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13 Actionable Steps to Monetize Your Website

13 Actionable Steps to Monetize Your Website

Creating a website allowed you to successfully break into the online scene. Now you’re investing time and a lot of love into keeping your website real and fresh for your audience.

Fortunately, there are ways to earn money from your site, which so many have grown to adore, with a bit of hard work and ingenuity. This guide will show you how to monetize a website using 13 proven methods that can drive revenue and positively transform your online presence.

How to monetize a website

01. Sell merchandise

The internet retail sector is thriving. An estimated 4 out of 5 Americans shop online and in Europe, these numbers are even higher, according to a recent industry report. In turn, many who are looking to create their own monetary opportunities are launching eCommerce websites.

In order to successfully open your own online store, you’ll need to first create a product, either in digital or physical form. If you already have a website for a business or hobby, you can consider a type of product that complements the theme of your website. For instance, Colorful Petals, a personal site by a Japanese fresh paper florist, houses an online store where loyal fans can purchase their own peony paper DIY kits.

Afterward, simply add a store to your site. You can operate it from anywhere, handle all your transactions – payments, refunds and payouts – in one place, and then fulfill and manage every order. In this rapidly expanding industry, you’ll also want to stay on top of the latest eCommerce trends, like personalization and offering a seamless checkout experience, to ensure you stand out from the crowd.

02. Build a membership area

You can increase user engagement while earning a profit by creating a membership area for your site. Like a paywall, its goal is to turn readers into customers by getting them to purchase special access to parts of your site. If people are interested in you, they are willing to pay a small fee for more.

Your offerings can range from gated premium content, online services, downloadable material to a “VIP lounge” for members only.

Before you start building a membership area, think about what type of content you’ll offer and how to deliver it. There are several membership models to choose from, including a drip feed one that slowly trickles down content to registered users, an all-in membership which gives access all at once, and a fixed term membership that can be activated for a week, month or year. Once you add a membership section to your site, it’s time to create buzz around it. Give your followers a sneak peek of what to expect with a free one-time pass or offer special discounts to try it out.

03. Become an affiliate marketer

Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to get started on your website monetization. It is the process where one party agrees to market the goods of a business and earn a commission with each sale they bring in. It also takes time and a bit of strategy to do it right.

Companies are able to track an affiliate’s performance and potential earnings based on purchases via an affiliate link which they provide. For example, a fashion blogger can make extra cash if a reader buys a shirt through their affiliate link. You can earn money per sale, per lead and per click. If you decide to experiment with affiliate marketing to make money online, you’ll want to keep a few important things in mind to ensure your success and take the best approach for your readers:

  • Select a brand you trust. An endorsement must reflect your honest opinion. Otherwise, your promotion of a product or service can be misleading. And when you make a real connection with the product, people will notice and respond. Just like any good partnership, you’ll want to find your ideal match when looking for an affiliate program. Some popular choices include Amazon Associates, ShareASale and the Wix Affiliate Program. Research prospective companies before closing a deal to market them.
  • Recommend services or products your audience will benefit from. Your audience returns to your site because it offers them value in the form of informative content, beneficial links and recommendations. Every time you add something to your website, think about how it can further enrich your readers’ lives.
  • Be transparent. You should disclose your affiliate links and be completely open with your readers. They are smart and able to make informed decisions when it comes to personal spending. In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission requires affiliates to disclose their relationships with brands they are paid to promote. That’s why you’ll want to check out the FTC endorsement guidelines before you get started. For those operating outside of the U.S., be sure to read about your country’s laws on affiliate marketing.

04. Offer consulting services

Here’s a thought. Why not capitalize on your expertise via consulting? Your website is an ideal platform to start offering your services and receiving payment in return. To begin, you’ll need an online scheduling software where potential clients can book a service or make a consultation appointment directly through your website. With this advanced tool, you will also be able to accept payments, host session sessions online with Zoom, offer memberships or packages and manage all your clients.

Furthermore, consulting allows you to establish your speciality and helps you develop new techniques through working with different clients. By doing so, you’ll also be able to sharpen your analytical and communication skills.

05. Design an online course

Another way to generate income as an expert is by creating a paid online course. With virtual classes on the rise, you won’t have problems finding students.

Focus on a specialized area that appeals to you and your audience. It should be something that you are knowledgeable about and are also driven by. Then, you’ll need to write out a plan. Ask yourself this, “Is what I want to teach relevant to others?” This can help narrow your ideas and expectations to match what you set to accomplish in your online course.

Then, you can begin making the content that goes with it. That includes filming or audio recording your sessions, editing them and uploading material for those enrolled.

An online exercise course to monetize your website

06. Start a paid newsletter

Launching a paid newsletter is a fun way to share your creativity to a dedicated following as you monetize your website. Readers pay a subscription fee to access exclusive content via email. If you have a website on Wix, you can manage exclusive content to paying members by offering pricing plans.

When it comes to choosing a pricing model, go with one that you feel comfortable with. In its early stages, you might want to experiment with lower prices for your first paying subscribers. You can also offer a limited number of subscriptions at a fixed price. Once they sell out, you’ll know you’ve generated an interest and can take the next step to ramp up your price.

In terms of planning content, you’ll want to focus each newsletter on a specific topic around you and your audience’s interests. Then, set a delivery date so that your subscribers will know when to expect it. For yourself, create a schedule for publishing content that you can stick to. Additionally, newsletters are also scalable, so as your subscription number grows you can begin to cover more content.

