-forward development plan

Given the shift in business and operational models, you may be wondering what our plans are for continued software development on the Platform. It’s a great question, and I’d like to quickly address that.

If you get on board before the deadline, you’ll join thousands of existing Rainmaker customers. And we fully intend to keep all of you happy even as we serve a different market segment with the bundled services model. That’s a no brainer, given that the Platform remains at the center of our strategy.

What does that mean for you? Only good things:

  • We’ve already begun work on Rainmaker 3.0, a major new release that will feature automation, email, and interface workflow improvements. We’ll also be adding Zapier for third-party add-ons, and modularizing key areas of the Platform for easier integrations and quicker addition of new features.
  • The annual or monthly price you sign up for today will never change as long as you keep your site active. You won’t pay more even as the cost-of-entry to Rainmaker goes way up for others. And remember, we’re also giving you a substantial discount on the annual plan if you start your trial before the Friday deadline.
  • You’ll also benefit from the software improvements that come from moving upstream. As we do more expensive custom development work for clients, relevant enhancements will find their way into the general platform, at no additional cost to you.
  • Want to invest in additional Rainmaker sites after the switch? You’ll still be able to do that — at the current discounted customer pricing — all from your Rainmaker Portal. Existing customers will literally have access to Rainmaker sites in a way that no one else will going forward.
  • Finally, the move to full service means you’ll never have to experience frustration looking for help with design, content, SEO, and more. And if you have a specialized Platform development need, our new services team can make it happen for a reasonable fee.

You must act this week:

In a nutshell, if you want the best pricing that will ever be offered on the Rainmaker Platform from here on out, you must start your free trial before 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, this Friday, June 16, 2017.

We hope you’ll join the Rainmaker family before we make the switch. Just head over to the site, check out all the amazing things Rainmaker empowers you to do, and start your free trial without delay.

The post The Rainmaker Platform Goes Off the Market this Friday appeared first on Copyblogger.

A Big Week at Copyblogger

A Big Week at Copyblogger

Ever been frustrated with putting a site together and wished someone could just do the whole thing for you? With custom graphics, copy, marketing automation, and even content strategy — all using Copyblogger principles?

Very soon, we’re going to be able to make that happen.

Our big news this week is that we’ve entered into a relationship with a new partner that will allow us to offer you an extensive range of done-for-you services in the very near future.

There’s plenty to talk about, including a significant price increase coming for new Rainmaker customers (but not for you if you’re already a customer or start your free trial shortly), so get all the details over on Brian Clark’s Thursday announcement.

On Monday, the editorial team revealed some of their “pet peeves” around content and writing. It’s always fun to gripe a little, but I also thought it would be interesting to explore what those peeves said about our values, as individuals and as a company.

On Tuesday, Beth Hayden let us know how she came to love writing sales pages — with three critical points we need to look at in our own efforts.

And on Wednesday, Brian let us know about an elegantly simple way to create excitement and dramatic tension in your content. This is one of those techniques that creates a massive impact with a modest effort, so do go check it out.

Over on the podcast, I talked with Tara Gentile about her new community for digital business owners. She had some interesting thoughts on where she thinks digital business is going, and some of the challenges and rewards of building online communities.

— Sonia Simone
Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital


Catch up on this week’s content


no one can nurse a good peeve like a group of writersPet Peeves from the Copyblogger Editorial Team, and What they Reveal

by Sonia Simone


 the better you are at addressing your prospect’s concerns, doubts, and objections, the more sales you’ll bring in3 Tips on High-Conversion Copy from a Sales Page Specialist

by Beth Hayden


Pulp Fiction expertly uses a common writing technique that grabs attention right from the beginning, and magnetically holds itThe ‘Pulp Fiction’ Technique for Engaging and Persuasive Content

by Brian Clark


Last Chance to Get the Rainmaker Platform at the Current PricingLast Chance to Get the Rainmaker Platform at the Current Pricing

by Brian Clark


Should Online Entrepreneurs Write a Book?Should Online Entrepreneurs Write a Book?

by Sean Jackson & Jessica Frick


Talking Community and Digital Business with Tara GentileTalking Community and Digital Business with Tara Gentile

by Sonia Simone


How Bestselling Fantasy & Sci-Fi Author Catherynne M. Valente Writes: Part TwoHow Bestselling Fantasy & Sci-Fi Author Catherynne M. Valente Writes: Part Two

by Kelton Reid


How to Immediately Become a More Productive (and Better) PodcasterHow to Immediately Become a More Productive (and Better) Podcaster

by Jerod Morris & Jon Nastor


The Biggest Mistakes Online Entrepreneurs Make and How to Fix ThemThe Biggest Mistakes Online Entrepreneurs Make and How to Fix Them

by Sean Jackson & Jessica Frick


The post A Big Week at Copyblogger appeared first on Copyblogger.

