Category Archives: Guest Posting

How to Improve Your Guest Posting Strategy by 1716%

guest posting

Guest posting has been one of the key attributes of growing my blog over the last five years.

When my blog first launched in 2008 I managed to spew out over 30 guest posts in about a 90 day period.

That was on top of writing regular content for my own site 3-5 times per week.

#hustle

I contribute that onslaught of guest posting to putting my blog on the map, getting tons of new traffic, readers and credible back links.

Guest posting is still a strategy I implement to this day and I try to guest post at least one to two times a month when I can.

guest posting

I like to think of myself as a “quasi-expert” when it comes to guest posting.  I’ve written guest posts for over 70+ different sites while also writing for bigger sites like U.S. News, MarketWatch, and Equifax.

I’ll showcase one of the strategies that has worked well for me and how I drastically could have done it better.

Note: This is a strategy that I’ll be focusing on for every guest post I do going forward.

My Main Focus on Guest Posting Has Been….

One of the things I have been focusing  on with my guest posting strategy is making sure that I get a link to my Google Plus authorship. I’ve put a lot of faith in believing that Google authorship will be huge allowing my name and voice to stick out amongst the crowd.

If you haven’t set up a Google author profile yet check out these blog posts on Copyblogger that talks about the importance of claiming authorship and how you can set it up.

Below is a screen shot of an example of a guest post I did for ChristianPF.com where I got a link from my Google authorship profile as well as a link to my blog homepage and a link to my book.

Trifecta!  :)

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 2.38.07 PM
My byline

This strategy has worked well demonstrating to Google that my authorship is legit and also that my blog is legit.

I mentioned this has worked well for me, but I’d like to show you a few examples on how I could have done it better.

The email list grows.

A blogging buddy of mine and entrepreneur James Clear from JamesClear.com shared a strategy with me that was mind numbing.

James has an awesome blog where he writes anything from entrepreneurship to effectively changing your bad habits into good ones. When talking with James…

I learned that his email list grew from zero to over 20,000 in the span of nine months.

Now just in case that doesn’t mean a lot to you, that’s freaking huge. I’ve been blogging for over five years and my email list has just now gotten up to about 7,500.

Can it be repeated? Well here is one little trick that James did that we all could learn a valuable less from. Below is a screen shot that James did on Medium.com.

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 2.55.09 PM
James Clear guest post

The guest post looks like a traditional guest post, but look down at the screen shot of his closing byline.

You’ll see that he also gets a link directly to his blog homepage (which I still think is very important), but if you look closely at his other link you will see the anchor text to join his free newsletter.

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 2.55.01 PM
James’s byline

Offer Even More Value

What that link takes you to is a landing page on James’ site that is dedicated clearly to getting email newsletter signups.  You can see the actual page here.

The last time we spoke James had mentioned that the newsletter landing page converts between 50% to 70%, meaning that approximately three out of every five people that visit this page have come from one of his guest posts and have signed up for his newsletter.

I think the industry standard is more like 5% to 10% (don’t quote me on that), so the fact that he’s five to six times that is utterly amazing. This simple trick has turned his guest posting into an email newsletter machine.

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 2.56.46 PM
Super successful landing page

Is James’ way the only way? Take a look at another way of doing it.

Savvy Business Networking.

John Corcoran of SmartBusinessRevolution.com recently did a guest post for my blog on business networking.

 

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 2.56.09 PM
John Corcoran guest post

 

Once again his guest post looked like the typical guest post until you look at the byline.

At the end John, like me, gets a link to his Google Plus profile and a link to his homepage .  What John does that’s a bit different is is he also gives my readers a call to action be enticing them  to download his free eBook titled “How to Create Your Own Personal Network Plan“.

 

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 2.57.20 PM
John’s byline

 

If you click on the link you’ll see that John has created a custom landing page specifically for my readers. (See the screenshot below).

I’m sure that John has created this template for other guest posting opportunities where he can easily swap out the name of the blog.  Either way it looks very personable and makes you feel like you’re special because you came to this landing page.

This takes a little bit more work than James’ strategy above, but is equally effective.

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 2.57.37 PM
John’s super slick landing page

Why is This More Effective?