07. Try dropshipping

While the idea of selling merchandise is an attractive way to monetize a website, you might not have the physical space nor the capability to oversee orders. An alternative to that scenario is dropshipping, which is an order fulfillment method that lets you sell products without having to manage your own inventory and connects you with third-party retailers to pass on the sales order.

Dropshipping also provides flexibility in your product offering, making it easy to adjust or change your merchandise since you’re not limited to what’s left in storage or what you can manufacture. It also takes little investment to start and no commitment to order minimums. You can experiment with products – test out what works or doesn’t – without risk.

08. Advertise on your website

This section needs no introduction. The reality is that ads are everywhere and it’s usually the first choice that comes to mind when thinking about how to monetize a website.

But if you plan on selling ad space on your website, you’ll want to make sure you pick ones that can perform well with your audience. In order for ads to make your site profitable, they need to resonate with your site visitors and encourage them to click. This is because you will be paid by advertisers depending on the number of clicks the ad gets, known as pay-per-click.

That said, there are many different kinds of ads to consider for your website. Here are just a few to choose from:

  • Static ads are images that contain permanent content. They only need to be assembled once and require no maintenance, for example a banner.
  • Animated ads are created as Gifs, HTML 5 banners or short videos and typically run between 5-10 seconds. They can be effective in getting the message across faster than the other types of ads.
  • Native ads resemble the content around it and are optimized to match the platform upon which they appear. They usually take the form of articles, videos and infographics.

You can also use Google AdSense which pairs ads to your website according to your content and visitors. While it’s free to participate, there’s a disadvantage to taking this route since you cannot pick which ads to show on your site.

09. Do sponsored reviews

You can write a sponsored review that blends on your page. Unlike working with ad firms, you won’t need to wait to get paid per click. Instead, reach out to potential advertisers who might want to buy a sponsored review from you.

You’ll want to try out the product on offer and see if it meets your standards before making any association with it. Remember that you should only endorse products or brands that you trust. In fact, stay away from anything that’s sub-standard. If it meets your criteria for quality, then you can write an effective review for your audience. Then you can wholeheartedly feature the product on your esteemed website.

10. Write an ebook

Bring your expertise into the fold of long-form content. By writing an ebook you can further develop your ideas rather than with a single post that typically tackles one concept at a time. And with a book, you can present a lot of critical information in a way that people will be more willing to read.

Like the creation process of any good product, you’ll need to take time to put together an ebook. First, you’ll need to do research about your topic. Second, you’ll need to invest in additional resources, such as the design for the cover and potentially hire a professional editor. However, since there’s no middleman, like a publisher, between you and your buyers, you’ll get to sell directly and keep all the profits.

11. Create webinars

Position yourself as an authority figure in your field and share your knowledge in the form of a paid webinar, which is an online presentation held in real-time. It typically runs up to 45 minutes.

You’ll need to pick your topic and do some research. In order to make your webinar stand out from your competitors, make sure you provide attendees with an extra value that only you can offer. Then, you’ll want to investigate what similar webinars are charging for access to help you figure out your admissions fee.

Finally, set a date and time for your webinar and spread the word. You can say it in a banner on your website, send a message to your email list, create a landing page, write a blog post or hit social media.

Create a webinar to monetize your website

12. Accept donations

Your web visitors enjoy consuming every single area of your site, from its original content to the thoughtful visuals you continually add or update. That means you’ve been pouring in time, effort and resources to make it look good.

Consider asking your readers for donations to help cover expenses and further support your way to internet success. One of the easiest ways to accept monetary donations is via PayPal. You can write an open and honest message to your followers and feature it somewhere on your homepage, along with a button that invites them to contribute. Wix streamlines the process of setting up a PayPal Donate button in a few simple steps.

13. ‘Hire me’ page

In addition to monetization tools that can be integrated on your website, you can also create a “Hire me” page to bring you extra source of income. Simply put, this is a dedicated page where you’ll advertise your talents and skills for hire, from personal training to graphic design.

For your “Hire me” page, it’s always a good idea to present your past work, or portfolio, and highlight testimonials from past customers. Remember to add a call-to-action button so people know how to communicate with you. Some commonly used CTAs include, “contact me” or “learn more.” You can also place a contact form at the bottom of the page that sends clients directly to you.

E-commerce SEO: How To Drive Traffic and Increase Sales

E-commerce SEO: How To Drive Traffic and Increase Sales

Online stores are just as reliant on good SEO as other, content-heavy websites. With a well-optimized website, your e-commerce website can get more traffic and subsequently, make more sales. Explore the secrets of good e-commerce SEO and learn how to apply them.

Many Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts focus on driving traffic to your blog or business website. However, SEO is also important for e-commerce stores. If you’re lagging behind in Google’s search results, then you could also be missing out on sales.

In this article, we’ll explore why SEO is crucial for e-commerce success. We’ll then share 13 tips for improving your store’s SEO, including how to create search engine-friendly templates for your products and product categories.

Table of Contents

What Is E-commerce SEO?

E-commerce SEO is the process of improving your online store’s visibility in search engine results pages and generating more organic (free) traffic to your e-commerce website. The E-commerce SEO process typically involves on-page optimization, technical improvements, and fine-tuning your website’s structure.

There are multiple acquisition channels for e-commerce sites, but SEO is crucial to long-term success. Fortunately, there are plenty of techniques that can help your store climb the search engine rankings. By performing thorough, product-focused keyword research and learning from your competitors, you can get your e-commerce SEO strategy off to the best possible start.

