Blogging Archives - Pink Studios

Benefits of Blogging for Your Business

In today’s digital age, getting your business to stand out among a seemingly never-ending pool of competitors is not an easy task. After all, those competitors are doing all that is within their power to ensure that their businesses have a more prominent digital profile than yours. With this in

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mind, trying to position your company in such a way as to drive more traffic to your website — and maybe even diverting it away from your competitors’ sites — is a continual process.

Luckily for business owners seeking to fortify their online presence, there are a few easy tricks that can be leveraged to accomplish that goal in earnest. One such trick is establishing and maintaining a regularly updated blog.

Why Your Business Needs to Blog

For those decision makers who are intent on increasing sales, gaining more exposure and boosting brand awareness, blogging is important for your business website, whether you sell Etsy graphics or s-type load cells. No matter what your business’s specialty is, it’s virtually guaranteed that there will be companies doing almost exactly the same thing you are doing. And, financially speaking, those competitors are trying to get as big of a slice as possible from the same pie you’re trying to eat.

With that in mind, you’ve got to do all that is within your power to differentiate yourself from your competitors. That’s where blogging comes into play. By launching and maintaining a blog, your company will benefit from:

Increased traffic: Blogging organically increases your company’s placement in search engine results, which are determined by complex algorithms. Generally speaking, search engine spiders like content that is relevant, has the name of the author attached to it and is current. The more often you blog, the more often your company’s blog will turn up in search results. And the numbers support that claim, with businesses maintaining blogs saying that they’ve seen their web traffic increase 55 percent thanks to that particular platform.

New customers: With increased traffic comes new eyeballs to the content you’ve created and the products you’re selling. With that in mind, it’s very likely that some of those new visitors will be converted into customers at some point down the line. And research supports that claim, with 57 percent of businesses indicating that they’ve grown their customer base thanks to their blog.

Thought leadership: If you’re in the market for buying a car, for example, it’s likely that you’d rather buy it from someone who is knowledgeable than someone who knows nothing about automobiles. That concept can be applied over a variety of products and industries. Blogging about industry-specific news, developments and ideas proves to your customers that you have your fingers on the pulse of what’s happening. In turn, this helps you become a thought leader in your respective space.

A fortified business: When you hear the word “blog,” you might not think much of it. But the fact of the matter is that in actuality, well-crafted and pertinent blog posts become assets

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to your company. With those assets simply living on your website, traffic will be directed in that direction continually over the years. Put another way, spending 20 minutes today crafting a clever and informative blog post could pay dividends for quite some time. In addition to landing a new customer tomorrow, you could also land a new customer four years from now through the same post. What’s more, according to HubSpot, 70 percent of the traffic that that company receives on a monthly basis is due to posts that were published in previous months.

Starting Your Blog

Are you ready to start writing? It’s important to remember that while starting your own blog is great, you’ve got to maintain it as well. If you’ve crafted the perfect blog post and subsequently welcome a host of new visitors to your website, it’s almost guaranteed that some of those visitors will be curious to read additional content that they

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expect you to produce. In other words, once you’ve attracted them to your website, it’s important that you give them a reason to keep coming back.

Many businesses that launch blogs don’t spend the time necessary to maintain them and likely lose customers along the way because of it. Have you ever visited a company’s website and clicked on its blog only to find out that it hasn’t been updated in a few years? What does that make you think about that particular company?

In order to differentiate yourself from your competitors — something which is essential for businesses wishing to navigate today’s difficult economic climate — you’ve got to provide something that other businesses simply do not. By creating and dispersing informative, entertaining and unique blog posts on your website, you’re able to attract the attention of potential new customers while proving to your existing customers that they’re making the right decision to support your business.

So what are you waiting for? Better get blogging!

Need help setting it up, shoot us an email! We can surely help!

How to Write a Perfect Blog Post

How to Write a Perfect Blog Post

Wondering what does it take to write a perfect blog post?