Last Chance to Get the Rainmaker Platform at the Current Pricing

Last Chance to Get the Rainmaker Platform at the Current Pricing

TL;DR version: The Rainmaker Platform is shifting from a pure technology play to software with services included before the end of June, at much higher pricing. That means if you want Rainmaker at its current pricing, you should start your free trial now.
_________________________

When we rebranded from Copyblogger Media to Rainmaker Digital in September of 2015, it was a firm statement that put the Rainmaker Platform at the forefront. But it was also a foreshadowing of where we saw things going.

We knew we were headed from software-as-a-service (SaaS), to software and service to create complete solutions. People need sophisticated marketing technology, yes — but they also need done-for-them services such as design, content, and lead generation strategy.

The technology is only getting more sophisticated, and we plan to remain at the forefront of that with Rainmaker. But sophisticated technology calls for equally sophisticated strategy and execution — and not everyone has that kind of expertise in-house.

Our original goal was to create marketing technology for entrepreneurs and small businesses that are doing content marketing themselves or via freelancers. In the meantime, we’ve been turning away businesses happily willing to pay for a more complete solution.

Our go-forward strategy is to follow what the market is telling us. We’re going to offer you the services that we’ve been teaching and doing for ourselves over the last decade.

A complete Rainmaker solution provider

We’ve been doing service work for our Rainmaker Platform customers for over a year, but it’s been very cautious. There are many ways to develop a client services department, but given that we’ve been product-focused for so long, we weren’t arrogant enough to think we could just pull it off effortlessly.

In that last year, we’ve explored several viable ways to do more for our customers and prospects as a hybrid technology and digital marketing service provider. After careful deliberation, we’ve come up with a path that allows us to expertly provide anything that a Rainmaker user needs.

Rainmaker Digital has entered into a letter of intent to partner with an existing digital agency, Nimble Worldwide. We’ve had a long relationship with Nimble, as they were our email marketing provider for years before we developed our own solution, RainMail.

Effectively, the Rainmaker assets of the company (excluding StudioPress, Synthesis, Copyblogger, Authority, and DCI, which are not affected by this move at all) will be combined with Nimble assets into a new entity, with us as the majority owner.

First of all, that means you can rest assured that the company you know today remains the company you’ll be doing business with going forward. Plus, the Rainmaker side of things will be where I’ll be putting much of my personal attention and effort.

That said, this deal provides instant access to an experienced team of digital marketing professionals and a network of talented contractors that ensures our service solutions are expertly crafted and delivered. This grows the Rainmaker team significantly, without the pain and uncertainty of building an agency from scratch.

The change in business model unfortunately left four of our existing employees without positions, along with the loss of some of our own contractors. That was certainly no fun, and our operations leadership preserved every job possible despite the significant reorganization.

On the brighter side, this will open up a lot of work for our Certified Writers and members of the Genesis design community as we get rolling. We’re very excited to provide additional freelance and employment opportunities to the large ecosystem we’ve cultivated over the years.

To sum up, I’m 100 percent certain that this is the smarter move compared with trying to build an internal agency from scratch. And ultimately, the clear winners in the deal are our customers and prospects.

What can we help you with?

The first meaningful impact of this will be that we’ll be able to do just about anything you need related to your digital marketing efforts. That includes:

  • Design
  • Development
  • Strategy
  • Content creation
  • SEO and social
  • Adaptive funnel sequences
  • Digital advertising and media planning
  • Turn-key digital marketing packages

On that last point, we’ll be able to provide clearly defined service bundles that allow you to quit thinking about marketing and focus on the rest of your business. If the ROI is there, why would you say no?

We informed the thousands of existing Rainmaker customers about these new services last week, and the response has been enthusiastic. That means if you decide to get on board with the Platform before the switch, you’ll have the benefit (but not the obligation) of access to these services as well.