Why Is SEO Important for Your E-commerce Site?

Regardless of your business’ size, target audience, or industry, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential for maximizing your profits. Search engines such as Google are now an integral part of the online shopping experience.

You can verify this using any analytics platform, including Google Analytics. Simply log in to your chosen platform, and examine your main sources of traffic. Chances are that organic search will feature prominently. In fact, for many e-commerce stores, Google is their number-one source of traffic.

When you look at the numbers, it’s easy to see why. According to the Global Digital Overview, Google.com is the most visited website in the world. This places it above many other household names, including YouTube, Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix. 

It’s estimated that 40–60 billion searches happen on Google in the US every single month. For e-commerce stores, organic search means a huge potential audience, and lots of additional revenue just waiting to be tapped into. In fact, over 40 percent of revenue for most stores can be attributed to organic traffic, and 39 percent of online purchases are influenced by a relevant search. 

Organic search results are also far more attractive to users when compared to more traditional, paid advertising. According to research, 62.2 percent of Google searches performed on desktop devices result in an organic click, while only 2.8 percent result in a paid click. 

These figures are similar on mobile devices, where about 41 percent of mobile searches result in an organic click. This is a dramatic increase over paid advertising, where only 2 percent of searches result in a paid click. By concentrating on SEO, you can expect 20 times more traffic opportunities than Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising offers on both desktop and mobile. 

In other words, it’s impossible to deny how important SEO is to your online store’s success. If you neglect SEO, you’re limiting your business’ growth and profits.

How Does E-commerce SEO Work?

Search engines use a combination of crawlers (bots), indexes, and algorithms to determine which content deserves the top spot. To give your store the best chance of ranking high, it’s worth exploring the science behind how search engines work. 

The process starts with “crawling”. This is where search engines send out a team of bots that find new and updated content. That might include a product you’ve just added to your store or a new review left by a satisfied customer. 

The discovered content is then stored in a database known as an index. Once your content is in Google’s index, it’s in the running to appear in relevant search results. Whenever someone performs a search, Google will scour its index for relevant content. If yours is deemed a good match for the query, then it’s more likely to be included in the search results.

Google arranges its content in a way that’s designed to resolve the search query as efficiently as possible. This process is known as ranking. Your page’s rankings will determine where they appear in the search results. The higher each page ranks, the closer it will appear to the coveted number-one spot.

Where your store appears in search results can have a huge impact on how much traffic it receives. Moving up just one spot in Google’s results can increase your Click Through Rates (CTRs) by more than 53 percent. This could translate to a significant increase in visits, conversions, and ultimately more revenue for your e-commerce store. 

What’s more, the first page of Google receives 95 percent of web traffic, with subsequent pages receiving five percent or less of total traffic. If you excel at SEO and manage to score that lucrative number-one spot, then your store is 10 times more likely to receive a click as compared to a page in the tenth spot. That’s an advantage well worth pursuing.

A Step-by-Step Guide to E-commerce SEO (13 Key Steps)

As we’ve seen, SEO is critical for driving traffic, boosting leads, and generating sales. If your e-commerce site is going to thrive, then it’s essential that you climb the search engine results, and get the virtual foot traffic your store deserves.

With that in mind, let’s look at 13 ways you can perform e-commerce SEO.

Step 1: Conduct Keyword Research

Keyword research is where you identify words and phrases that people use when searching for content that’s relevant to your e-commerce store. This includes your services and products.

Keyword research is essential for any successful SEO strategy. The phrases you identify during this step will inform all of your subsequent optimization efforts. 

There are two basic categories of keywords:

  • Informational: These are terms that people use to discover informative content, such as how-tos and tutorials. If your e-commerce store has a blog, then these are the terms you’ll be looking to target.
  • Product/Transactional: These are terms used by people looking for a certain product. For an e-commerce website, these terms will form the core of your keyword strategy.

Finding the Right Keywords

To find the right keywords to target, you’ll need to research the most popular search terms used by people looking for your products.

You can find keywords by using Google automated suggestions and ‘people also ask’ features. These provide useful indications of the most popular keywords. You can also take a look at your successful competitors to see which terminology they’re using for their SEO strategy and emulate them

For e-commerce searches, Amazon is just as popular as Google. You can learn from the best by examining Amazon’s keyword strategies. Head over to Amazon and enter keywords that describe your products. Amazon will then make suggestions based on each phrase:

amazon-keyword-research

These suggestions are a great starting point for your SEO strategy, as they’re terms your customers are likely to be using. You’ll also notice that these suggestions tend to be long-tail keywords, which can be less competitive. 

Alternatively, you can explore Amazon’s search suggestions using a standalone solution such as Keyword Tool Dominator.

Keyword Research Tools

Amazon is a great place to start, but it isn’t the only place where you can perform keyword research. There are a lot of top-quality solutions out there that can help you out. Some excellent tools to get started with include KWFinderAhrefs, and Keyword Explorer.

The SEMrush visibility management platform also provides keyword research solutions. You can perform a quick analysis using Keyword Overview, while Keyword Magic is perfect for identifying long-tail keywords:

semrush-keyword-overview

You can then use Ads History to identify whether these keywords were previously used in paid searches. If a keyword was featured in an ad, then you can view the amount of traffic generated from that promotion. This can help you gauge the amount of interest in the keywords you’re considering targeting.