The world changed irrevocably when the internet entered the homes of millions of people. Presently, the internet is the dominant source of news and media. Newspapers are struggling to stay afloat amidst the onslaught of blogs and social media. An ordinary Joe with a computer and a good idea can become an internet superstar with the right amount of luck and content. However, as “easy” as it sounds, there are literally millions of blogs to compete with for coveted internet traffic. The key is to write quality content in a manner that resonates with the masses. There are several tips and tricks that an aspiring blog superstar can utilize on their way to fame and fortune.

Know your audience

One of the easiest mistakes to make is to not know your audience. What is the motivation behind them visiting your blog? What information are they trying to find out? Gear your writing towards filling this void.

If your blog is targeting the younger generation and your topic is technology, they’ll most likely be familiar with social media trends. There is no need to talk about something your audience already knows. Discuss how technology is evolving beyond social media or what the next big thing will be.

Topic and title

Remember, a blogger writes to not only inform their readers but also entertain. It is important to brainstorm a variety of topics and outline your general thought process. This makes for a more cohesive reading experience.

While your topic can be generic, your title needs to captivate your audience. The title is the first thing your reader will notice.

If your title lacks pizzazz, it may turn off your audience to invest their time in reading the rest of the post.

Keep it short and sweet

When was the last time you read an entire article word for word? Most readers are busy and quickly want information available without rummaging through a novel’s worth of words to access it. This is why it’s important to organize your post that is accessible while maintaining focus.

At the end of the day an aspiring blogger needs to remember that the competition is stacked against them. The information you don’t provide another ambitious blogger will.

Finish strong

Just like any other piece of writing, a strong conclusion is needed. According to college paper writing experts at SolidEssay.com, a conclusion gives you the opportunity to summarize your main arguments or points. If you’re writing about cooking the cheeseburger of the century, the conclusion is the place to remind your audience to not forget the cheese and quickly reiterate the main components to an amazing cheeseburger.

Pictures are your friend

Images can be crucial components to any blog post. It helps keep the readers entertained and motivates them to finish reading the post. Don’t spam your post with random images, take the time to look for quality images and place them in aesthetically pleasing spots throughout the article. Remember to keep your images relevant to the topic as well. There is no reason to add images of cars to a post about alien life.

Finally, SEO!

After writing a high quality post that is focused, organized, and captivating, it is time to optimize for the premier search engine, Google. There is debate whether Google’s algorithm favors long or short posts and the exact number of keywords necessary in order to rank favorably. The key thing is to write high value content, add anchor texts, and promote your writing via social media. For those who are not familiar with the term anchor text, it is words that link to another page or website. There are many free resources that expand on SEO and how to further optimize your post.

 

 

Author bio: As an academic instructor, Jeffrey consults international students on how to write quality essays and research papers. He has recently been employed by SolidEssay.com, which provides academic writing help to high school and university students.

5 Reasons Every Blog Post Needs an Image

5 Reasons Every Blog Post Needs an Image

You slave over every word in your blog posts, pulling in expert quotes and extensive research to prove your point, then write posts worthy of a literary award. Post-publishing, you don’t see the reader engagement you were expecting, and the click-through rate is dismal.

When you forget to add photos and other illustrations to your blog posts, you’re missing out on more than a few clicks. Skyword’s research found that page views were 94 percent higher on average for articles with images versus text-only posts. Adding a relevant image benefits your views, click through rates, and the readability of your post for several reasons:

1. Relevant lead-in — Your introductory paragraph does a great job of bringing your readers into the blog post, but they’re going to process the inviting image at the

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top of the page quicker than 100 words. The first photo should be associated with the overall theme of the blog post, so make it as relevant as possible to avoid disconnects. Also keep the season you’re writing for in mind. Use a monthly calendar for photos to keep track of what you’re using, and whether the pictures also tie-in to upcoming holidays or seasons. Search Engine People also recommends using images to lead into article sections to direct your reader into the flow you prefer.

