#bloggingedumacation – 11 Things to Check Before Hitting Publish

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Are you about to hit the publish button your post? Check out these 11 things to see if you've got everything ready to go first! #bloggingedumacation

Blogging isn’t easy. There’s so much to learn. And things are changing every single day. As bloggers, we work really hard to get our posts ready for publish. Whether we are creating recipes or crafts, styling outfits, curating great information or whatever it is….we work really hard right up until we hit publish. But before you let the world see your hard work, let’s make sure your post is ready to go! Check out these 11 Things that you need to double check prior to publishing your post!

ONE: Did you proof-read your post?
Go back in and double check that everything is spelled correctly and that you are using the write words instead of the wrong ones. See what I did there??

TWO: Do you have a call to action at the end of your post?
This can be a question that you ask your readers or add in a Pinterest widget or add in an email sign-up form. All of these are calls-to-action.

THREE: Have you tested your links?
If you have links in your post, I highly recommend that you test them all.

FOUR: Do you have an Pinnable Image?
Make sure you have something that people can pin from your post!

FIVE: Do your photos have actual titles and ALT Text?
Make sure your photos don’t say IMG00055. Google reads Image code and let me tell you…no one is searching for IMG00055. So make sure you change your photo file name. Also, get in that ALT Text. The Pinterest “Pin-It” button pulls your ALT text before it pulls your picture file name. Tell a story with your Image ALT Text. Think of it as if you were describing your post to your best friend.

SIX: Is your Post Title & Post SEO-friendly?
Make sure you have a keyword or keyword phrase for your post and make sure that is somewhere in your title. Do you have the keyword or keyword phrase being used throughout your post? It doesn’t have to be in every single paragraph, but you want to include it at lease 2-3 times in your post.

SEVEN: Is your post sponsored in anyway?
If it is, make sure you disclose that fact to your readers. Your disclosure must be clear, concise and conspicuous. It cannot be hidden and it cannot be at the very end of your post. At the very least, your disclosure MUST be before your first outbound sponsored link (or affiliate link). I HIGHLY recommend that you disclose at the very beginning of your post. I know you probably think that will kill your post when it goes out to RSS feeds…but let me tell you…the FTC is the real deal. And they get their panties in a wad if they think a consumer is being duped. No lie. So make sure you are disclosing properly. Read more about FTC disclosures here.

EIGHT: Do you have any Internal Links to yourself?
Link to yourself when you can. Have a similar post, share it and then go back to that particular post and add a link to your new post. Self-promote your previous posts as often as you can within your own posts.

NINE: Add relevant Affiliate links.
If you have a craft post, add affiliate links to the tools you were using. If you write a book review, add an affiliate link to the book. REMEMBER to disclose that your post has affiliate links. Your disclosure must appear before the first outbound affiliate link. I recommend you place your disclosure at the top of your post. (You can see mine at the top). ALWAYS DISCLOSE!! And read all about why you should disclose in my #bloggingedumacation post about the FTC Disclosure Guidelines.

TEN: Do your outbound links have the “open in a new window” code attached to them?
I highly recommend that those links going elsewhere (meaning not within your blog), open in a new window when they get clicked. Add this code at the end of your link: target=”_blank”
Here’s an example: <a href=”http://pinkheelspinktruck.com” target=”_blank”>Pink Heels Pink Truck</a>

ELEVEN: Have you No-Followed your Sponsored or Affiliate Links?
Any link that you either got paid to insert or that you might make money from (Affiliate), those links need to have the No Follow code attached. This is what your No Follow code should look like: rel=”nofollow”
Here’s an example: <a rel=”nofollow” href=”http://pinkheelspinktruck.com/”>Pink Heels Pink Truck</a>

So now that you’ve gone through the list, pin it to Pinterest or Bookmark it so that you remember this for next time!!

Want more #bloggingedumacation lessons? You can check them all out here!