This method is so much more effective because your limiting the number of choices people have when they visit your site.  When people visit your homepage for the first time they may click around some but without a clear call to action, they’ll most likely eventually leave.

It takes some serious hustle to get somebody to your blog for the first time.  You better take advantage because they may never come back.

How Am I Going to Use This Strategy?

I’m basically going to follow the same format, but I’m hoping a new secret weapon will help with conversions.

What’s this secret weapon you ask?  Glad you asked.  :)

I’m been testing LeadPages on my site after the new site design.  LeadPages is a landing page platorm that has several pre-built templates that you can choose from.   What makes LeadPages so unique is that they are constantly testing their landing pages to see what converts the best.

They are constantly sharing case studies of how other people are using their landing pages and adding new templates all the time.   In a future post, I’ll talk more about how we’re using LeadPages in other ways, but for today I’ll show you the landing page I’ve created for my guest posting campaign.

Here’s the link to the landing page I’ve been working on.  What makes LeadPages so cool is that you just upload the images and it automatically resizes everything.

LeadPages screenshot LeadPages screenshot

You just have to write the copy and sync it with your favorite email newsletter service.  For us, that’s Aweber.   You can read more about how to setup an email newsletter with Aweber here.

Do You Have to Use LeadPages?

Absolutely not.  I could have created a similar landing page on the blog and it would probably be just fine.  Why I’m leaning towards LeadPages is because they’ve already done all the testing for me.   They’ve tested the layouts, call to action buttons, text fonts, text colors – everything!

They also have analytics so you can see how many visitors you get to the page and how many actually sign up.   In other words, LeadPages is #legit.  :)

I’ll definitely share some of the details after my next guest post so stay tuned!

Are you currently guest posting for other sites?  Are you using a similar strategy? 

 

Step by Step Guide: How To Easily Move Your WordPress Blog From One Host To Another

wp blog

wp blog

A few weeks ago I bought an already existing site for the first time. Another blogger was wanting to unload on the site and I thought it would be a good pick up to help out with some of my other online projects.

Transferring the funds via PayPal, buying the site was very simple. The one thing that didn’t cross my mind until the transaction was nearly complete was,

“How in the heck do I get the site on my website host?”

Having never bought an already exsisting site, I was clueless on how to proceed. The site owner suggested that I contact Jesse Michelsen from AntiNecktie to help me get it transferred over. Done!

Jesse made the process seem uber simple. Because of that, I solicited him to write up this post that shows you step by step how to do it.

In the event your lazy like me, feel free to contact Jesse and I’m sure he’ll be happy to help you out. :)

Enter Jesse…

*******

For every blogger, there comes a time when he or she has to change web hosts. This task sometimes comes from selling your blog, or outgrowing your current host which are both great problems to have. Whatever the case may be, this tutorial should come in handy to all you bloggers out there.

First, let’s talk about what a WordPress Install consists of:

In a WordPress blog, you’ve got the WordPress PHP files – These files are downloaded from WordPress.org manually or by using one of your hosts SimpleScript or similar installers, are installed on your server in your web directory and get served up by your web server. They are the core of your WordPress site.

Then there is the WordPress MySQL database – Without your database, the WordPress core files can’t serve any information. This database houses everything about your blog, all your posts, your usernames and almost all your settings.

Next up is your domain name – Your domain name points to the IP address of your server. This is controlled by the Domain Name System better know as DNS records. You will need to redirect your DNS record to your new host, so your domain name is pointing to the right server out there in Internet land.

There are some minor details in the mix, but changing these three things; your WordPress PHP files, MySQL Database and DNS records are necessary to move your WordPress site from one host to another.

Let’s get down to the details.

We need to collect all the information you’ll need for the move. Here’s a quick list:

  1. Old host cPanel (or alternative control panel) credentials: You need to be able to access your files on the old host.
  2. Domain registrar credentials: if your domain is registered through a third party such as Godaddy, you’ll need these to change the DNS records.
  3. New host cPanel credentials: as with your old host, you’ll need to be able to log in and upload the WordPress PHP files and MySQL database backup to the new host.

Important: I almost always do this kind of job in the middle of the night so there aren’t any noticeable interruptions in service. Things can and sometimes do go wrong when moving hosts.