2. Encourage social sharing — Some social media sites, such as Pinterest and Reddit, put a strong emphasis on quality, eye-catching photography. When you have photos that are distinctive, it gives you a chance to gain some recognition on these sites.

3. Illustrating your instructions — Step-by-step and how-to articles benefit from photos or screencaptures to illustrate each of the steps. Your reader may be confused when you explain an item, but it’s obvious when you include screenshots of the process. Consider whether your article gains clarity if you include an image for each step.

4. Adding you to Google Image search — Getting more search engine exposure is never a bad thing. Including images on your blog pages puts you in Google Image Search. Keep a close eye on the file names for your images for extra search engine optimization opportunities. Use descriptive keywords on your images when you upload the content.

5. Photo content availability — Don’t take up a second career as a professional photographer to get photo content for your blog. Stock photography sites provide royalty-free images for a set fee, providing you with professional-quality work with rights to alter and use on your blog post. Some Creative Commons images are available for commercial usage. Double-check the rights on all of the photos you’re interested in using so you follow the rules. Design Shack recommends perusing your competitors’ blogs and avoiding any stock images or styles that see frequent use for more effective posts and marketing campaigns.

7 Essential Pages Every Blog Should Have

7 Essential Pages Every Blog Should Have

There’s a lot more to a blog than just posting your company’s Christmas party photo. In fact, it’s more than even posting interesting, relevant and engaging content. The truth is, blogs are just as much about not turning people off as they are about selling your content.

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There’s absolutely nothing worse than a disorganized blog where you can’t find any relevant information about the blog’s writer, the company, or its sitemap. Even if the blog is organized, where do you start? Most blogs have some better posts that would make obvious starting points for a new reader – but how do you guide your readers there? Luckily it’s not too hard (and never too late) to get your blog organized. It reflects well on you and your business to offer a place where people can find all the answers to their questions.

Here are seven must-publish pages that will make your blog a breeze for visitors to navigate.

  1. An About Page This is the first page you should craft for your blog. It should inform people why you started the blog, what your aim is and how it relates to your business. People always enjoy seeing a bit of personality on the About page, so include pictures as well as some personal biographical information, such as your love for “Star Wars” movies or passion for running.
  2. A Contact Page You need a contact page because it’s extremely frustrating to be unable to track down the author of a blog when you have a question about the information they post. Offer every conceivable way you can think of to contact you, going well beyond email. Your instant messaging ID, Twitter handle and LinkedIn account should all be included, as well as your work phone number and fax (yes, some people still use them!).
  3. A Sitemap Page Sitemaps are exactly what they sound like: a map of what’s on your site that helps people navigate to the correct page. This should include links to all the other pages mentioned here and should be easily accessible from every other page, too.
  4. A Greatest Hits Page It stands to reason that if a lot of people like a certain post, it should be easy to find. Many bloggers devote a separate page to their most popular posts, which can be a huge help to anyone who may have missed the post the first time around. Even if you don’t actually create a separate page to highlight your most successful posts, you can add them as a widget in your sidebar. WebpageFX has a great example of this on their blog. They employ a “Most Popular Posts” widget that updates automatically according to what’s getting the most hits.
  5. An Archives Page Of course, not every post is going to pop up on your greatest hits page. To allow people to look through your older articles, it’s a good idea to establish an archives page as well. Here people can sift through all the posts you’ve written over the years and search them out by keyword, a great resource that can cut loads of time off of searches.
  6. A FAQ Page Ninety percent of the questions you receive through your blog can be answered definitively on a Frequently Asked Questions page, which will save you the time of having to type the same reply over and over. Keep track of what queries you get most often and add to your page when you notice you’re getting the same question time and again.
  7. Keystone Content Page The Keystone Content Page is a great catchall resource that can be customized to the theme of your blog. It’s essentially evergreen content tailored to whatever industry or theme you write about. For example, say you write a business-oriented blog on selling heavy construction equipment. Your keystone content page could have reviews of all the different types of equipment you’ve written about or include individual compilations for different brands you’ve covered.