Finally, you can use Keyword Difficulty to estimate how challenging it would be to outrank the pages that are currently presented for each keyword. When determining which keywords to target, you should focus on “untapped keywords” wherever possible. These are keywords that have a decent search volume and low competition and have the potential to deliver the highest Return On Investment (ROI). 

Exactly what a good search volume is can vary depending on your industry. However, be wary of keywords that get a very low amount of searches. If no one is using a particular phrase, then it doesn’t matter how well that term converts.

Step 2: Research Your Competitors

The world of e-commerce is highly competitive. However, this can be a good thing, as you can learn from similar businesses. Competitor research involves analyzing your competitors’ SEO strategies. You can then identify the tactics that are working, and reverse-engineer them to use for your own store. 

There are several ways to perform competitor research, but one of the most effective is keyword analysis, also known as keyword gap analysis. This is where you use a tool such as Moz’s Keyword Explorer to identify the terms that your competitors are ranking highly for:

moz-keyword

Then you can analyze those high-performing keywords and identify any that are relevant to your business. For best results, you can focus on keywords where your competitors are outperforming you by a significant margin.

If you manage to improve your rankings for these relevant, high-performing keywords, then you could experience a significant SEO boost. This can improve your traffic and conversions. It also improves your chances of outperforming your competitors and becoming a market leader in your field. 

Another technique is to identify competitor content that has generated a lot of backlinks. Links from third-party websites can significantly improve your search engine rankings. You can identify your competitor’s most popular and frequently-linked content using a tool such as Link Explorer.

Simply enter your competitor’s domain, and open the Top Pages tab. This report will display all of the domain’s linked URLs. Then you can input these top-performing URLs into a keyword research tool, such as Moz’s Ranking Keywords, to see which ones attracted the most external links. This is useful information for informing your own SEO and content creation strategies.

Step 3: Optimize Your Product Pages

Once you’ve performed your keyword and competitor research, you can start to use this information to optimize your on-page SEO. This is where you improve your homepage and inner pages to help them rank higher in search engines such as Google. 

Product Descriptions

Chances are that your e-commerce site features a large number of product pages. The typical product page contains many elements, but the description tends to be the most text-heavy element. This means it offers the most opportunities to optimize on-page SEO.

If you’re using the popular WooCommerece e-commerce platform, then you can define two separate product descriptions:

  • A short description. Most WooCommerce themes display this description immediately after the product title, and alongside its images.
  • A long description. This usually appears beneath the short description.

While these texts should provide relevant information to shoppers, they’re also a great place to include keywords. Wherever possible, try to use your target keywords at least once in both your short description and long description (but make sure to incorporate them organically).

H1-Tags

When it comes to headings, it’s important to ensure that each product page features a single primary title, marked with an H1 tag. Search engine bots will use heading tags to identify your product page’s most important content. Placing multiple H1s on the same page can confuse these bots, and negatively impact your SEO.

Images

Most product pages will also feature at least one image. For an extra SEO boost, it’s important to optimize the alt text and file names associated with each image. 

Alt text can provide Google with valuable information about an image’s content. This increases your chances of ranking product images in Google Image Searches. You can set your image alt text by editing the image and using the Alt Text box:

wordpress-alt-text

It’s also a good idea to use relevant keywords for your image file names. For example, instead of “product-inventory-1423.jpg”, you could label an image “red-laptop-case.jpg”.

Step 4: Optimize Your Snippets

The snippet is the text that represents your web page in Google’s search results. To optimize a page’s snippet, we recommend using a dedicated SEO plugin. 

One of the most popular SEO plugins is Yoast SEO. You can use Yoast to optimize the following:

Meta Title

The meta title, also known as the title tag, is a key indicator to Google about the page’s content. The perfect title is informative and attention-grabbing, encouraging people to click on your link in the search results. The meta title doesn’t necessarily have to be the same as the product or page title.

Meta Description

The meta description should be short, succinct, and compelling. There’s no need to include keywords here, but the few sentences used for the description should be relevant to the search. To encourage people to click on your search results, you may want to highlight incentives such as low prices or free shipping.

URL Slug

This is another way to feed search engines important contextual information about a page’s contents. For e-commerce sites, the auto-generated URL slugs can be complex, particularly when products are nested in multiple sub-categories. It’s a good idea to shorten your URLs, to make them as concise as possible.

Structured Data

It’s also a good idea to explore the worlds of rich snippets. These snippets are used to present richer search results on a Google results page. They can appear as reviews, star ratings, opening times, recipes, events, etc.

Rich snippets use schema markup – HTML code which site operations can add to the page’s existing code. If you’re already using Elementor, you can use the star rating widget, which comes with pre-built rich snippets and Google structured mark-up capabilities. 

Rich snippets are not a direct SEO ranking factor. However, they can help your e-commerce site stand out in Google’s search results, which can boost your CTRs. If you’re using WooCommerce, this widget will automatically add some structured data for products.

Step 5: Optimize Your Category and Tag Archives

Optimizing your single product pages is a great start. However, it’s also a good idea to take a close look at your category pages and tags. Creating unique SEO descriptions for both your category and tag pages helps Google to understand what each page is all about, so it can rank that page appropriately. 

You can write a unique SEO title and description for each category or tag using a plugin such as Yoast SEO. In the WordPress dashboard, navigate to either Products > Categoriesor Products > Tags:

yoast-seo

You can then open the tag or category for editing. Next, scroll down to the Yoast SEO box and create your descriptions. To make these as SEO-friendly as possible, we recommend including relevant keywords, including long-tail variations. 