Pink Heels Pink Truck

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#bloggingedumacation: How To Improve Your SEO

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Tips on How to Improve Your SEO (aka Search Engine Optimization) for your Blog from looking at your search query data #bloggingedumacation

Do you have an SEO plan for you blog? Are you familiar with SEO? aka Search Engine Optimization. I talk about how to find your Keyword Search Results in Google Analytics and how to find them in Google Webmaster Tools.

But what do those keywords tell you and what should you do with the information?

The keywords tell you what terms or phrases people used to get to your site. Or to land on your site. I highly recommend that you take some time either monthly or quarterly to go over those terms and expound on them…ie…write more blog posts centered around the words that are bringing people to your site from a search engine result.

Webmaster Tools actually gives you some pretty good data as far as how you are ranking for those terms in the search engine via Google. When you are looking at your Search Query results, you’ll see a column that says Average Position. That Average Position is the ranking spot that you appear in a search result. Let’s take a look at a specific example so I can explain it better visually.

How-to Improve your SEO

Okay, so if you look at the above picture, I’ve already sorted by my Average Position (the far right column) to show everything in a descending order (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 etc). The very first keyword in my list is my blog name, pink heels pink truck. You can see that I have 104 impressions (ps..the timeframe is over the last 30 days). Of those 104 impressions, I’ve received 34 clicks over to my website which calculates to be 33% CTR (click through rate). So even though there were 104 impressions, only 34 clicks happened. You see that number 1.0 under the Average Position column? That means my website appears in the #1 spot on Page 1 of the search results for that keyword phrase pink heels pink truck.

Okay, so really…I can’t do anything SEO-wise to improve on that keyword phrase because it’s my blog name. I mean I guess I could but it wouldn’t really benefit me in any way. So let’s look at another example, and I’ll expound on what I can do to improve my SEO.

Keyword Phrase: beach theme baby shower ideas

In the last 30 days, I’ve had 2 people search for that specific phrase. And 1 person click through to my site, so a 50% CTR. My blog appears at the #1 spot in the search results.

Here’s my plan:
I wrote a recap on a beached theme baby shower that I hosted for one of my best friends awhile back. I get a lot of hits to that post (just look at the different ways people are searching for ideas). Considering I don’t have any preggo friends right now, I don’t really have any reason to create another entire beach themed baby shower. However, what I can do is to write a DIY post on how I made the invitations. And then I would make sure that phrase was somewhere in my post and I would link it back to my original beach themed baby shower post. I can write a DIY post on how I made the scalloped tablecloth for the cake table. There are so many different things I can do in order to really improve my SEO for that specific post. I can see there is a need for it just by seeing all the different forms of beach theme baby shower ideas that appear in my Search Query results for my blog.

Your goal is to work on posts that are similar to posts you are already ranking for. It’s cool to see my site appearing in that #1 position, but when I look further at the CTR rate, it reveals a whole lot more info. So yes, I may be #1 in the results, but people are skipping right past my site and clicking through to something else.

Understanding Average Position…
If your average position says 7.0…that means you appear at the #7 spot on the FIRST page of the search results for that keyword/phrase.
If your average position says 15.0…that means you appear at the #5 spot on the SECOND page of the search results for that keyword/phrase.
If your average position says 2.7….that means that you appear on average at the #2 spot on the FIRST page, but that you could appear also at the #9 spot for one person and the #1 spot for another…and then an average is taken across everyone and it equals 2.7 (don’t do the math on my example, it won’t add up…just know that if you see something like 2.7, it means that you show up, ON AVERAGE, at the #2 spot on the FIRST page of the search results.

If you show up at the #11 spot, you are the first spot on the SECOND page. And your goal should be to try and get yourself into the #10 spot on the FIRST page.

Having an SEO plan is super important if you are looking to grow your site. The other tip is to be able to rank in the top 5-6 spots for a specific keyword across all platforms. Let me explain:

If you already rank #1 for beach theme baby shower ideas and have a high CTR for the phrase beach theme baby shower ideas, then create a YouTube video so you can chase for the #2 spot. And create a G+ post so that you can chase for the #3 spot. And get some pins or a pin board going on Pinterest to chase for the #4 spot. So that when someone google’s beach theme baby shower ideas, your stuff appears as the #1, #2, #3 and #4 spot in the search results. Make sense?

