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Advanced Blogging With WordPress

Friday, September 8th, 2017

Break Through Into the Blogging Industry with WordPress

If you have a blog of any size or you desire to grow a large blog, this article is for you.

Simple Tool to Manage your Content Flow

Do you work inside of WordPress and you have multiple writers or others who manage the content for your blog? Rather than messing around with spreadsheets and Google Docs, try EditFlow plugin for WordPress. EditFlow is a plugin that allows you to do things that are, for example, only visible for editors. Only the people that are editors can see the comment. You can have a dialogue right inside the post! It provides a searchable and sortable calendar so you can see all the articles that are written in an easy way. You can post “needs images” and other comments in the sidebar to manage your content flow.

Is it Too Late to Start Blogging?

As a new blogger, you might think that it is too late. You might think that the other successful bloggers have too much of a head start. With blogging, any person can develop a voice. People starting now to blog are not too late. It’s certainly more cluttered and there are a lot more blogs, but this opens up opportunities to network and grow faster. While there are a lot of people blogging today, there is no one that has the exact same set of experiences, stories, skills and perspectives. Harness what you have that is unique. It’s a great way to break through into the blogging industry.

Techniques to Attract and Engage your Blog Visitors

The editorial mix that goes into a successful blog varies. But for the most part, successful blog editors post one newsletter each week (on Thursday or Friday) with tips for the weekend. With a team of writers and a few guest writers, two original articles are posted daily. To engage with as many social networks as possible, it takes a lot of time. So, in order to succeed you must plan and strategically schedule your resources. During the week there is usually a “challenge” assignment for visitors to take-away and build upon the tutorials that are published earlier in the week.

Model for Blogging:

People are much more likely to read tutorials if they have been inspired to do so. The key things that are used for success of a unique blog include a successful editorial model. Each blog is different, but for the most part this editorial calendar works.

Build three things into the editorial calendar:

  1. Information – 90%
  2. Inspiration
  3. Interaction

This is all free content. Four day a week posts, twice daily, plus a summary newsletter once a week to roll-up the tips and outline information posted during the week.

What Is Long-Form Content and Why Does It Work?

Long form content is a trend that is doing very well on blogs. Long-form content can be called “meatier” content. While typical news-friendly content includes articles with 500-800 word range, long-form content is different. A typical blogger’s average piece of content was around 1,000 words or fewer. Articles focused heavily on SEO, including keyword optimization. The only problem with this strategy? Bloggers were getting a lot of search traffic, but not a lot of return traffic, direct traffic, or brand searches, and user engagement metrics – stuff like bounce rate and time on site – were pretty low.

Long-form content, on the other hand, isn’t just rewarded by the search engines – it also resonates with readers. By creating longer, more in-depth content that provides tons of value to an audience, bloggers’ content strategy has seen success with improved engagement metrics.

Ideal Blog Content Size

Based on statistical data, the ideal blog post takes seven minutes to read and is around 1,600 words long. This is not light reading but is well worth the extra time and investment because some blog editors report that with long-form content, the average time on site has more than tripled!

Extra Content Ideas

Contests (with a prize) and polls (or discussions) are important. Community and engagement is key. Anything you can get a reader to “do” on your site is important. Second, it teaches you a great deal about your readers. At the end of the month, a monthly poll with a follow-up post to re-visit the data is useful to readers. Additionally, other blogs will consider your content good research data that they will want to link to.

Forums – although a bit of old school technology, is still interesting for readers. Readers can have discussions and show off some of their own ideas. Forums are easy to setup and in most cases, your web hosting provider will offer you a free tool that is easy to use.

Plugins for Functionality Improvement

With the growth of long-form content, the user scrolls down to read the entire article. This causes the sidebar items, in most cases, to scroll up or disappear temporarily. The ability to keep some of the most important sidebar items visible and remain persistent is a great solution to add to an existing blog.

  • Floating Sidebar
  • Lightboxes
  • Exit live boxes
  • End of post boxes appear
  • What do you want the user to see when they get to the end of the page? If you can deliver something different there, you can increase page views or newsletter subscribers.

Where can I get these plugins?

Most of these plugins are available at WordPress.com. If you are looking for a more specific plugin geared toward professional blogging, you might consider joining problogger.com. If you become a member of problogger.com/download-center you will find all the plugins that they have developed for professional blogging.

The plugins for bloggers include:

  • Facebook tracking,
  • Sticky Top Bar messenger,
  • Flicker plugin to suck in images into your blog
  • EasyDigitalDownloads – manage all your eBook sales from within WordPress
  • WordPress editorial calendar – helps to visualize all posts that are scheduled and you can drag and drop then around in order to change the posting date

Monetizing your Website

There are heaps of ways that you can monetize your content. If you are limited to only a few and can’t spend too much time testing all the monetization options available, then you can limit your energy to eBooks and affiliate links.

eBooks Monetization

eBooks are a profitable income streams. If you launch 4-5 eBooks a year, it provides a good little income for you over the years. Writing and publishing eBooks is an entire strategy that will be outlined in a different article. There is so much information that is needed in order to fully explain this monetization strategy.

