Friday, 26 May 2017

The Exact Method I Use To Treat My Blog Like A Business

Are you underestimating the importance of blogging? Do you look at it as nothing more than an online time-pass that could make you a few bucks?

If so, you're missing out on a massive opportunity to build a profitable business with a blog. If all you want to do is run a personal blog to air your views, feel free to leave this page because I don't want to waste your time.

However, if you see the potential for growth and want to convert your blog into a fully fledged business, this one is for you.

The year was 2011 when I first started blogging. I registered a shitty blog with a basic template, wrote 3 posts and slapped on some ads. It looked like nothing more than a cheap web page and I treated it the same.

As time went on and I learned of more people making huge bucks from blogging! My interest piqued and I sought out ways to level up. Over time, I was able to but I was still viewing my blog as a time-pass or a 'get-rich-quick' scheme.

Perhaps this mindset contributed to my failures at older blogs. I was easily swayed by the shiny object syndrome and abandoned blogs even if they were performing well. At one point, I had a blog that was generating a 1500+ unique visitors per day and I threw it away in pursuit of the next big thing.

If only I treated blogging as a legit business, I most certainly would have been a leading and authoritative voice on the internet in more than one niche.

In my defense, I was only 17 when I first started blogging. Now that I'm 24 and a whole lot wiser, my approach and mindset to blogging have been transformed. Apart from ZakWrites, I have two other blogs (with my sister who happens to be a co-founder), and they're growing at a rapid pace.

And guess what? We spend upward of 7 hours per day blogging and marketing. If that doesn't qualify a blog as a business, I don't know what does! 

Today's article will provide critical information on how to treat your blog like a business based on my own transformation. Sip on that cup of coffee because this one is going to light a fire under your ass!

The Exact Method I Use To Treat My Blog Like A Business 

Step 1: Draw Up A 6 Month Plan Of Action

Walking without direction will get you nowhere very slowly. Similarly, blogging without a plan is as good as taking a shot in the dark. The chances of you hitting a target are slim to none.

What you should be doing is setting some definitive traffic, subscriber and monetary goals. In 6 months, how many page views do you want to hit What is the average amount of subscribers you'd like to acquire each month and how much money from your income sources would you like to make?

Write it down in bold. Afterward, research and draw up a step by step plan of how you can accomplish those goals.

From the amount of content to publish per week to the average time per day spent on social network marketing, draw a plan that is inclusive of everything you need to meet your goals. Set a specific monthly date to analyze and track your progress. This will be the perfect chance to realign your actions with your goals.

Step 2: Drop Some Money And Be Accountable
I have one set piece of advice for people who struggle with being consistent and have a history of quitting - stake a set amount of money on your success.

If you fail, donate it or give it to someone who you truly dislike. I don't even need to elaborate on this point. That moment of handing over money to someone you dislike is absolutely horrible. You'll never want to do it again.

Trust me, this is a solid approach. Another way to be and stay accountable is to invest money into the project. Sign up with Bluehost and purchase a subscription package. It's the most basic investment but the awareness of spending money on your blog will prevent you from skipping hard work.

Step 3: Allocate A Set Time Every Single Day To Blog

In my previous article on The 10x Rule, I spoke about how people in Silicon Valley use this technique to achieve drastic success and impressive growth.

A lot of 'blogging experts' will tell you it's okay to publish 1 post every week or two but they're the same individuals who are blogging daily or appearing on a number of different blogs promoting themselves.

Don't be fooled into believing this 'fake' idea that huge money can be made from minimal work. It's rubbish. If anyone tells you so, they're lying or ignorant.

True success, especially in a saturated and competitive market, requires intense effort compounded daily. If you're not doing something to grow your blog every single day, you're wasting time and money.

Step 4: Maintain A Very Specific Content Strategy And Format

Human beings are creatures of habit. Once we get used to something and take a liking to it, switching it up or inconsistencies piss us off.