We’ll be rolling out access to both project-based and retainer-based solutions in the coming months. Once things are live, we’ll let you know here.

The end of “off the shelf” Rainmaker

All of this restructuring is aimed at offering you more options from a trusted source. Of course, with any major escalation in value, there are changes to the way things have been.

The biggest change is that going forward, we will no longer sell the Rainmaker Platform “a la carte.” In other words, the sales process will become more hands on, and less like a “pull out your credit card and sign up online” SaaS.

All future sales of the Platform will be bundled with services, and at a significantly higher price. We’re anticipating that this change will happen before the end of June, 2017.

So, if you’ve been contemplating the Platform, but don’t feel like you need additional service components, you should start your free trial before the switch happens. We’ll naturally send out reminders before the point of no return.

Exciting stuff to come … stay tuned! Feel free to ask questions in the comments, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

The post Last Chance to Get the Rainmaker Platform at the Current Pricing appeared first on Copyblogger.

6 SEO Friendly Tips to Improve Site Speed on WordPress Blogs

"If a page takes more than a couple of seconds to load, users will instantly hit the back button and move on." – Loren Baker

In the world of SEO, user experience on websites has always been a factor, as has the time it takes for a site to load.

However, with the use of mobile devices surpassing desktop use (in most consumer-facing industries) and the wide adoption of broadband, people expect sites to load instantly.

Long gone are the days of waiting 10 seconds for a site to load.

If a page takes more than a couple of seconds to load, users will instantly hit the back button and move on to the next result.

Accordingly, Google officially started paying attention to site speed and declared its importance as a factor in rankings.

In order to keep up with Google’s site-ranking measures, WordPress blog users need to know exactly what they can do to improve their own site speed.

Remember when Google rolled out AMP (accelerated mobile pages)?

They now serve up publisher content in a simplified Google hosted experience that renders superfast. I like AMP from a user perspective because I know that AMP content will load incredibly fast on my mobile device, but as a publisher:

I’d rather speed up my blog and attract traffic directly to my site than have users stay on Google.

If you use StudioPress Sites or the Rainmaker Platform, your site will already load quickly. However, adding ad scripts, featured images, tracking codes, 301 redirects, etc. will slow down the loading of a site and increase demand on your server/hosting company.

Here are six simple tips I recommend since we used them to dramatically speed up the Search Engine Journal (SEJ) load time — it’s at 1.8 seconds!

1. Use a content delivery network

A content delivery network (CDN) is a group of servers that deliver web pages and other content according to the location of the user, the webpage origin, and its server.

It can handle heavy traffic and speeds up the delivery of content to different users.

For WordPress blogs looking to improve site speed, Cloudflare is a great tool to consider. Cloudflare offers a free content delivery network that speeds up the performance of your site and optimizes it for efficiency on any device.

It also offers security services that help protect websites from crawlers, bots, and other attackers.

2. Compress your images

Another effective way to reduce page-load time and increase site speed is by compressing your images. A CDN will help with this, but it doesn’t take care of 100 percent of the job.

There are several different plugins available that compress all the images on your website — and even compress new images as you upload them as well.

ShortPixel is a WordPress plugin that allows you to compress both new and old images on your blog. We use it on SEJ and various other sites, and absolutely love it.

It allows you to quickly compress images in batches for greater convenience, reduces the time it takes to do backups, and ensures all your processed files are kept safe and secure. The best part about it is that your image quality stays the same, regardless of the size of the image.

Other image-compression plugins also maintain the quality of your pictures and improve site speed.

3. Prevent ad scripts and pop-ups from slowing down the user experience

Many web pages today contain some form of third-party script that either runs ads for revenue or uses pop-ups to promote conversion. You want to build your audience and get more customers of course, but balance is key here.

Although it’s difficult to completely get rid of them to improve your site speed, you can tame their performance impact while keeping them on your website to provide their intended benefits.

The trick is to first identify the third-party scripts that run on your site, where they come from, and how they impact your blog.

You can use different real-time monitoring tools that track and identify which scripts delay your site-loading time and affect your site metrics.

One of my favorite tools to do this is Pingdom’s Website Speed Test, because it breaks down each file and script, and tells you which takes the most time to load.

The same rule applies for pop-up plugins that you add on to your site.

Knowing which ones work best to improve conversions and bring in email signups allows you to gauge which plugins to keep and which ones to uninstall.