So, don’t just limit your SEO plan to your website. Work it on all of your platforms.

I hope I’ve given you some food for thought on how to improve your SEO!

Check out all of my other #bloggingedumacation lessons here! And let me know if you have any questions! I’m here to help!

Pink Heels Pink Truck

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#bloggingedumacation – Common HTML used in Blogging

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Confused about HTML? Let me show you some of the Common HTML used in blogging & explain what it does! #bloggingedumacation

HTML was one of the first things I took notes on when I first started blogging. I wanted to know what did what and how to make this do that. All of my posts are written on the Text side of WordPress (aka the HTML side). Very rarely do I use the Visual side to write my posts. I’ve been writing in this format ever since I was on blogger. It just always made it easier and made my control-freak self feel like I was in control of the look/feel of my posts. ;) I forget sometimes that a lot of newbie bloggers (or maybe even some veteran bloggers) may not be comfortable with HTML. So I’m giving you a cheat sheet. In this #bloggingedumacation, I’m sharing some common HTML used in blogging.

So before we get started, let’s talk about some HTML basics. All HTML start with a tag and always close with a “closing tag”. Let’s take a look at what I’m talking about…

<strong>This html turns your text bold</strong>

The <strong> is the opening tag of HTML. Anything that comes after that opening tag will be turned into whatever you told the text to do. So for in the example above, the text will be bold. In order to turn the bold text off, you need a closing tag. The closing tag in the example of above is </strong>. The forward slash is what closes the tag. But the entire tag is super important to turn “off” whatever it is you had asked the text to do.

Okay, so now let’s talk about some common HTML used in Blogging:

<br> = page break (inserts a page break aka makes your text appear on the next line down)

<b>bold</bold> = also is another code for bold

<u>underline</u> = underline’s your text

<strike>strikethrough</strike> = creates a strikethrough on your text

<font size=”5″>makes your font size bigger</font> = make your font size bigger or smaller, just change the number!

<font color=”red”>colored text</font> = change the color of your text

<a href=”http://pinkheelspinktruck.com/”>Pink Heels Pink Truck</a> = create a link with text

rel=”nofollow” = turns your links into ‘no follow’ links (use this code on all links that you’ve been paid to write about or received product in exchange for a post (read this #bloggingedumacation post for more details on “No-Follow” vs “Do-Follow”)

You would insert the code above in this manner:

<a rel=”nofollow” href=”http://pinkheelspinktruck.com/”>Pink Heels Pink Truck</a>

<img src=”http://pinkheelspinktruck.com/wp-uploads/blogging-edumacation-graphic.jpg”> = inserts an image (just insert your image link in between the quote marks)

<center>Centers your text within your text body</center>

There you have it…common HTML used in blogging!! Want more #bloggingedumacation lessons? Check them all out here!

Pink Heels Pink Truck

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#bloggingedumacation – All About Media Kits

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#bloggingedumacation - All About Media Kits

Do you have a Media Kit at the ready for when a brand asks for one? No?? No worries. I’m here to tell you what you should have in said Media Kit. So let’s get to this #bloggingedumacation lesson…all about Media Kits.

ONE | Contact Info
Make sure you have your Contact Info…your email address, blog URL, phone number (optional).

TWO | Profile Picture
Include a picture of yourself so brands can put a face with a blog!

THREE | About You/Your Blog
Write a 3-5 sentence blurb (aka elevator pitch) about you and your blog. Like when you started, what you blog about, a little bit about yourself.

FOUR | Social Media
Make sure you include the links to your social media accounts.

FIVE | Stats
Include your most recent stats from your blog & social media accounts. It’s good to put in a 3-month average of your blog stats.

