In 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.
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:
- Affiliate Niche Selection Exercise
- Brainstorming Affiliate Niche Ideas
- Choosing Your Niche… Without Research?!
- Affiliate Niche Blog Setup: First Steps
- Act Fast: Implement & Revise As You Go!
- Social Media & Mailing List Set-Up
- WordPress Sidebar Customization Tips
- How To: WordPress Categories and Tags
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..."
Smart 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! You can see I added a nice header, and added social media icons..."
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.
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!
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.
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...