One of the fastest pop-up plugins on the market is OptinMonster (a StudioPress partner). Its founder, Syed Balkhi, is a WordPress expert who stays on top of factors like site speed and overall user experience.

4. Install a caching plugin

Another effective way to reduce site-loading time is by installing caching plugins to your WordPress blog.

Caching plugins work by creating a static version of your WordPress blog and delivering it to your site users and visitors, which conveniently cuts your page-loading time in half.

Several cache plugins work best for WordPress, such as WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache.

These plugins are easy to install and can be disabled anytime. They allow you to select certain pages on your blog (or all of them) to cache, and offer many other content compression settings that you can turn on or off.

WordPress supports many other plugins that allow you to optimize your blog to get rid of any latency in page-load time. It is important to test out these plugins to find the one that works best for you.

5. Disable plugins you don’t use

Tons of WordPress plugins can also make your site super slow, especially ones you don’t need.

It is important to review the plugins you have installed in the past and disable those that offer no significant value.

Many WordPress users install different plugins when they first create their blogs to enhance how they look, but realize over time that great-looking blogs don’t always attract traffic, especially if your page-loading time is slow.

Also, I would highly recommend making sure your plugins are updated. This may help improve page-load speed, but more importantly, it makes your site more secure.

6. Add one more layer of media optimization

One thing we realized at SEJ when speeding up the site was that even after optimizing images, ad scripts, and caching, there were still multiple forms of media that slowed down load time.

The internal fixes we implemented did not help with third-party media load times, such as embedded Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram content, or infographics from other sites.

One solution we found to assist with that is BJ Lazy Load. Essentially, this lazy-load plugin renders all written content first, then as the user scrolls down the page, images and other forms of media load. This way, the user doesn’t have to wait for tons of media to load before reading the main content.

What I really like about BJ Lazy Load is that in addition to images, it also lazy loads all embeds, iFrames, and YouTube videos. For a WordPress blog that uses a lot of embeds, it was ideal for us.

Bonus tip: ask your web host for help

If you run a WordPress blog or WordPress-powered site, then you should work with a hosting company that specializes in WordPress, such as WP Engine, Presslabs, or Rainmaker’s own Synthesis.

I’ve worked with all three, and one thing I can absolutely tell you is that if you contact them and ask how your site can be sped up, they will help you because the faster your site is, the less load on their servers.

As more and more people turn to mobile devices to access the internet, it is essential to optimize your blogs for mobile use and find ways to minimize page-loading time.

Remember, bounce rates increase when your page-load time is slow, which impacts whether or not your content gets read or skipped for other sites that load pages faster.

The post 6 SEO Friendly Tips to Improve Site Speed on WordPress Blogs appeared first on Copyblogger.

7 Easy-to-Forget SEO Steps You Need to Consider Every Time You Publish

"Remember these elements to help more of the right people find your content." – Jerod Morris

“But I don’t really think about SEO very much anymore.”

That was my initial reaction when we all agreed that March would be SEO month here at Copyblogger. At which point, of course, I knew I’d have to write about it.

“Look, I just create useful content for people. Do that, get it read, get it shared, get links, have good hosting and fast page-load times … and productive search engine results will follow, right? I mean, what else is there to say?”

Turns out, plenty.

Keyword research is more fundamental to your content marketing strategy than you may think. Also, you may already be making fatal optimization mistakes. Plus, who knew SEO advice could be so … practical? (Including #8, which will punch you square between the eyes.)

I read those articles, rethought my position, and decided to examine exactly how much I actually think about SEO on a post-by-post basis.

And, turns out, plenty. (Whether or not I realized it.)

It’s easy to forget about the basic steps I’m going to outline below, but they shouldn’t be overlooked. Because the minute I stop doing them is the minute my content starts attracting fewer targeted visitors. Same goes for you.

So let’s start at the top, because the first one is by far the most important of the seven — and it will take me the longest to explain.

(Note: I’m going to use my site AssemblyCall.com as an example throughout this post. It’s built on the Rainmaker Platform, which has all of the tools I’m about to mention built right in. And thank goodness, or I’d probably forget about them. StudioPress Sites has all of these tools built in, too.)

1. Be extra intentional about your SEO title tag

You don’t have to set an SEO title tag for each post. If nothing is defined in your post’s meta data, search engines will simply pull your on-page headline.