SIX | Brands You’ve Worked With
Boast about the brands you’ve worked with!!!

A media kit shows a snapshot of who you are and what your blog is about. It’s your tool to sell yourself to a brand. Show yourself off. This is the place for it!!

Some people include their rates on their Media Kit and some people don’t, so that’s totally optional and a personal preference.

Here are some great resources/examples of Media Kits on Pinterest.

Do you have a Media Kit??

Pink Heels Pink Truck

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Visit Taylor @ Pink Heels Pink Truck’s profile on Pinterest.

#bloggingedumacation – Who are you as a Blogger?

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#bloggingedumacation - Who are you as a Blogger

I’ve been blogging over 4 years now. And over the last year or so I’ve really been trying to figure out who I am as a blogger. Do you ever ask yourself this question? Have you ever pondered who you really are as a blogger? There’s really no right or wrong answer. I promise. But I think it’s an important question to figure out or at least start the brainstorm process.

I bring this up because over the last year I’ve specifically been working at building my brand and my community. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that my brand and community have grown leaps and bounds. And it’s because I’ve brainstormed who I want to be as a blogger. I’m definitely still a work in progress but I feel like every day I’m that much closer to that image that I see in my head.

Figuring out who you are goes hand in hand with your goals too. Have you ever set blogging goals? Have you ever measured whether or not you are on target? Again, there’s no right or wrong answer. If you are a hobby blogger, you may not have a lot of goals. If you have big dreams to really be someone, make a name for yourself and your brand, then I highly recommend you set some goals. Brainstorm what it is that you want. And then make things happen.

I talk often (mostly in real life because you guys can’t hear me…duh..lol) about my blogging motto. Pull your big girl panties up real high and roll out your own red carpet. I think of this motto often and I try and make it a reality every single day. You have to make blogging what you want it to be. The sky really is the limit.

So, what are you waiting for?? Who are you as a Blogger?

Pink Heels Pink Truck

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Visit Taylor @ Pink Heels Pink Truck’s profile on Pinterest.

#bloggingedumacation – BEST Social Media Posting Times

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#bloggingedumacation - Best Social Media Posting Times

In this #bloggingedumacation lesson, I’m sharing the BEST Social Media posting times. Truly, these times could (and can) be argued but they are times that I find to work (for the most part…obviously the time of year can mess this all up and your time zone…I’ve yet to find someone that claims the perfect time zone). Use this as a guideline or a starting point and figure out the BEST Social Media posting times that work for you and your readers. Ultimately that’s what matters.

Google+ (are you using this platform??)
Between 9am-11am seems to be the most popular posting times for this platform. I think the jury is still out for growing your community here. Honestly, it doesn’t take that much time to push your content over there. Just do it. ;) I do it when I remember to AND I see traffic from it, so I really should make sure it’s on my social media share list every day.

Facebook (have you given up on this platform??)
lol…funny right?? In an age where your content won’t be seen without a little dough to back it up, it’s almost kind of pointless to talk about sharing times to Facebook. However, people are still using Facebook and they primarily check it before work, at lunch time, on the commute home and any breaks during the day. For the most part, people don’t have access to Facebook during the working day (what??? Facebook is blocked at work?? Shocking right?? ummmm no…#timesuck anyone??) So, time-wise those hours would be 7-9am, 12-2pm, 4-6pm -ish.

Twitter

The thing I can say about Twitter is that it is a live conversation that it happening literally 24 hours a day. There are hundreds of thousands of tweets being sent out every minute. I literally can’t even fathom that many accounts tweeting that often. Mind blowing for sure. For me, Twitter seems to be most active in the evening time, like right after work. But ultimately, it also mirrors the Facebook posting times (aka before work, during lunch, on the commute home and on breaks throughout the day)

Pinterest
Best times are definitely early in the morning (6-8am) and late at night (like think anytime after 8pm). I typically search Pinterest right when I get into bed and it appears that a lot of other people do that too. So get to posting your content at those times. #PinAllTheThings ;) LOL

Instagram
This platform seems to be relevant most of the hours of the day (just not in the wee hours of the night). There’s really not been a lot of data to show a significant difference in posting times. I’ve seen people suggest 2-3pm, but honestly, the only time that I’ve seen very little engagement is the wee hours of the night.