Those are my top seven, but do you agree? Are there pages you think are necessary that I didn’t list here? Share them in the comments below! And remember, if you ever need any assistance with the design or content of your blog, drop us a line – we’d love to help! Check out Pink Studios’ portfolio here.

How to Build a Reliable Editorial Calendar

If you’re a committed blogger, it’s important to create and abide by an editorial calendar. Not only will it help you get into the habit of posting content regularly, but also it makes it easier to unveil posts at particular times, such as to coincide with the launch of a new product or promote an upcoming fundraiser. Keep reading to discover some techniques and tools that can make this task much more manageable.

Arrange Your Ideas

If you’ve got plenty of possibilities in mind for how to keep blog readers interested but are having trouble figuring out when each one is ready for the public, that’s a common struggle. A service called Divvy HQ could help keep the creativity flowing without making you get overwhelmed.

Whether you’re involved in writing content, marketing through social media channels or both, this solution lets you see all ideas and objectives at a glance, categorized by phases of readiness, from the review stage through to when something gets published. The lowest pricing tier is $60 per month, which allows you to have three calendars and as many as six people accessing them.

Running a personal blog or just don’t have that kind of money? Use Google Calendar to map out your posts, social media promotions, and other editorial pursuits. Google Calendar is not the absolute ideal platform for planning out your editorial pursuits, but it does a pretty good job on its own, and if you set it up properly, can give paid services a run for their money.

First, have a massive brainstorming session. What are all the topics you would like to cover on your blog? Obviously, this is not the be-all, end-all list, but doing a massive brain dump is a great

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place to start. Next, create a calendar just for your blog, in order to keep it separate from your other responsibilities. Start arranging topics on the blog around a regular posting schedule as entries on the calendar. You can set reminders to make sure you write the post on time, or you can just be diligent about checking frequently to see what you need to work on.

Automating Your Efforts

Once content is ready to go live, spreading it across your social media networks can be a full-time job in itself. A freemium (free for basic service, or paid if you need more power and features) platform called HootSuite makes the responsibility much easier. Besides allowing you to see which posts are receiving the most traffic, it lets you schedule posts to appear on social media websites at desired times.

Then, whether you’ve just composed a press release for Bortek Industries or a Tumblr entry that shows teaser snapshots of an office space you’ll be transferring to in the next few months, promotional content can go up on schedule, without a lot of legwork.

Facebook also has the ability to preschedule posts – just select the clock icon when you are typing the post to choose another date and time.

Also, keep in mind that popular blogging platforms like WordPress can be set to publish posts on specified dates. That can be helpful if one of your regular writers is going out of town and you don’t want to make readers wait for new content during the absence.

Get All Team Members on Board

The tools above could be extremely helpful in keeping track of content and promoting it well. However, even with help from robust tools, it’s important to make sure all the people who are responsible for blogging and marketing are aware of how to follow an existing editorial calendar and suggest changes when necessary.

Try using free products like Google Drive and Google Calendar to clarify details and deadlines. Share schedules and documents with everyone or just a few relevant people by quickly changing access settings.

By spreading awareness about your editorial

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calendar, being open to feedback from team members and also taking advantage of some of the tools mentioned above or others like them, you can get on a consistent schedule and create an editorial calendar that works for your staff and readers. Soon, your blog may enjoy higher amounts of traffic, especially when people start realizing you have compelling things to say and will provide relevant content on a regular basis.

Adrienne Erin is a freelance writer who covers trends in social media and social marketing. She has written for Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs, and Search Engine People, and is always looking for new opportunities. To see more of her work, follow her on Twitter or check out her blog, Pongra.

Stop stealing stuff

Places to Find Legal Images on the Web

It’s a common occurrence: You’re looking for a cool photo for your blog, and within seconds, a Google search brings you a ton of images to choose from. You drag it, download, and most likely forget about the photo’s origins. Happens every day, but unfortunately, you probably just stole an image without knowing it.

