New Blog Review: Q&A with Vera

Vera Raposo @ FaithAdventurist.comIn our ongoing series, Vera is setting up her her new blog, step by step. She has already set up her social media accounts, her mailing list, done a bit of customization on her WordPress theme, and has already published two posts.

Nice work, Vera! The image you see there is her profile picture, and the theme for her new blog at Faith Adventurist.

Today we'll review her new blog together, and you can follow along as I make suggestions for her to continue to set it up to be a profitable affiliate niche blog. :D

We're doing this live as a "Cross Blog Conversation" so that everyone can benefit, and use it to start your own affiliate niche blog - or improve a blog you already have...

If you've missed any posts so far, here's a handy list:

The series is helping Vera go "from idea to profitable blog" but each post also includes helpful tips, ideas & resources you'll benefit from as well!

Vera's New Blog Is Live. Now What?

Vera has already done a lot of the set-up work to get her new blog live, as you've read from the series at the links above. Now we'll address her latest reply, and a few questions she had in the process, starting with her mailing list...

Vera said: "I chose to switch over to Aweber and I’m really glad that I did! I set up the Blog Broadcast which is exactly the reason I switched. I crafted ONE follow up email and also a Thank You page. Not sure what my “freebie” should be at the moment..."

Vera's Opt-In BoxSmart move! You'll be really happy with Aweber, particularly the Blog Broadcast feature, which allows subscribers to receive new content via email automatically.

I subscribed to your notification list, and it took me away from your site - to a default "confirm page" with a video that asked me to check my email and confirm my subscription.

Tip: Create your own confirm page so that subscribers are still on YOUR site after filling out the form, and can continue browsing your content.

I checked my email. It came from "Vera Raposo" with the subject line "Confirm your subscription."

Tip: Customize your confirmation request email so that people remember what they subscribed to, and get excited about confirming their subscription.

You can edit the subject line to say "Confirm your subscription to Faith Adventurist" and also personalize the intro text in that email to get them excited about joining you on "faith adventures." ;-)

Once I clicked the confirmation link, it did take me to a custom thank you page, but it was a 404-File Not Found error. Oops! This page is a great opportunity to welcome new subscribers and lead them deeper into your site. It's also a good place to let them know where else they can find & connect with you (social media).

Your follow-up message is great though, Vera, and had me looking forward to future emails. The only advice I have is that you personalize the process up to that point a bit more, to solidify that relationship with brand new readers.

You asked about a "freebie" or an opt-in incentive to compel people to subscribe by email. For now, receiving email updates alone is a great incentive. Your opt-in copy is fun and inviting! The only advice I have is to change the button to "subscribe" instead of "submit".

Vera said: "I totally jazzed up the theme! :D You can see I added a nice header, and added social media icons..."

FaithAdventurist.com

As you can see from the screenshot above, Vera is busy personalizing her WordPress theme and adding new posts to her blog at FaithAdventurist.com. At first glance, here are some quick tips for improvements:

White Space: This theme has a lot of white space "above the fold" - which means "before you scroll" and is what you see in the screenshot. You'll have to fiddle with the CSS to remove the white space above the navigation and around the header, to "tighten it up" a bit. This will bring everything up a little higher on the page, which is ideal.

Header Graphic: The header graphic is not the same width as the content area, which makes the site appear "off balance". I recommend you use this graphic - this visual space - to make your message clear. This is a good place for a Tagline (see below).

Sidebar Elements: Move your opt-in box to the very top of the sidebar. Remove the "subscribe by email via FeedBurner" link below your RSS button, since you're building & managing your list with Aweber. You don't want two email lists, or any confusion! ;-) Put the RSS button with your other Social Icons, and move those near your Bio/Photo in the sidebar. Move that up as well, and put the Categories next, with the Search Box below those.

Title & Tagline: When I visit the main page, the browser bar shows: "Faith Adventurist | Faith Adventurist" - you want a good strong Title and Tagline so visitors know exactly what to expect from your site. "Faith Adventurist" is a good title - it's fun and catchy - but your Tagline should be more descriptive. In a previous post I suggested "hope and faith" as a good keyword phrase to target. Perhaps "Your Daily Dose of Hope and Faith" for the Tagline, or something similar.

Which leads us into Vera's Keyword Research question...

Vera said: "I signed up a trial with Wordtracker and was a little disappointed though that I couldn’t see all the numbers to show the KEI and such, so that kinda sucked..."

I just use the free tool at http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com - but it is tricky, as they confuse you into signing up for the Free Trial of their paid tool instead. At the link I just gave you, you get 20 free searches per day - which is what I use. All you have to do is register for the free tool. :)

Personally, I don't use KEI or any other numbers/metrics. I'm simply looking for keyword phrases, wording and verbage, and search volume. There is no magic number on that, by the way. If your market is searching for it, you should be addressing it - period.

See: Keyword Strategy: It’s Not Just Numbers!
And: Long Tail Keyword Strategy

In Vera's Keyword Research (at the end of the post) she found a lot of relevant phrases to target in upcoming blog posts. Some of these are very obviously "commercial keyword phrases" - meaning people are looking for products to purchase online. Which is great!

As a next step, continue doing free keyword research and making notes of keyword phrases to target and topics to cover. Also make a broad list of topics you know you want to cover, and products/services and brands you want to recommend.

You want a good mix of informational posts, engaging/discussion posts, and of course reviews/commercial posts on your blog. Don't go overboard trying to plan out all of your content in advance. With a brand new blog, you want to consider your "base topics". What do you need to cover for new readers? Start there, and start writing!