Some themes will automatically display the description that you set in a category or tag’s settings. However, not all themes display this information. In that case, you can add these descriptions using Elementor WooCommerce Builder. For example, to display the category description you can add Elementor’s Archive Description to your product category template.

Step 6: Consider Modifying Your Breadcrumbs

A breadcrumb or breadcrumb trail is a line of text, often located at the top of a page. This indicates the user’s location within your store:

Many different kinds of websites use breadcrumbs as a navigational aid. However, they are particularly useful for e-commerce stores, where products are often nested inside a hierarchy of categories and sub-categories.

As a navigational tool, breadcrumbs help improve the User Experience (UX). When customers are enjoying their time in your store, they’re more likely to continue browsing. This increases key SEO metrics, such as session duration and number of pages visited. It can also directly translate into sales, as the more products a customer views, the more likely they are to make a purchase. 

Breadcrumbs help Google understand and crawl your e-commerce store, which can improve your rankings. Google will also display breadcrumbs in its search results. This can help potential customers understand the contents of your web page before clicking on it. 

WooCommerce comes with its own breadcrumbs feature. However, you can get more control over your breadcrumbs by using PHP filters. You can also manually adjust WooCommerce’s native breadcrumbs using an SEO plugin.

For example, Yoast SEO can customize the contents of each product’s auto-generated breadcrumbs. To do this, navigate to Yoast SEO > Search Appearance > Breadcrumbs:

Yoast SEO also adds JSON-LD structured data. This increases the chances that Google will feature your breadcrumbs in its search results.

Step 7: Test Your robots.txt File

Your website’s robots.txt file provides instructions to the crawlers that are responsible for searching the web and recording information about its content. You can use this file to specify which parts of your site these crawlers can access, and which parts they should ignore.

If your robots.txt file is configured incorrectly, then it can prevent Google from crawling and indexing specific product pages, or even your entire e-commerce store. Even simple formatting errors can prevent some of your pages from being indexed correctly, having a disastrous impact on your SEO.

To make sure search engines can actually see all of your products, you should ensure that your robots.txt file is configured correctly. You can test this using Google’s robots.txt Tester tool.

If this tool identifies an issue with your robots.txt file, then you can edit it using an SEO plugin. If you’re using Yoast SEO, you can navigate to SEO > Tools and select File Editor:

yoast-robot-editor

Yoast SEO will display your robots.txt file, and you can edit it or upload an alternative file as needed.

Step 8: Switch to HTTPS

Since you’ll likely be handling payments through your e-commerce site, it’s crucial to provide a secure connection using Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). HTTPS is a protocol that encrypts the data sent between your web server and the customer’s browser. 

Switching to HTTPS can help keep your customers safe. It can also improve your SEO, as Google uses HTTPS as a ranking signal: “For now it’s only a very lightweight signal….But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”

After analyzing one million Google search results, SEO specialist and founder of Backlinko Brian Dean confirmed that switching to HTTPS does have a positive impact on search engine rankings. The 2019 Ranking Factors Study conducted by SEMrush also concluded that HTTPS is now a very strong ranking factor. 

Therefore, it’s a good idea to verify that your e-commerce store is using HTTPS. If it isn’t, we’d highly recommend making the switch, as it will almost certainly have a positive impact on your store’s search engine rankings (and keep your customers’ transactions safe).

Step 9: Test Your Store’s Performance

It’s also a good idea to explore the worlds of rich snippets. These snippets are used to present richer search results on a Google results page. They can appear as reviews, star ratings, opening times, recipes, events, etc.

Rich snippets use schema markup – HTML code which site operations can add to the page’s existing code. If you’re already using Elementor, you can use the star rating widget, which comes with pre-built rich snippets and Google structured mark-up capabilities. 

Rich snippets are not a direct SEO ranking factor. However, they can help your e-commerce site stand out in Google’s search results, which can boost your CTRs. If you’re using WooCommerce, this widget will automatically add some structured data for products.

To keep your WooCommerce site running fast, you can follow the tips in our guide to speeding up WordPress. You can also improve performance using the WP Rocket plugin, which even has built-in integration for WooCommerce.

When it comes to testing your store’s performance, we’d recommend the following tools:

  • Google PageSpeed Insights. This platform evaluates how well your store performs on both desktop and mobile devices. It will then offer suggestions and best practices for boosting your website’s speed and overall performance. 
  • Pingdom by SolarWinds. You can use this platform to test your website, but Pingdom also provides automated uptime monitoring. A recent study by Moz found that intermittent 500 internal server errors can cause issues with tracked keywords. If your store is offline for a significant amount of time, that could have a negative impact on SEO. Pingdom can notify you if your e-commerce store experiences any downtime. This helps you resolve the issue before it has a chance to impact your SEO. 
  • GTmetrix. This platform provides detailed, real-time performance tracking. The in-depth metrics include a visual representation of how every single asset on your website loads, including your CSS, HTML, JavaScript, images, plugins, and third-party content. GTmetrix also provides recommendations for improving your store’s performance. 

It’s a smart idea to test your store on a regular basis. This helps you identify and resolve any issues promptly before they degrade your SEO. It also means you can continuously refine your store’s performance — and by extension its rankings.

Step 10: Consider Using a Third-Party SEO Plugin

As we’ve mentioned, Yoast SEO is a great option for WooCommerce stores. Even better, there’s a dedicated Yoast WooCommerce SEO extension. This extension adds some useful features specifically designed for online stores, including rich e-commerce details for specific social media platforms. This can be useful if your products receive a lot of shares on social sites.