Don’t just rely on Google’s image search engine to take you there. That could become costly. Sometimes, a company such as Getty Images might contact you demanding payment for usage of their image. So, make it simple; avoid the impulse. Why risk it when you can find a variety of sites that give you free access without legal issues?

Free Image Sources

With a little patience and endurance, you’ll find exactly what you are looking for. Here are five popular choices.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that encourages creative people to share across the Internet by using free copyright licenses. It’s also a place to find some of the best images for your projects. Creative Commons has thousands of images to sift through. Simply type in what you’re looking for and wait for the results. As with most searches you have to do the grunt work to get the job done. Creative Commons images usually require a link back to the original source, so read the licensing information carefully.

MorgueFile

Part of a group of free sites devoted to giving creative people a voice across the Web, MorgueFile has the distinction of being not just completely free, but a throwback to times past. MorgueFile takes it name from the old newspaper days of a file that holds “past issues flats,” according to the site. Of course, you’ll have to wade through some things that won’t quite fit your expectations, but that’s always the challenge. In pretty much all cases you’ll be required to credit the photographer or artist when using the image.

stock.xchng

Stock.xchng works best when you know exactly what you want. The website will work to narrow down the best choices. The images are typically very high quality, and if you’re an artist, it actually works as a great site for

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exposure. The browse categories cover abstract, nature, people, streets and cityscapes and more.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons is a product of the Wikimedia Foundation (the folks responsible for Wikipedia), so you’ll find a wealth of information on their site. The site makes it easy to find license-free material, including not just photography, but drawings as well. Use it to deepen your search.

Advanced Google search

While it’s not ok to simply use whatever image Google discovers from your search you can certainly use Advanced Google Search. By going under the “advanced search” drop-down menu, you can find copyright-free images. Although Advanced Google Search is a reliable source, you might want to try using TinEye, a website that uses reverse image search to find any copyright issues before they spring up.

Step It Up: Paid Services Worth the Price<

Once your website or blog takes off, you’re going to want to stand out – and that means not using the same, average-quality free images everyone else is using. After all, how many times have you seen this free image of social media icons on an iPhone? You may not realize it, but it’s probably more times than you can count.

The solution are royalty-free photography sites where you pay a modest fee in order to license an image that will ultimately be far more unique and most likely higher-quality. Here are five options:

iStock Photo

iStock is a royalty free photography and illustration collection by Getty Images. Start looking for the perfect image using the category collections on their homepage, or using their great advanced search. Pay as you go if you just need a single image, or buy credit packs starting at 30 credits for $49.99.

Shutterstock

Shutterstock’s massive collection features over 30 million royalty-free photos, illustrations, vectors, and videos, with over 10,000 new items added daily. Choose to pay as you go or get a subscription in order to download 25 images per day for $199 per month.

Thinkstock

Thinkstock may not have the biggest collection out there, but it pulls some of the best images from Getty Images and iStock into its catalog. It’s cheaper than many services, with a 5-image pack for $50 or a monthly subscription at $139 per month to get 25 images per day.

Fotolia

Fotolia is a great choice if you regularly need images for projects. Pay as you go for as little as 74 cents an image, or choose from one of the subscription options to get between 2 and 1000 full-size images per month.

PhotoXpress

PhotoXpress is a great paid stock image site to use if you need a small number of unique images for your projects. Their credits don’t expire as long as you continue subscribing, allowing for a design schedule that may be busy at times and slower at others. Single images start at $1 and subscriptions start at $9.99 per month for five images.

Whatever your needs, taking the time to find copyright-free images will potentially save you money, and allow you to focus on what matters most: having a powerful and unique website that stands head and shoulders above the rest.

 

Adrienne Erin is a freelance writer who covers trends in social media and social marketing. She has written for Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs, and Search Engine People, and is always looking for new opportunities. To see more of her work, follow her on Twitter or check out her blog, Pongra.