Vera's Homework:

Choose five keyword phrases you want to target, and let's examine the "intention" of each phrase, and I'll help you come up with Blog Post Titles that include those phrases. This will be a very FUN - and super informative - exercise. :D

Best,

p.s. Have questions, or feedback for Vera on her new site? Leave a comment below! And be sure to subscribe by email to stay tuned to this series and other helpful tips for running a successful online business...

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»

Discussion

  1. Lynn,

    I like your review posts, keep 'em coming!

    @ hi Vera

    I wonder how do you plan to monetize the blog and have you found any products yet?

    For keyword research I recommend two of my favorite tools:

    Long Tail Pro and Keyword Canine

    Hope it helps...

  2. HI Vera, I've been following the series so far, and one bit of feedback I wanted to offer is that after reading about what you want to do/what the site will be about, I was surprised when I saw the profile/header to be honest.

    Maybe it's just me, but the cartoon/caricature doesn't say faith, hope or adventure. I don't think of a fairy/tinker bell character with any of those words. I thought maybe you were going for angel, but that still doesn't say adventure to me. If I didn't know what your site was about and just saw the image, honestly, my first impression would be children's book author of some sort.

    I know it's tricky to come up with an image or logo for a header and all those social profiles (I've adjusted mine more than once), so I hope this helps in some way.
    Cheryl Pickett recently posted..An Honest, Eye Opening Book Marketing Case StudyMy Profile

  3. Lynn,

    First of all, I cannot figure out why I don't have a picture in my avatar spot. I know that sounds pretty elementary, but I don't see a place for adding one, nor do I see an indication as to where it would pull from. WordPress? :)

    Second, I would love to go with aweber for my mailing list, but am watching every penny right now. Does aweber allow you to manage multiple blogs/websites for one monthly price? Is there a good free e-mail manager?

    Thank you!
    Lynn

  4. I personally like the picture and think it reflects the person I've imagined Vera to be based on reading her posts, but I do see the resemblance to the fly lady site.

    Any suggestions on choosing a word press theme from the thousands that are out there?

    Thanks again for all this great information you are both sharing!

    • Hi Elisika. I know you were not asking me personally, but just thought I'd share. I recently began using Leaf, and I love it. It's free. I have it on two blogs: amothersjournal.com and thehealthyhomeschool.com/homeschoolblog

      Drawback to me is the small recommended header size, and I don't want to fiddle with the CSS to change it. Not even sure I could! What I love is how it has a slider for current four or five posts at top and then the option for recent articles beneath. I like how fast it loads while still letting me write picture heavy posts.

      Lynn
      Lynn recently posted..The Healthy Homeschool BlogMy Profile

    • Hi Elisika,

      I usually have a designer handle everything for me, it's just frustrating to do things you're not sure or good at.

      You can use a free theme that Lynn suggests but for me, I'm not very good at tweaking things, Lynn suggested that I fix the "white space" and that was it for me! (lol!)
      Vera Raposo recently posted..Lifestyle & Biz By Design: Mailing List Homework, Keywords & More AdjustmentsMy Profile

  5. Thank you I enjoyed the webinar this morning. I never thought about Google "fixing" their search keywords, good to know.

    I have been a bad girl and not got any work done on my wordpress blog this week. I have been busy on my Blogger promoting my ebay items and using their EPN program. I can see where you would not want to put all effort into them but they are easy to use in my blog at this point.

    For my 2 cents I like the caricature.

    I do have a quick question on something I noticed. I do not see that you date your blogs but I noticed that Vera did. Any particular reason?

    Thanks
    Lois
    Lois Dupre recently posted..Matisse Art Palette Brooch Enamel & Copper Vintage Red Modernism Pin JewelryMy Profile

    • Hi Lois,

      I show the dates on the main page of my blog (clicknewz.com) and on archive pages. But I removed the "date stamp" from individual posts here because so much of my content is evergreen. If it's not, I discuss the date in the context of the post.

      You can remove the date by editing the single.php file in your WordPress editor. But be sure to copy the original code in the file to notepad before doing so, in case you need to restore it back (ie make a mistake).

      The reason I remove it from individual blog posts is because people tend to assume content is outdated by the date alone, even if it's truly not.

    • Hey Lois, so glad you like the caricature :-)
      Vera Raposo recently posted..Lifestyle & Biz By Design: Mailing List Homework, Keywords & More AdjustmentsMy Profile

  6. I am quite unfamiliar with the setup since I haven’t really followed this series but I’m finding it really interesting.

    It’s similar to YouTube training videos except that in this setup, you get to participate and apply directly what you’ve learned with an added bonus of monitoring from the site. Cool! I’m learning a lot!
    Riza recently posted..Google Releases AdWords Editor Update Version 10.2!My Profile

  7. I have had personal experience on keywords matter. I've seen that Google Trends helps a lot to see at glance whether the search trend (on selected keywords) are up or down. Up is a good indication for sure.
    Okto recently posted..How LinkedIn Can Help Small BusinessesMy Profile

  8. Thank you Lynn for sharing your knowledge and helping others including me to progress in online journey. With Vera niche site setup, I am learning a lot of new stuff that can be applied to my site.
    Thank you Vera for letting us know how you progress
    james samy recently posted..How To Bring Happiness In My LifeMy Profile

  9. Hi Lynn
    Thanks for doing this series, very useful.
    Wondering if you know what code to adjust or remove so that the date gets taken out on single posts.
    I have searched through wordpress forum and can't find anything.
    I am using wordpress twenty eleven theme.
    Thanks. :)

  10. Hi Lynn, Vera seems to be too enthusiastic about her affiliate blog. The energy levels you put in a work is directly proportional to the result you receive on completing the work. I have been believing in this concept since I was a kid. It still holds true for everyone and everything. Best of luck ahead.

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