And if you’ve done your headline homework and know how to write good ones, chances are your headline can double as your SEO title without massive negative repercussions.

But is it ideal? That’s the question. (It’s not.) And if it’s not, why wouldn’t you take an extra minute to be more intentional with your SEO title?

Let me give you an example …

Here’s a recent post from AssemblyCall.com. Backstory: our resident expert bracketologist posted his final projections for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 1.41.43 PM

The headline follows the same simple and straightforward pattern that you see on all of our bracketology posts.

But here is the SEO title, set from the post edit screen inside of Rainmaker:

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 1.44.06 PM

You can’t see the full title, but here it is:

March Madness: Final Bracket Projections for 2017 NCAA Tournament by @AndyBottoms.

So why the differences?

First, because “March Madness” is an oft-searched term by basketball fans seeking this information — which I know from having done my keyword research. But the headline “March Madness: Final 2017 NCAA Tournament Bracket Projections” would look goofy and cluttered at the top of the page, especially on mobile.

Adding it to the SEO title allows me to get it into the search result, where it will have the most impact.

Second, I know that the first five to six words in an SEO title are the most important real estate. After that, people may not see the rest because it can get truncated in search results (as you can see in the screenshot).

So I rearranged the on-page headline to get “Final Bracket Projections” in before “2017 NCAA Tournament.” Why? Because the latter phrase is somewhat redundant with “March Madness.” But it’s essential that searchers know what, specifically, this post will tell them about March Madness, otherwise they won’t click.

This arrangement of the words balances the more generally searched terms with the essential specifics about the content — which is the part that actually drives clicks.

Third, notice the Twitter handle (@AndyBottoms) there at the end. Did you know that when people click the share button to tweet your post, Twitter usually pulls the SEO title, not the on-page headline? It’s true.

Since Andy is a known entity among college basketball fans for his bracketology prowess, I included his Twitter handle to add authority to the link when it’s included in the tweet text. Plus, he’ll be alerted when someone shares it and can retweet the share or reach out to that person.

Three small, subtle differences. All important. And each opportunity would have been wasted if I’d just been happy with the on-page headline and not considered the SEO title.

And here’s the fun part:

It took me way longer to type this, and for you to read this, than it did for me to edit the headline for the SEO title. I’ve been at this for a while, so it’s second nature at this point. So much so that I sometimes take it for granted.

If you haven’t developed this habit yet, take it seriously. Start doing it. And once it’s a habit, you’ll be creating usefully distinct SEO titles in less time than it takes you to floss.

2. While you’re at it, be strategic with your meta description too

You might as well take a minute to define your meta description. Typically, this is what shows along with your SEO title in search engine results.

Sure, search engines sometimes take liberties and pull their own excerpt from inside of your post for the meta description — usually when the search result is generated by a keyword that is not in the meta description but appears elsewhere in your content.

But we can’t worry about that. We’re worrying about the results we can control.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 3.42.34 PM

See how I used the phrase “NCAA Tournament bracket projections” in the screenshot above? I did this to ensure that the “NCAA Tournament” part was visible in the search engine result, since the addition of “March Madness” to the SEO title had pushed “NCAA Tournament” toward the cutoff point. (Remember from my first example?)

I also wanted to include the phrase “field of 68,” which is a tertiary phrase that might draw some search interest.

The meta description is important because it’s your second chance to include important keywords that might not make it into your title tag.

In hindsight, I probably could have been even more strategic with keywords in this description. I had more real estate available. But I was also trying to balance my tone and connecting with the audience — because, remember, the meta description often auto-populates when someone shares your post on Facebook.

This was a good opportunity to display some gratitude to the loyal audience members who had kept up with Andy’s daily updates throughout the previous week.

And don’t forget: optimizing for humans is optimizing for search engines. ?

3. Decide if your post will need a 301 redirect in the future

What if you write a post that has a short shelf life and you want it to be available in search engines during that short time frame when it’s relevant?

Cool. Write it. Publish it. (Add a good SEO Title!) Enjoy the traffic and attention.

But what do you do when the short shelf life ends? Add a 301 redirect.

Below is an example of a limited-time offer we presented a few weeks ago. Focus on the last bullet point.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 2.47.38 PM

Notice the part about the offer expiring on March 5? Okay … so what happens if someone visits this post after March 5? The offer is no longer valid, but the search result will still live on in Google and elsewhere.