The WooCommerce extension also cleans up your XML sitemap. This removes irrelevant content, which is useful since the WooCommerce platform does have a reputation for creating a lot of duplicate content.

For example, all the parameters that your customers use to filter your products will create extra URLs that feature duplicate content. You don’t want Google focusing its resources on indexing these pages when it could be concentrating on the content that you actually want it to rank. 

Another popular SEO plugin is Rank Math. This tool has built-in compatibility with Elementor, which is great if you’re planning to use Elementor WooCommerce Builder to design your store. 

Alternatively, you can use the All in One SEO Pack. The free version of this plugin comes with basic support for WooCommerce. However, you’ll need to purchase the Pro version to unlock additional WooCommerce-related features, including setting SEO titles and meta descriptions for product category and tag archives.

Step 11: Create an SEO Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is the process of creating various forms of content, including blog posts, videos, and infographics. This content can attract more traffic to your store, and ultimately drive conversions.

The key to a successful content marketing strategy is to provide your readers with valuable information, especially if it helps them resolve a pertinent problem. This creates a sense of trust that first-time buyers may need before sharing their credit card details with an online store. 

By publishing useful content on a regular basis, you can build a long-term relationship with your customers. You can also inspire a sense of brand loyalty that can transform one-time purchasers into loyal repeat customers. 

For the best results, it’s a good idea to identify the challenges your customers are currently experiencing. You can then produce content that helps them overcome those problems. It may help to interview your target audience about the issues they’re facing, and the topics they’re interested in. You can then create a content calendar that’s tailored to meet their exact needs.

Your previous research can also come in useful. Ideally, you should have a list of high-value keywords that are relevant to your e-commerce store. You can build some of your content around those terms.

You can also use your competitor research to influence your content marketing strategy. For example, if a competitor’s post gained an unusually large number of backlinks, then you might create content that covers a similar topic. You can then reach out to the third parties that linked to the existing content, to see whether they’re interested in featuring yours instead.

Finally, when it’s time to publish your content, try to include at least one relevant Call To Action (CTA). This is essential for converting traffic into paying customers.

Step 12: Secure Valuable Backlinks

Link building plays a vital role in SEO. When an external website links to your e-commerce store, search engines count that as an endorsement of your store’s content. Each external link will pass authority, relevancy, and trust to your site. You can measure the strength of your backlink profile by checking the Domain Authority and Page Authority in a tool such as Ahrefs.

The most valuable external links come from sources that are trusted by Google. This might include established websites that have a large following, and a long history of obeying Google’s guidelines. The source should also be topically related to your website’s content. For example, if your electronics store receives a link from a blog discussing the best smart TVs of 2020, then this is great for your SEO. 

The best way to earn backlinks is to produce valuable content. This might involve creating long and in-depth posts, or concentrating on content forms that are proven to attract plenty of external links. According to a study by BuzzSumo, 75 percent of all online content gets zero links, while some types of content are greatly preferred. Popular options for backlinks include list posts, quizzes, videos, infographics, and how-to articles. 

It may also help to perform a link gap analysis. This is where you identify links your competitors have earned that are relevant to your e-commerce site. You can use Link Explorer’s Link Intersect tool to identify domains and URLs that link to your competitors, but not to you. This gives you a list of places to target as a part of your external link building strategy.

Step 13: Don’t Forget About Internal Links

SEO experts put a lot of emphasis on external links, but internal links can also boost your SEO. While backlinks are hyperlinks between two different websites, an internal link is a hyperlink between two different pages of the same website.

Although they’re often overlooked, internal links can have a positive impact on SEO. Research suggests that session duration and the number of pages visited per session are two of the most important ranking factors. Internal links can boost both of these metrics by helping visitors find related content.

Additionally, internal links help to define your site architecture – i.e. the relationship between the pages on your site, and where they fit within the website’s overall structure. Inner pages with lots of internal links will be seen as more valuable. Likewise, pages with internal links from high-value pages, such as the homepage, are seen as focal to your website.

The great thing about internal links is that you’re in control. This means you can choose your own anchor text. Ideally, the anchor text should contain keywords that you want the page to rank for.

Anchor text can also be branded or unbranded. Branded links contain your store’s name, and are useful for improving visibility. For internal links, we recommend using non-branded anchor text, unless the page you’re linking to only has branded content and doesn’t rank for non-branded terms.

Fortunately, it’s easy to create an internal link in Elementor. Simply select the text that you want to link in the text editor, and it will automatically suggest relevant content you can link to.

After adding your internal links, it’s a good idea to monitor the health of those URLs. A study of over 450 million web pages found that 80 percent of the websites had broken links. This can have a negative impact on the customer experience, and damage your SEO. 

You can use a backlink health checking tool, such as Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider, to identify unhealthy link behavior, including broken links. After finding a problematic URL, you can either update it, set up a redirect, or remove it entirely.

How to Optimize the Organic Traffic Conversion Rate

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) involves trying to increase the percentage of visitors who convert on your website. For e-commerce stores, this typically involves transforming visitors into paying customers. 

Just as with a physical storefront, it’s important to get a large number of people through the door. However, if most of those people are content to browse without ever making a purchase, your business will struggle to turn a profit. By concentrating on CRO, on the other hand, you can get more customers from the same amount of traffic.