More Monetization Ideas

Affiliate promotions such as Amazon links, provide a good income too. Newsletter ads and banner ads can be lucrative too as a publisher. Good old fashioned Google AdSense can be profitable for a blogger if you offer a high-level target with your content. It’s hard to beat in terms of direct sales. As with any monetization, be patient, persistent, and use only high-quality, original content.

Web Hosting for Blogs

While most bloggers are using WordPress, there are some bloggers who still use b2evolution or other blogging tools. For the most part, all web hosting providers offer WordPress for free. The question as to whether you need a bargain basement web host or a partner that actually specializes in WordPress with plugin assistance or migration help may be necessary. Every blog is different and which type of web hosting you use is something that you, the business owner, will need to decide. Build a brand that advertisers will want to align with and even with small traffic, if you have really good topics, you can earn a nice living with your blog.

Biased Media Undermine American Democracy

Friday, September 8th, 2017

Liberals, progressive and Democrats should think critically about the negative impacts of widespread media bias on American democracy. There simply is no doubt that virtually all mainstream media regularly show their strong bias against president Trump and his administration. These media have convinced themselves that they are working to save American democracy from an incompetent, corrupt and dangerous president. And those on the left eat up the negative coverage, which means more money for the anti-Trump networks, newspapers and magazines. Never mind that he was elected fairly and legally.

It seems that the leftist media would only be happy if Trump was driven out of office by any means. Such a victory would confirm the undemocratic power of a free press that replaces a military coup with a media one..

Here is my point: More Americans should seriously consider the larger question of whether such a perversion of freedom of the press undermines our democracy. Why? Because instead of fairly presenting genuine news the opinion loaded negative coverage has the goal of bringing down Trump and overturning the election result. The press establishment overwhelmingly filled with liberals and progressives wanted Hillary Clinton and refuse to accept defeat. After all, despite a mighty effort, the media failed to elect Clinton. It continues to seek retribution by bashing Trump and ignoring the many failings of the Clinton campaign.

The press probably feels some responsibility for Trump’s success during the primary season. Coverage of Trump’s beating up of his Republican opponents was extreme. Now the press is getting even.

Those who like the biased anti-Trump media coverage should reflect on how all that coverage robs them of getting solid information on myriad local, state and world events. In other words, the biased media dominance inevitably leads to a dumbing down of the public about what is really happening that merits news coverage as well as details about what is happening in the sphere of public policy. Journalism itself has been degraded to such a degree that for much of the population no one believes anything coming from the opinion-loaded media. Apologists for the left and right unload opinions rather than enlightening information and analysis. Rational people do not trust the press.

Consider the 2017 study prepared by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard. It revealed what reasonable people would consider a disturbing level of media bias against president Trump. Here are the fractions of negative news coverage towards Trump: CNN and NBC, 93%; CBS, 91%; New York Times, 87%; Washington Pose, 83%. FOX had the most equal coverage, with 52% negative.

To dispel any doubt about the widespread perception of media bias, also consider a June 2017 Rasmussen survey of likely American voters. “Fifty percent (50%) think most reporters are biased against the president, up two points from January. Just four percent (4%) think most reporters are biased in Trump’s favor. Given the president’s testy relationship with the media, however, it’s not surprising that 76% of Republicans and 51% of voters not affiliated with either major political party believe most reporters are biased against the president, a view shared by only 24% of Democrats.” Perhaps the most important finding is that “Nearly 90% of voters who Strongly Approve of the job the president is doing think most reporters are biased against Trump and rate media coverage of him as poor.”

These results support the view that all the negative coverage may strengthen the Trump base, which largely have stopped reading and listening to what they think is fake news. News based on reporting of facts has been replaced by opinion and a near total emphasis on what Trump says rather than on what he and his administration have does. In other words, rhetoric preempts accomplishments, and those positive accomplishments from a conservative perspective are also viewed negatively by the leftist press. Information about governance is purposely kept out of the media limelight to allow Trump rhetoric to get endless vicious criticism.

The core issue is whether the press is giving itself too much credit for presenting the truth. In fact, what is happening is the presentation of opinion not objective facts that reveal the truth. Truth requires objectivity and a concerted emphasis on undisputed facts. Instead, opinion, even in so-called news stories, is routinely presented.

Biased media hiding behind freedom of the press should disgust all Americans. We all are being robbed of huge amounts of news and information. Amazingly, for example, network CBS news used its whole hour broadcast to presenting anti-Trump laced coverage of the recent Charlottsville event. That is virtually a nightly occurrence at CNN where only anti-Trump diatribes are presented in multiple shows. The front pages of the main newspapers are the same. Real news from all over the country and the world is not given to the public the way it used to be.

The credibility of the media has taken a lethal blow. What they deem good for their business now will ultimately backfire as Americans for years to come seek and find alternative news sources or eliminate news from their lives. A truly informed public is needed for a quality democracy, and we are losing that.

Yes, a free press is vital for democracy. But a deeply biased press is not. Like so many others I deeply miss what journalism used to be when the news was rich with facts and events and not, as it is now, riddled with political opinions.