Which is fine. I’ll take the traffic. I just want visitors to end up somewhere they can take action.

So I have two options:

  1. I can update the post with a more timeless call to action (a reasonable choice).
  2. I can simply redirect the post to another page on the site.

In this case, I took the latter option because I wanted to send people to the main page for our Deal of the Week posts, which has a timeless call to action (you can see it here).

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 2.56.28 PM

Yes, sometimes optimizing search results is about going back to old posts and ensuring a visitor gets something useful when they click.

(By the way, you’ll notice we do the same thing here at Copyblogger with posts that have expired offers.)

Or perhaps, you don’t want some posts indexed by search engines at all …

4. See if you should add a “noindex” tag

And that’s when a noindex tag comes in handy.

Say that I had wanted the post referenced above to never appear in search engines at all, but just on the site. I could have added a noindex tag to it using the same SEO tool I used to add the 301 redirect.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 2.58.07 PM

When is it a smart time to add a noindex tag?

  • Maybe you have a special offer that is only for people already in your audience, but not for newcomers or window shoppers.
  • Maybe you want to make a special announcement to your existing readers, and you even want to post about it on social media, but it wouldn’t have any relevance for a new search engine visitor.
  • Maybe you’re trying out a new post format and you want some feedback, so you publish the post, knowing that only your die-hard audience members (daily visitors) will see it. You don’t want this indexed.

I could go on.

The point is: Optimizing for search engines also includes determining what posts you don’t want indexed. The noindex tag gives you some choice in the matter.

(Important note: The noindex tag is not perfect. Sometimes search engines index the page anyway. So just be careful.)

5. Use the Canonical URL to let search engines know which page to index

For each episode of The Digital Entrepreneur, we post the podcast in two places:

  1. Once on Rainmaker.fm (here)
  2. Once on DigitalCommerce.com (here)

Why?

Because Rainmaker.fm is the network site, which hosts the RSS feeds that podcast aggregators like iTunes use. So we have to publish it there.

But we’d rather visitors go to DigitalCommerce.com, because once on that site they are more likely to start a free membership, which could lead to a paid membership, which hopefully then leads people to the Rainmaker Platform.

Do you see the issue? Two posts, with very similar content. How do search engines know where to point people?

We tell them — using the Canonical URL field in the SEO settings.

Since we want people to end up at the episode page on DigitalCommerce.com, we use that link when we edit the Canonical URL field on the Rainmaker.fm post.

Like this:

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 3.31.32 PM

So, in theory, and hopefully in practice, the DigitalCommerce.com page is the only one that shows up in search engine results when someone types in a relevant keyword for that content.

This tip is important to keep in mind not just when you operate multiple websites, but also when you syndicate your content on other websites.

Say you syndicate a post on LinkedIn, Medium, or as a guest post on someone else’s site — make sure you point the Canonical URL tag back to the original post on your site.

6. Commit to doing regular keyword research to confirm your hypotheses

We all have hypotheses about the language our audiences use and the terms they search for. Some of us are better informed than others, depending on the quality of the reading and listening we do.

But all of us could benefit from regularly stepping back, rolling up our sleeves, and doing good ol’ keyword research.

As Brian said:

“Let me be frank … it’s simply negligent to not use keyword research to understand the language of your audience so that you can reflect it back to them.”

You’ll greatly benefit from having a tool like this right there at your fingertips while you’re writing and editing posts:

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 9.04.31 PM

Hitting “Research” provides me with an analysis of the provided keyword phrase, as well as alternate suggestions and their relative popularity and competition level. I can also see useful Google Trends information.

How might this be helpful? Well, for example, “SEO tips” might be provided as an alternative. If it has a higher popularity but a lower competition level, I might consider reworking my headline.

Or I might look at the alternatives and realize my hypothesis was right.

Either way, I’m more informed about the phrases people are actually using, which helps me create more useful content.

Also, as an aside, it helps to have a content optimizer:

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 8.58.05 PM

I’d say that page is optimized.

Full disclosure: I stacked the deck in my favor for the screenshot above by analyzing this post about content marketing from Copyblogger. I mean, how could that post not score 100, right? ?

The keyword research and content optimizer tools are built into the Rainmaker Platform and StudioPress Sites. I don’t use them on every post, but I do use them regularly to check myself and make sure the post I’m working on and my site as a whole are presenting themselves accurately to search engines.