Think about the last time you watched a show that had something good going for it but over time, they made slight but significant changes that spoiled the feel of the show. You started to lose interest, am I right?

Alternately, imagine if every week KFC changed up their menu and recipe. You'd dump them in no time whatsoever.

Readers place a certain expectation on bloggers and we have a responsibility to live up to those expectations. If you cater to a reader base who prefer long-form listicles with graphic explanations, you better provide exactly what you made them accustomed too.

For as long as you're consistent with writing a specific format of articles and implement an effective content strategy (provided people like it), you will witness steady growth month after month. More importantly, producing that specific form of content becomes easier to produce on a daily basis. Mark my words!

Step 5: Track Your Progress And Hire Outside Help

Every business has people keeping a track of input and output, earnings and expenses as well as goal reports.

Are you creating as much content as you planned for? Are you hitting income and subscription goals? If so, how can you improve? If not, what have you been doing wrong?

These progress reports will transform the way you look at your blog. Everything about it will develop a tone of professionalism that you won't find most beginner bloggers are doing. Perhaps that's the differentiating factor between hobby blogs and business blogs.

If you find that your goals aren't being accomplished because you're overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the business (blog), hire outside help.

Step 6: Seek Feedback From Readers And Subscribers

Get as much feedback from your loyal readers and subscribers, transcribe what their praises and disappointments onto paper and brainstorm ideas as to how you plan on overcoming these shortcomings.

Every successful business relies on reader/viewer experience. These customers are your lifeline. Find out exactly what they want and give it to them. There's nothing difficult about it. The real test comes in the form of getting the work done.

Apart from asking them directly, head over to Google Analytics and make a note of important metrics like time spent on site, bounce rate, demographic and most landed pages. Analyze these results and identify key areas that promote good results or areas that require work.

Nevertheless, don't be intimidated or afraid to ask people to elaborate on their opinions and experience on your blog. It's not personal, it's business.

Step 7: Show Up And Do The Work

There's no getting around it. Hard work is inevitable but incredibly rewarding. Take Pat Flynn for instance, I was following SPI from the time when it was making just about 2 - 3 thousand dollars a month.

Fast forward a few years and now SPI earns 6 figures every month. Pat is an intelligent man but more so than that, he works hard as hell.

I've never seen him produce any article, podcast or product that was half baked. In my opinion, that sort of daily hard work accumulates and presents ridiculous growth.

If there's one thing you can take away from this article, it should be that hard work trumps everything else. Don't make excuses. Don't look for the easy way out. Follow this step by step plan and you'll be treating your blog like a business and reaping the rewards from it.

Over To You
Is there anything you'd like to add? Feel free to pop your thoughts into the comment section below and let's keep the conversation going.

Monday, 22 May 2017

How The 10x Rule Applies To Blogging In 2017

I'm a sucker for self-development and hustle hacks. It's in my nature as I've tried my hand at many different crafts and businesses since I was 15 years old.
Although I live half way across the world, even I'm aware of the glorious Silicon Valley and the great minds that have built Billion dollar companies.

A rule that is famously known to inspire rapid growth (and perhaps originated in Silicon Valley) is the 10x rule. If you haven't read the book on this rule, I would highly recommend picking up a copy for yourself over the weekend.

It's empowering.

Nevertheless, ever since applying the 10x rule to my life, I've noticed a tremendous increase of results. These results are not just limited to business but have been appearing in my fitness, spiritual and craft goals.

I was able to lose twice the weight in a few weeks as compared to before applying the 10x rule. From 2000 words I'm now averaging at 11000 words a day and I've published every single day across 3 different blogs.

That's insane! I've never been this productive in my entire life.

Sure, I've written extensively about self-development, time-management, and productivity but no rule ever created such an attitude adjustment within me as this one.

The truth of the matter is that the 10x rule offers very little in terms of formulaic actions but renders a psychological shift that can trigger a boost in productivity and results like never before. Some may even go so far as to call this a placebo effect but thankfully for me, I'm not one of those people.