A successful CRO strategy involves making the purchasing process frictionless. It’s a smart idea to use tracking tools to map the journey buyers take through your e-commerce store. You can then focus your efforts on refining that path. This often involves providing a clear sales funnel, from the moment the visitor arrives on your website right through to the point when they complete the checkout process.

To provide a better purchasing experience, you can also offer multiple payment gateways. This lets customers choose how they want to pay. Wherever possible, it’s also a good idea to give customers the option to check out without creating an account. 

To deliver a seamless customer experience, it may help to conduct customer surveys or perform A/B testing and experiment with various CTAs. For example, a recent test by HubSpot found that anchor text CTAs delivered a much higher conversion rate than end-of-post banners. Every website is unique, so rather than guess what your customers will respond positively to, it’s always a good idea to put your theories to the test.

How to Analyze Your E-commerce SEO Strategy’s Success

SEO optimization isn’t a one time task. Search engines such as Google are notorious for changing their algorithms and ranking factors over time. If you want to maintain your search position, then be prepared to monitor your website’s performance and refine your SEO accordingly. 

You may also add content to your e-commerce store. This might include new products or blog posts that you generate as a part of your content marketing strategy. To help Google understand and rank this new content, it’s a smart move to perform SEO optimization on every piece of new content that you publish.

You can also monitor your SEO using tools such as Google Analytics. In particular, we’d recommend paying careful attention to traffic numbers, and time spent in your store. You can use these metrics to identify and improve issues. For example, a high volume of traffic but a low percentage of repeat visitors may indicate that your store is struggling to hold customer interest.

Boosting Your Sales With E-commerce SEO

If your products aren’t ranking highly in Google’s search results, then you could be missing out on sales. Thankfully, by following our e-commerce SEO tips, you can climb the rankings and maybe even score that coveted number-one spot.

By conducting thorough keyword research and learning from your competitors, you can get your SEO strategy off to a strong start. You can then optimize your product pages to help them rank higher in search engines, using techniques such as snippets and breadcrumbs. Finally, you can increase key metrics, including session duration and number of pages visited, with an effective content marketing strategy. 

9 Best WordPress News Sources for 2021

9 Best WordPress News Sources for 2021

If you use WordPress in any capacity, it’s a good idea to stay informed about the platform and it’s community. Three types of news in particular should be paid special attention to: official WordPress announcements and development updates, prominent third party development updates (specifically, those of the tools in your “WordPress Tool Kit”), and finally, broader WordPress Community conversations including users and thought leaders. If all of these news “types” are in your feed (or inbox) then you’ll be empowered to better understand and use WordPress as well as plan long term decisions based on current conversations and development.

In this post, we’ll run down the very best WordPress news sources to follow for 2021 and beyond. 

Let’s dive in!

The Best WordPress News Sources for 2021

The list below isn’t exhaustive, but is a great start to populate your favorite RSS reader. What’s more, these sources aren’t listed in any particular order, so feel free to run the rule over the ones that pique your interest. Without further ado, let’s get started!

1. WPTavern

The WPTavern home page.

No list of the best WordPress news sources would be complete without WPTavern. It’s been running for over a decade, and while it’s seen some personnel changes over the years, its core offering of up-to-date WordPress news is still strong.

The types of articles you’ll find on WPTavern are focused on what’s happening “under the hood” of WordPress. Given this, posts are generally developer-focused, and you can get a feel for the reader base from the comments section.

Speaking of which, most articles have a healthy discussion within the comments section. We’d argue this is a great way of getting to know how the “back end” community feels about certain topics:

The WPTavern comments section.

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that WPTavern has been owned by Automattic – the developers of WordPress – since 2011. However, this hasn’t affected the quality of the output in our opinion, nor has it introduced any explicit bias in which stories are covered.

Visit WordPress Tavern

2. Post Status

The Post Status home page.

Next up, Post Status takes the focus of WPTavern and ramps it up a notch. It’s billed as a community for WordPress professionals, and as such, is the first place many budding theme and plugin creators go for their daily news fixes.

The site is run by Brian Krogsgard, and iThemes’ Cory Miller joined as a partner in 2020. Both are experienced WordPress professionals, backed up by an equally impressive team. Between them, Post Status offers a number of channels to receive the latest WordPress news. While the site was initially known as a straightforward news site, it’s now grown to include a newsletterand podcast (which we’d recommend subscribing to).

However, if you need more from Post Status, you could also purchase a membership. This offers well-researched industry insights, a private Slack channel, and much more. While there is value in its free offerings, Post Status’ subscription tier is likely a valuable investment for many WordPress developers.

Visit Post Status

3. Twitter

The Twitter website.

Among the primordial soup of Tweets, you can find some of the earliest-breaking WordPress news. Of course, you have to know where to look. The beauty of the platform is that there are plenty of ways to source quality industry updates.

For example, you could simply follow all of the news sources on this list, and wait for them to Tweet content. Alternatively, you could also follow the developers of WordPress products, and get firsthand insight into what’s happening with various companies. 

Of course, you’re also going to want to follow topics using hashtags and other trending search terms to find the news you want. Some popular options related to WordPress include:

  • #wordpress
  • #wp
  • #webdevelopment
  • #webdesign
  • #seo
  • #plugins

You might also look into hashtags related to specific plugins or themes you’re interested in. For instance, #divi features some updates and content related to our flagship theme and page builder.

To find the latest content using the hashtags you’re interested in, just type them into the search bar on the Explore page:

Overall, using Twitter to get your WordPress news is a double-edged sword. It can provide lots of valuable information, but you’ll need to have a strategy for sorting through its ocean of content.