Okay, let’s get started.

Log into your current host via cPanel. Typically you can reach your cPanel login area by going to yourdomainname.com/cpanel.

Once you log in, you should see a “Find” box near the top on the sidebar. Start typing in that box and you’ll notice your cPanel options start to get narrowed down to only those that contain the text you typed in. Type “file’ to get your File Manager options and click on the File Manager.

Open cPanel File Manager

After clicking File Manager, you’ll get a pop-up that asks where to launch the file manager. Select Home Directory and click Go.

Select your home directory and hit go

In the File Manager, you have two panels. One on the left is the directory structure tree where you can select locations to view. On the right side is the view panel that shows you the folders and files in the directory you’ve selected on the left. Since we elected to open the File Manager to your home directory, you should already have your home directory highlighted in the left side panel (eg “/home/yourusername”) and the contents of your home directory including your web directory (public_html), in the right side panel.

Highlight your public_html directory in the view panel by clicking on it and then click the Compress button in the menu bar of the File Manager. What this will do is make a compressed copy of your web directory that you can download much easier than downloading individual files and directories. Choose your compression format (default .zip is fine), the file location and name (again the default location and name work just fine here), and click Compress Files.

Compress your public_html directory

Choose your compression format

Once the compression is finished and you hit Close on the compression results window, you’ll have a new file called public_html.zip in your home directory. Click on this new .zip file in your view pane and click the Download button in the File Manager.

Download the created public_html.zip file to your computer

Tip: Before leaving the File Manager, there is one more thing to do now that will save us time later. Locate your wp-config.php file in the view pane, located within your public_html directory and click Edit in your File Manager menu. Inside the wp-config.php you’ll find all the information for your MySQL database including the Database Name which we’ll need very soon. Note that down somewhere.

Time to Backup

That takes care of your WordPress core files but we still need to back up and download your WordPress MySQL database. Since we are already logged into cPanel, the easiest way to do this is by using the cPanel Backup feature. Go back to your cPanel window (the File Manager should have opened in a new tab/window. If you don’t have the cPanel window open anymore, navigate back to yourdomainname.com/cpanel), type “backup” into the Find field and click on Backups.

Click Backups to back up your MySQL database

Note: You’ll probably notice you can back up your home directory and full account here too, but the way we did it via File Manager is generally quicker when moving hosts. However, if you are cancelling your old hosting account, I recommend doing a Full Backup from the Backups section for historical purposes in addition to the partial backups we’re using to move to a new host.

Scroll down under Partial Backups and you’ll see “Download a MySQL Database Backup” as well as a list of the current MySQL databases. Clicking on any of these database names will download the database backup to your computer. Download the database for the website you’re moving. Remember, we noted the database name from the wp-config.php file earlier.

Click on the database you want to back up to download it

Tip: As soon as you download your MySQL database, it’s a good idea to change your old wp-config.php file via the File Manager so that your website isn’t adding/updating information in the database anymore. Merging database backups is not fun.

You now have your WordPress core files and your MySQL database backup that can be moved to your new host and restored. Let’s continue.

Note: At this point, you have not pointed your domain name to the new host so to access cPanel, you’ll need to locate the direct server URL sent to you by your hosting company in your “Welcome” email. Alternatively, if you assigned a second domain name to your new host account, you can use that domain name to access cPanel.

Time to Upload

Log in to your new host via cPanel. Type ‘file’ into the Find field and click on File Manager. Once the File Manager is open to your home directory as we did before, click Upload in the File Manager menu bar.

Click upload to upload your old public_html.zip

That will bring you to the Upload screen. Click Browse here and select your public_html.zip file that you downloaded from your old host. The upload will begin automatically and an “Upload complete” message will appear in the bottom right corner when the upload has been processed.

Browse and select your old public_html.zip

Caution: Before going any further, take a look at the directory structure in your File Manager. Is there already a public_html folder in the home directory? There should be. Verify that it is empty (or only contains a cgi-bin directory) and that it is where you intend to place your WordPress core files from you old host!