What Is The 10x Rule?

Set a goal, identify an average output requirement and over deliver.
Here's my oversimplified explanation of the 10x rule - Do 10 times more than what is expected from you and what others are currently doing.
If the average person exercises 2 times a week for 15 minutes, exercise 6 times a week for 45 minutes (working out 20 times a week would be madness). If the average salesperson makes 10 cold calls a day, you should aim for 100. 

Simple enough, right?

It may seem blatantly obvious and it kind of is. But, so many of us over-expect, underperform and underachieve. Not because we are incapable but because in a battle of thoughts, we deem ourselves unfit for producing more effort than the next person, without any logical justification.

Analysis by paralysis, mental burnout, low self-esteem or whatever you want to call it, these thoughts can be damaging and preventative of success. 

The 10x rule offers you a strict guideline that aids in fixing the above-mentioned issues. If your brain churns out self-depreciating thoughts that limit your potential, act in contrast to those thoughts and do 10 times more than your average expected output.

Check out this summary of the 10X rule book.

This is not an exercise to inflate the results you expect!

Expectations often lead to disappointment because most of us think about best case scenarios even when we output average work. Ideally, your goal remains the same but the expected production is bumped up by 10x.

Related Post: Something That Will Ruin Your Chances Of Being Successful

How Does The 10x Rule Apply To Blogging In 2017?

As you're well aware of, blogging is insanely huge. Competition is stiff and it's getting harder and harder to build a super popular blog.

There's a learning curve ahead of most people and obstacles that are aimed at weeding out the money hungry from the hard workers. Think about it for a second, a few years ago Google Sandbox wasn't even on our radar.

People were slapping together sites and ranking highly on Google within 2 - 3 months. Nowadays, you're in the Sandbox for upwards of 6 months and even then it's still no walk in the park to grow huge.

That's obviously the case if you follow the ridiculous advice people are promoting online.

I recently read an article from an old-time blogger who states that you don't have to really blog weekly. Ironically, that same blogger is publishing 2 - 3 posts a week and guest posting on a bunch of other blogs. 

If you want to grow a blog, your best bet is to apply the 10x rule. Churn out more high-quality content than expected from you, market those posts like a mad person and read as often as you can.

Those 3 essential actions, when acted upon using the 10x rule, can bring about the most results in blogging. Fuse the 80/20 rule with the 10x rule and nothing will stop you from growing at an exponential rate.

So, in 2017, don't be wasting your time on balanced blogging. Dipping your feet into 10 social networking sites and publishing 1 article a week isn't going to get you the results you desire. Instead, choose 2 social networking sites to obsess over, use the saved time from abandoning the other social networking sites to write more content and make your presence known.

Over To You

It's 11:53 pm, I've just finished writing this post (my 2nd blogging post for the day) and I'm about to get started on my 3rd. Apart from that, I've written a separate 1500+ word article for another blog, designed a bunch of images and edited some of my book content.

Now that you have an understanding of how the 10x rule works, get the hell out of here and build yourself a massive blog.

If I can put in this kind of work using the 10x rule, it may be time for you to ditch the TV shows or whatever it is you're doing to procrastinate and start working your ass off.

Before you go, SUBSCRIBE! There are more epic posts just like this coming up. 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

3 Free And Easy Ways To Promote Your Blog

You and I both know that more traffic equals more subscribers, engagement, and money. But, what isn't necessarily true is the idea that the best source of traffic is from organic searches. I love Google as much as the next guy but in my experience, it is better to be in control of your own success than to rely on any search engine.

It's fairly simple to promote a blog. Simply put relevant content in front of your target audience. Take note that I was not talking about EVERYONE. You have to focus on a target audience.

A simple truth of life is that you can't make everyone happy and you don't need to. The only people you should focus your time and energy towards is the group of people who appreciate the information and service you have to offer.
By experience, I've learned another important lesson about blogging - It works if you solve specific problems.