What times do you find work the best for you on your Social Media accounts?

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#bloggingedumacation: Blogging To-Do’s FACEBOOK

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Are you doing these Facebook Blogging To-Do's every day? Check out my tips and tricks for Facebook!

Let’s talk Facebook shall we. Facebook (for a blog) is not my favorite way to build community. Basically, if you don’t want to pay Facebook, the chances of you getting a lot of traffic is nil. It’s sad but it’s true. No money = No growth.

However, it’s still a Social Media channel that I want to maintain AND that brands still ask about. So I still think it’s important to not just ignore it completely. Here are some tips that I recommend you work on daily to help maintain (and slowly grow) your community on Facebook. Here are some of my Blogging To-Do’s for Facebook:

ONE | Post a question to your Page. It could be something fun or thought provoking. Grab the link to the question and tweet it out. Get people back to your FB page to answer the question.

TWO | Post your blog post to your Page.

THREE | Respond to any and all comments/messages left for you on Facebook. The messages area keeps changing but people are using it. So make sure you don’t go 2 months in answering those messages coming into your Page’s Message Folder! Also, responding to people’s comments (especially on the question post) gets people interacting with your page more often!

FOUR | Share something funny, helpful, etc on your Page. Find content that you know your readers will enjoy.

FIVE | Recommend at least one Page to your followers. (Bonus…coordinate with that blogger and cross-promote each other)!

For me, I post a question, my blog post and one of my blog posts from my archives. The question post by far gets me the most engagement. I see my community growing, albeit slowing, but it’s still growing. So I’ll take it. AND I didn’t have to give Facebook any money. ;) WINNING!

What do you do to help keep your Facebook page moving forward?

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#bloggingedumacation – Evergreen Content

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#bloggingedumacation - What is Evergreen Content?

I hear a lot of bloggers talking about the importance of Evergreen Content. Have you heard someone say that before? Maybe in Marketing? It’s a term that will certainly help you out in the blogging world…so let’s get to talking about what exactly I mean by Evergreen Content.

Definition of Evergreen Content: It’s perpetually relevant content.


Layman’s Terms:
It’s content that is fresh no matter what time of the year it is or how many years down the road it is read. It’s consistently relevant AND it’s extremely valuable.

What are some examples of Evergreen Content?
** HOW-TO Posts
** Tutorials
** Informational Posts
** Historical Posts
** Top Tips Posts

What are some examples of NON-Evergreen Content?
** Stats & Data Posts
** Opinion Posts
** Event Specific Posts
** Breaking News

Bottom-line….Evergreen Content ensures that you continually have traffic. People will continually come over for your Evergreen Posts.

Here’s some words of advice:
Depending on the type of blogger that you are will depend on how much Evergreen Content that you’ll need/want in your blog arsenal. Food Bloggers…your recipes are your Evergreen Content. You have it made for the most part because food is relevant always (well you know what I mean). DIY/Craft Bloggers…your creations are your Evergreen Content. Even your Holiday-specific creations will be Evergreen when that season/holiday rolls back around. Beauty Bloggers…anything that you write that is not season specific will be your Evergreen Content. That being said, some of your Season content will be Evergreen once the season rolls back around (if said post is not specific to a trend). Lifestyle Bloggers…you’ll want to work at the Evergreen Content. You’ll want to make sure you write some Evergreen posts outside of your daily life posts or whatever it is that you write about on the daily. Fashion Bloggers…you’ll have to work at some of the Evergreen Content as well because fashion trends come and go. Find some staple posts that are relevant no matter what the trend/season.

Do you have a plan for Evergreen Content?


Want more of my #bloggingedumacation lessons? Hop over here!

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