Once the upload is finished, you should see the public_html.zip file in File Manager, in the home directory of the new host user. Select public_html.zip and click Extract from the File Manager menu bar. This will bring up a dialogue box that allows you to choose where to unzip the file contents. We zipped up the entire public_html directory on the old host, so you’ll want to extract the zip into the home directory and it will put your WordPress core files into the existing public_html directory on the new host. Please reread the caution above to insure you don’t overwrite important files.

Extract your old public_html files from the zip

Verify that your public_html directory is full of your old WordPress core files now. This can easily be done by checking the wp-config.php file under your public_html directory on the new host. If the database name in the wp-config.php file matches what you noted down from the old host, the old public_html.zip has been extracted into the right place.

Restore Database

Now you need to restore your MySQL database onto the new host. Go back to the cPanel home on the new host and type ‘mysql’ into the Find field. We have to create a new database before we can restore the old database backup. Click on MySQL Database Wizard.

MySQL Wizard

Enter a new database in the provided field and click Next Step

Name your database

Now you need to create a new user for this database. Enter a username and password into the boxes and click next. Tip: For better security, use the password generator provided on the Create User screen.

Create your database user and password

On the next screen, note down the database name, username and the password you created. You’ll need these very soon. Select the All Privileges check box on the screen and click next to finish the database creation.

select privileges

Now go back to the cPanel home page and type ‘mysql’ into the find box again. This time, click on phpMyAdmin in the results. We’ll use phpMyAdmin to import our old data into the new database.

phpMyAdmin

When phpMyAdmin open (you may have to log in here. Use your cPanel credentials at the login prompt if it appears) you’ll notice the interface is similar to the File Manager with a list of databases on the left and your view panel to the right, with actions you can perform on the databases. Select your new database from the list on the left, and click Import from the view panel on the right.

Select upload in phpMyAdmin

Leave the options on this page as the default. Click Choose File on the Import page, browse your computer for the database file you downloaded from your old host and click Go down at the bottom.

Click go to upload and import your old database

The upload may take a minute but you’ll get a success message at the top of the import page when it is finished. Close phpMyAdmin.

Now you need to connect your WordPress core files to your new MySQL database via the wp-config.php file. Open up the File Manager again on the new host, select the public_html directory in the left side directory tree, and locate the wp-config.php file in the view pane. Click Edit in the File Manager menu bar.

Select your wp-config.php from public_html

Here you’ll need to change the database name, username and password to match that of your new host. Remember, you noted these down earlier when we created the new database and user.

Edit your wp-config file to use the new database information

That just about does it for the move. Your WordPress core files have been moved to the new host, your MySQL database restored and everything is in it’s proper place. Oh but wait, we can’t forget to point your domain name to the new host!

Test, Test, Test….

First, it’s always best to test your new install to make sure it works. Since there isn’t a domain name assigned to the new server you have a couple options. First, if you got a ‘Welcome’ email from your host with a temporary URL to access your web files, use that to see if your site appears on the temporary URL. If you added your side as an addon domain, you’ll also have a temporary URL you can use (only available on some hosting platforms). If so, you can skip the next part of this guide.

The easiest way to test things is to assign a temporary A Record to your new host server through your DNS provider, also called a Host record or Address record. To do that, log into your DNS provider, most commonly your domain registrar, and navigate to your DNS Management interface, sometimes called your Zone File or Zone Editor.

zone-editor

You’re going to add an A (Host) Record and there are two fields required. First, the host name of the A record. This is assigning a subdomain to your domain. A subdomain comes before your domain name. For example, I like to use ‘dev’ as a subdomain for testing. You would type this into your browser as ‘dev.yourdomainname.com’. The second required field in the A record is the address or the Points to… field. In this field you’ll need to put the IP address of your new host web server.

add-a-record2

To get that IP address, log into cPanel on the new host server again and look at the status bar or Stats bar running along the side of your control panel. In it is all sorts of info about your server including the shared IP address.

Bluehost-stats

A (Host) Record propagation may take up to 2 hours but I can usually access a subdomain within minutes of it being created. If you get a 404 error when going to your new subdomain, give it a little more time.

If you navigate to your new subdomain now, you should see your website.

Note: Clicking anything on the page will usually redirect you back to your live site without the subdomain as WordPress hardcodes your domain name throughout your web pages. Don’t be alarmed, you just need to finish the final step of the process.