Find your target audience, put relevant information in front of them and make an effort to solve their problems.

Do that and most of the battle is won. With that being said, let's go over my blog promotion techniques.

3 Free And Easy Ways To Promote Your Blog

1. Target Forums, Q&A Sites and Group Boards

Do you know what's common in all user based websites? Problems. People post about their problems and seek help.

If you happen to be on these forums or question and answer sites with the intention of relating valuable information, you can reach people who would be more inclined to visit your blog and subscribe.

Just take a look at some of the stats for answers submitted by users on Quora and Reddit! You'll be blown away.

What's required on your part is value. The more valuable and insightful your responses are to questions, the higher your chances are of attracting like-minded people to your blog.

Related Post: 9 Sizzling Hot Ways To Get More Traffic

2. Convert Your Written Content Into Youtube Videos

I'd be a fool to deny the incredible growth of visual media over the last 5 years. It doesn't look anywhere close to slowing down and YouTube will continue to be the number 1 site for video creators.

More ordinary folks like you and I are transitioning to Youtube without having to step too far out of out comfort zones.

You don't need a viral channel to attract a good amount of people to your blog. I suggest converting your written articles into videos and linking back to your site for a more in-depth written piece or a giveaway.

The videos you create can be anything from a Vlog to a strictly text based clip. The only factor to consider is whether or not the quality of your video promotes or damages your brand value. Put high quality out into the world and it will serve you well when people take notice.

Related Post: The SEO Strategy That Works Every Time

3. Create In-depth Solutions For Problems On Social Networking Groups And Pages 

Wanna bet that if I asked you when last you've been on a social networking site, you won't be able to say it's been longer than a day?

None of us can go for long periods at a time without social networking sites. Yes, there's a bunch of empty vessels making a lot of noise but you don't have to be one of them.

Rather than fold to the norm, why don't you write problem-solving content that stretches for multiple paragraphs on social networking sites?

While everyone else is merely spamming people with links, stand out by being a content-provider on these platforms.

Watch as your profile or page generates more attention. Don't be afraid of giving away too much on these sites on the assumption that people won't want to visit your blog. That is simply untrue. Great content always sparks curiosity and attention.

You could write an entire book on these social networking sites and people will still click through to your blog.

Related Post: 6 Make Your Boring Blog Posts More Engaging And Entertaining

Why Will These Techniques Work?

I believe that the defining factor between those who succeed and those who watch people succeed boils down to immediate action.

So many of us are in search of a mentor and we look up to famous bloggers as if they are Kings And Queens. With all due respect, that's stupid. I can say that out loud because I'm guilty of the same crime. I was so obsessed with my favorite bloggers and their success that I failed to take action on my own blog.

I only provided 3 techniques (which happen to be free and easy) to test your commitment. I want to see how willing you are to personally get your hands dirty by doing old-fashioned hard work. Forget about VA's and mentors for a second, let's focus on you.

If you're so busy chasing after people and having people chase you, how in the world are you going to be the one discovering new and effective ways of growing a blog and earning more money?

 Let me tell you something, for as long as you are focused on what other people are doing, you'll never be the one coming up with new and effective techniques.
All your time will be spent watching those famous bloggers get bigger and richer while you fiddle your thumbs waiting for their new strategies.

This doesn't have to be your fate! You have the power to change everything and I'm not saying this with the intention of sounding philosophical. If you take immediate action and constantly implement techniques, new and effective ways of growth will knock at your door (first).

When it does, you'll be the one people are watching.

Start by promoting your blog with these extremely personal techniques. If you do, I won't have to ever answer this question again because you will know first hand why these techniques work.

They work because YOU WORK! 

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The SEO Strategy That Works Every Single Time

Do you feel like SEO is overwhelming you? Are you publishing content regularly but Google simply refuses to rank you for many keywords?

Trust me, I've been there. Back in 2015, I started a blog on self-development and published almost 70 posts that were between 900 - 2000 words.