And now, tip number seven …

7. Pay attention to your post’s reading-difficulty level

Remember our most important premise when it comes to SEO: optimizing for people is optimizing for search engines.

A big part of optimizing for people is using language that can be easily understood. How sophisticated that language should be depends on the audience and context.

For example, the reading level for a website about fantasy football probably shouldn’t be the same as, say, The New Yorker. Audience expectations are very different.

But how do you know the reading level of your post? I check it using the content optimizer tool I showed you above.

The reading-difficulty level for this post is “Standard.”

I checked the reading-difficulty level for one of our bracketology posts at AssemblyCall.com. It was “Very Difficult.” I’m fairly certain we don’t need an article about bracket predictions to be more sophisticated than a post about SEO. That was a useful check.

How does this relate to SEO? Well, one of the factors that has been given increasing importance in search engines over the last few years is the level of activity people actually have with your content.

If people click your link, start reading, and then find they are not connecting with your material because you’re using big words and talking over them, what are they likely to do? Click the Back button and find another post. Search engines will take note of that.

Ensuring that your content is at a reading level appropriate for your audience will give you a greater likelihood of connecting, keeping visitors engaged, and improving your stature with search engines.

Which, after all, is the ultimate goal — and in that order.

You don’t improve your stature with search engines and then keep visitors engaged and connect better.

You connect and engage first, watch your search rankings improve, and then make smart, subtle tweaks like the ones I described above to make your search results even more effective.

What other SEO steps do you habitually take with all or most of your posts? Let us know in the comments below.

The post 7 Easy-to-Forget SEO Steps You Need to Consider Every Time You Publish appeared first on Copyblogger.

Try the Rainmaker Platform for Free (No Credit Card Required)

rainmaker platform - test-drive rainmaker for free, no credit card required

A lot has happened since we launched Rainmaker two years ago.

What started as an easier, more secure, and maintenance-free way to build a powerful website has become a complete digital marketing and sales solution.

The website aspects of the Platform are even more powerful, and are now complemented by integrated email, marketing automation, an online course builder, podcasting and content optimization tools, and much more.

I’ve spent a lot of time using the Platform myself over at Rainmaker.FM and Digital Commerce Institute, as well as my personal sites Unemployable and Further. This has been important for our software development process, because if we ran into something Rainmaker couldn’t do, we simply built it.

We had put off moving Copyblogger to the Platform, because a lot of what powers Rainmaker was custom-developed for this site years ago. More or less the same technology, until …

One day, I logged in to Copyblogger to get something done and realized I couldn’t do it myself like I could with our other sites. Rainmaker had left our legacy technology behind.

Naturally, I complained to the dev team. I didn’t tell them to do anything … I was mainly just venting.

So, they went ahead and moved Copyblogger to Rainmaker without telling me. The next time I logged in, it was a pleasant shock — after 10 years on WordPress, I saw the beautiful Rainmaker dashboard instead.

I think you’ll have a similar experience when you try Rainmaker for yourself. And the great thing is, we’re improving the Platform with a new release each and every month.

Test-drive Rainmaker for 14 days free (No credit card required)

We’ve made some recent changes to make getting you familiar with Rainmaker even easier.

First of all, we’ve eliminated the need to enter your credit card information up front. We initially required that to attract serious prospects only, because each Rainmaker preview site takes up server resources.

This is no longer an issue given our evolved server infrastructure. So, if that had been a barrier for you, it’s not anymore.

To add to that, I wrote a series of emails designed to guide you through key features of Rainmaker during your free trial, with direct links into various parts of the admin area to get you rolling even faster. This is in addition to guided prompts in the admin area itself, plus an extensive Knowledge Base and instructional videos.

And of course, support is standing by to answer questions and provide a helping hand.

So, head over and check it out for yourself. Our email service will include tagging and advanced segmentation capabilities starting next month, and you’ll lock in our current pricing for the life of your account (yes, the price will be going up soon).

Take Rainmaker for a free test-drive today.

The post Try the Rainmaker Platform for Free
(No Credit Card Required)
appeared first on Copyblogger.

3 Resources to Help Your Content-Driven Website Flourish

how digital marketing grows your business

Although it’s only January, I refer to this time of the year as “pre-pre-spring” (in the Northern Hemisphere). Call me optimistic.