Now you can change your domain name to point to your new server. The proper way to do this is to change the nameservers for your domain to your new host’s nameservers. Your nameservers can usually be found in your ‘Welcome’ email from your new host or in your control panel.

set-nameservers

set-nameservers-page

You can also change your main A (Host) Record with the name ‘@’ to point to your new server’s IP address just like you did with your subdomain instead of changing the nameservers but I consider this a temporary solution. Some hosts required your nameservers to point to them, not just A (Host) Records.

And that’s all there is to it! Details will vary between hosts and domain registrars but most of these steps should translate without much fuss between most of the hosts and registrars out there. cPanel is one of the most widely used control panels and the other control panel solutions available are very similar.

If at any time during this process you get lost or overwhelmed, (there’s a reason I suggested doing this during the middle of the night) you should search in your host Knowledge Base or contact a professional to help you with the process.

Jesse Michelsen is a freelance writer, developer and system administrator. He can be found on twitter, writing for one of the Jestem sites or at his new entrepreneurship blog, AntiNecktie, where he shares small business and freelancer tips.

How to Land Guest Posts Like it’s Your Job

I think we can all agree that we would like more readers. No? Maybe it’s just me, but I know when I look at my google analytics, I get really excited when I see the number of unique visitors coming to my site each month rising.

I want to share with you one strategy that I used when I began blogging that helped me land new readers. That strategy is called guest posting.

What is guest posting?

Here’s a little visual comparison between regular blog posting and guest posting.

Guest posting is when you write an article for someone else’s blog and they post it on their site with a link back to your blog. Hopefully your article will be captivating enough that people will be dying to know more about YOU {the guest poster} and click on the link.

What does that mean for you? New readers. New eyeballs. New followers. Google analytics unique visitors goes up.

It’s as easy as that.

Are you ready to start guest posting now?

Here are 3 tips that will help you maximize the guest posting strategy

1.  Start Housekeeping

No, I don’t mean bust out your vacuum and dust rags and start sweeping your floors. I am talking about housekeeping on your blog. Make sure your blog is presentable. Would you host a party at your house without it being in “good order”? Then why would you invite people to come to your website if it’s a hot mess.

  • Make sure you have a good header or logo.
  • Create a detailed “About” page that really illustrates who you are and what your blog is about.
  • Have your social media icons easily visible so that readers can follow you. 
  • Make it simple to find your most popular posts so that you are highlighting your best content.
 

2.  Make Yourself Known

This tip will help you land guest posts on some of the bigger blogs out there. Before you submit a request to guest post on someone else’s blog make sure that they know you. Show them your an interested reader by:

  • Commenting on their website frequently.
  • Following them on twitter, facebook, google+, etc.
  • Engaging with them via social media.

You want to make sure that you are not a stranger to them. The amount of emails and requests they get on a daily basis is overwhelming. Make it known that you are a true fan of their site if you want a chance at them even reading your guest post submission request.

3. Do Your Research

It may sound ridiculous that I would even need to say this, but read their site first and learn about who they are before you bombard them with, “Oh hey, can I guest post on your blog?”

I can not tell you how many guest post submissions I have received over the last few years from bloggers who clearly have never even read my blog. It’s almost absurd. Why would a blogger want to have you on as a guest if you know absolutely nothing about their site or what their readers like?

Also, make sure that you are providing unique content. Don’t send them over a generic post that can easily be found anywhere on the web. Search their blog and find topics they are passionate about. You can alway write something that highlights another article they have already written as long as you give it your voice.

In my first year of blogging at Good Financial Cents I wrote over 30 guest post articles for some of my favorite sites. It’s a great way to gain readership and has helped me land thousands of new readers.

Here are two examples of emails that I have received for guest post submissions.

A quick look at what NOT to do…

An example of an acceptable request…

Guest posting is a great strategy to grow your subscribers and I hope you found these tips to be helpful.

If you want so see what it took to get my blog on the map when I first started, just out my guest post on Pat Flynn’s blog Smart Passive Income where I share my guest posting strategy. It was A LOT of work, but it also resulted in a big payday. You’ll have to read the post to find out. :)