Shoot me for being naive but I genuinely believed that writing good content alone was more than enough to attract search engine rankings and long tail keywords.

Boy, was I wrong!

I barely broke more than 40 keywords in 7 months. In my books, that was a complete failure. The problem wasn't that I gave up too soon or didn't publish the right length of content, it was a lack of key SEO practices.

With more than 200 SEO ranking factors to considers, it's hard to guess which of those factors provide the best results. And, it's not like we can accommodate all those ranking factors in daily blogging. If we tried, we'd be spending days trying to publish a single post.

Fortunately, I've finally pinned down the SEO strategy that works for me every single time.

It's nothing flashy and doesn't consist of any kind of trick. If you're in the market for a simple, safe and organic way of building links and ranking for keywords, this is for you.

My SEO Strategy For Backlinks And Better Keyword Rankings

Step 1: Create A Minimum Of 10 Posts On A Specific Topic

Perhaps the blogosphere is saturated but that doesn't mean there isn't room for more niche specific blogs. When I speak of niches, I don't pay attention to sites that are simply built to review Amazon products.

I prefer creating authority sites that focus on a specific topic. Zakwrites is all about blogging and writing. Both these niches and topics are interrelated and dependent on each other.

When creating these posts, use a keyword tool to select 10 of the most related keywords in your niche. Write blog posts ranging between 1200 - 2000 words that have adequate outbound links, inbound links to each other, headlines that are keyword related, images that are specific to your topic and have proper attribution and beautifully formatted content.

Before you even think about building links, get these 10 posts done and dusted with.

Check this post out: Ways To Write An Engaging Post

Step 2: Convert Your Content Into An Infographic With An Embed Code

You may have come across this tactic on Backlinko (I'm a huge fan of Brian Dean). We'll use these infographics to accomplish two tasks -

  1. Attract visitors from social networking sites. 
  2. Build backlinks.

Within the embed code, ensure that a link back to your relevant post is inserted. When people embed this infographic onto their sites, you'll automatically gain a backlink.

Use canva or fotor or free infographic makers online to convert your content into beautiful and relevant infographics.

Step 3: Join Pinterest Boards And Pin Your Infographics

Here's where things get very interesting. I'm a huge advocate of Pinterest given how awesome the CTR's are.

Images have a much higher rate of going viral on Pinterest than on any other social networking site. It's pretty awesome.

First, sign up for pinterest and apply for Rich Pins. Rich pins have bold headlines and a cool little description attached to each image. You'll need it.

Next, head over to PinGroupie, search for a few boards that are related to your niche and apply for admission. It should take some time but if you apply to many boards, you're bound to get into a few of them.

Once in, pin your infographics, edit the description using copywriting techniques that encourage higher click through rates. This should drive traffic to your site and quite a bit of social networking links.

They may not be as strong as a traditional dofollow backlink from a website but don't discount their relevance!

Check this out: 9 Sizzling Hot Ways To Get More Traffic

Step 4: Write 5 - 10 Highly Informative Articles (Don't Publish Them Until You Read This)

Now that your site has great content, social networking shares and some engagement, it's time to reach out to blog owners and convince them of featuring you on their site.
Guest posting is a numbers game. The more applications you make, the greater chance you have of acceptance.

My approach is slightly different than the typical approach. I research and craft epic content prior to reaching out to blog owners. I attach a portion of the post as a tease and inform the blog owner of what I can bring to the table.

The key is to focus on what these blog owners have to get from allowing you to appear on their blogs.

It's a two-way street demanding a give-and-get relationship. I place everything I have to give on the table from the get-go which has gotten me quite a number of successful guest posting opportunities.

That's It! 

Rinse and repeat this system for continuous growth. SEO can be uncomplicated and effective if you just focus all your attention towards 2 - 3 actions that bring the most results.

Myself and many others have had a wonderful experience using this SEO strategy. You can too!
Let me know in the comment section what strategies you've used to improve your search rankings and don't forget to subscribe for more content like this.

Talk soon!