The gingerbread, cinnamon, and pine aromas of the holidays have certainly faded, but the sweet smell of flowers blooming and warm breezes haven’t quite arrived yet.

Still, it feels like the seasons are shifting and we’re moving toward a new beginning.

And we don’t have to impatiently wait for this change to occur — a powerful, content-driven website works for your business any time of the year. You can start building or expanding yours today.

This week’s Copyblogger Collection is a series of three handpicked articles that will show you:

  • How to discover your strengths and supercharge your business
  • How to become an unstoppable digital content creator
  • How to gain an unfair business advantage

As you work your way through the material below, the following lessons will help you set business goals for your content.


Discover Your Strengths and Supercharge Your Business

Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been building your business for a while, you may feel confused about what you should focus on next. What’s the best step to take so you make the right type of progress?

In Discover Your Strengths and Supercharge Your Business, Sonia Simone shows you a way to narrow down all of the ideas running through your mind.

She outlines a simple plan that helps you slow down, take a deep breath, and produce the content that matters to you and your audience.


The Unstoppable Rise of the Digital Content Creator

long-live-digital-content

In 2016 it’s possible to have a stellar online presence without having any computer coding skills or hiring someone to code for you. How did that happen?

Demian Farnworth wanted to give you a little history lesson and pay homage to those who have paved the way for contemporary digital content creators.

The Unstoppable Rise of the Digital Content Creator explains why content marketers are living in the ideal time and who we have to thank for our current technological advantages.


5 Ways a Minimum Viable Audience Gives You an Unfair Business Advantage

business-advantage

In 5 Ways a Minimum Viable Audience Gives You an Unfair Business Advantage, Brian Clark examines the specific benefits of starting with an audience rather than going straight to the development of a product or service.

It’s the Rainmaker Digital way and a process you can use for your own business that will help your minimum viable product (MVP) succeed.

Brian says:

Serving that audience with valuable free content revealed loads of useful insight into the problems and desires not currently met in the broader market.

Enough, in fact, for us to make our MVPs more “viable” from the start than we would have been able to otherwise. This led to better initial sales momentum, higher customer satisfaction, and ultimately more profit.

Unleash your potential

While you’re inventing ways to unleash your potential this year, we invite you to join us for our upcoming free webinar.

On Thursday, January 21, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Chris Garrett and Jerod Morris will walk you through 13 “hidden” features of the Rainmaker Platform that can make a big difference in your sales and marketing … once you know they’re there.

They’ll explain how to use these features, why they were included in the first place, and what situations call for their use.

Click here to register for this event:
Unleash These 13 “Hidden” Features of the Rainmaker Platform

We’re honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 18, 2016, so we’ll see you back here on Tuesday with a fresh article.

The post 3 Resources to Help Your Content-Driven Website Flourish appeared first on Copyblogger.

Free Webinar: Unleash These 13 ‘Hidden’ Features of the Rainmaker Platform

discover the power under the hood

The Rainmaker Platform has so many useful features, it’s easy to overlook a few here and there.

But one of those overlooked features may be exactly the feature you need to attract your next audience member or convert your next customer.

In this webinar, the sixth in our six-part Rainmaker Platform webinar series, Chris Garrett and I will walk you through 13 “hidden” features of the Rainmaker Platform that can make a big difference in your sales and marketing … once you know they’re there. ?

And, how to use them.

Among the features you’ll learn about:

  • Rainmaker’s front-end post and page editor
  • The built-in editorial calendar
  • Simple A/B testing
  • Redirect links … which can be created in two easy ways
  • The avatar shortcode (Rafal Tomal’s favorite!)

Plus many more.

Not only will we explain how to use these features, we’ll explain why they were included in the first place and what situations call for their use.

We hope you’ll join us. The webinar is free, and it takes place on Thursday, January 21, 2016 beginning at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (4:00 p.m. CT).

And yes, we’ll take questions as we go.

Click here to register for this event:
Unleash These 13 “Hidden” Features of the Rainmaker Platform

Even if you can’t attend live, still register. Once the replay is ready, we’ll email everyone who registered so you can get caught up and learn about these exciting Rainmaker Platform features.

We’ll talk to you next Thursday!

The post Free Webinar: Unleash These 13 ‘Hidden’ Features of the Rainmaker Platform appeared first on Copyblogger.