4. Ma.tt

The Ma.tt website.

Including the site of Matt Mullenweg – the co-creator of WordPress – is, on one hand, a no-brainer when it comes to finding WordPress news. However, we’ll admit that Matt doesn’t only publish platform-centric posts. In the spirit of WordPress itself, Ma.tt is a blog, and topics are discussed somewhat at random.

For example, you’ll find posts about the acquisition of Tumblr there. However, you’ll also get a yearly “What’s in my bag?” post, discussions on live streaming equipment, and much more.

On the surface, Ma.tt isn’t going to be a place you’ll get early breaking WordPress news. However, when it comes to getting inside the mind of a leading entrepreneur, you can’t beat it. At the very least, reading the content here is going to help you understand why you read the stories you do, and why those decisions have ultimately been made.

Visit Ma.tt

5. Make WordPress

The Make WordPress website.

When it comes to WordPress news, you could consider Make WordPress an almost perfect blend between Ma.tt, Post Status, and direct developer updates. It’s not a bonafide news source per se, although when it comes to official WordPress updates, it’s the place to be.

For the uninitiated, the Make WordPress website is essentially a microsite for contributors to the platform. As such, you’ll find dedicated areas for ThemesPluginsMarketingCore code, and much more. The primary purpose of these different teams is to provide a central repository for updates and resources. However, given that the channels are public, it’s also a great way to get WordPress news on any aspect of the platform.

Our advice is to subscribe for updates through an RSS reader. It could be noisy at times, as some of the posts aren’t designed as reading material for end-users. However, for upcoming updates and changes to WordPress’ offerings – the Block Editor being a perfect example – it’s a goldmine of information.

Visit Make WordPress

6. Developer Blogs

The Elegant Themes blog.

We mentioned direct developer updates in the last entry, and following specific theme and plugin blogs will also net you plenty of WordPress news. While the blogs on product sites are often centered around content marketing, you’ll also find changelogs, updates, and other news-worthy tidbits.

There are a few tips we recommend for filtering out the noise here. First, see if your RSS reader can filter based on taxonomies. If so, check out the blog of your chosen WordPress product for any categories or tags that relate to news.

Also, we don’t recommend following all of the developers you can find. Some of the more important ones – such as Automattic, Yoast, and of course, Elegant Themes – will likely be all you need.

Second, see if the product developers run personal blogs. It could be that these sites don’t contain anything WordPress-related. However, in some instances, you’ll find greater insight into the decisions by the company as a whole, which ultimately gives you more information.

7. WP Content

The WP Content home page.

Next on our list is a modern throwback to the old ManageWP.org aggregator. That site sadly doesn’t exist anymore, although WP Content looks to take its place. So far, the fledgling site succeeds.

It’s a community-driven website that aggregates WordPress news and ranks it accordingly. Since the lists are user-driven, it means these articles are genuinely the most engaging for other WordPress users. As such, you can see at a glance what the WordPress community is currently taking notice of.

What’s more, there are dedicated comments sections for all posts, so users can discuss the relative merits of each inclusion. This is going to give you greater insight into how the WordPress community enjoys (or doesn’t enjoy) the information it receives.

Visit WP Content

8. Torque

The Torque website.

Our next entry is a site that’s been around for a similar timeframe as WPTavern. However, Torque is more of a classic content site. In other words, it offers how-to’s and tutorials, alongside hot takes and editorials on current WordPress events.

Therefore, we’d argue that while its content is valuable, Torque is going to be more of a secondary source of WordPress news. Given that it offers content that expands on the latest WordPress happenings, you’ll want to consider Torque articles alongside previous breaking news, rather than as a go-to source for the latest. However, Doc Pop’s News Drop and Torque’s Social Hour are great listens that stand on their own.

Also, it’s worth noting that Torque is part of the WP Engine group. This is, of course, similar to WPTavern and Automattic. In our experience, we’ve also seen no bias or control exercised by WP Engine. As such, it’s a fine source of WordPress news that you’ll want to add to your list.

Visit Torque

9. Wordfence

The Wordfence blog.

Finally, we have a WordPress plugin developer we’d like to single out. While the Wordfence blog doesn’t contain current WordPress news reporting, it does offer something just as interesting.

Wordfence is often a leading source when it comes to security issues surrounding WordPress products. You’ll often find very detailed breakdowns of recent vulnerability fixes in various WordPress themes and plugins. In addition, the Wordfence blog has also investigated Direct Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and their actors, and much more.

When it comes to security – and more importantly the work the Threat Intelligence Team does to uncover WordPress vulnerabilities – this blog is worth its weight in platinum. We recommend subscribing for daily updates in order to help keep your sites safer.

Visit Wordfence

Conclusion

Rather than a need for gossip, keeping tabs on the latest WordPress news is vital to understanding how the community as a whole operates. What’s more, key updates and developments can only be found “straight from the horse’s mouth.” As such, subscribing to one or more news sources will help you keep a finger on the pulse of the WordPress community across a broad range of roles.

How to Reduce the Size of JPEG and Other Image Files

How to Reduce the Size of JPEG and Other Image Files

The images you use on your website are one of the most important elements. Not only do you want to have visually compelling imagery, but you also don’t want those images to be so large that they slow down the load time for your site. One of the main reasons a site will lag is because the images included in it have not been resized for optimal site performance.

In this article, we will explore manual methods for reducing image sizes in Photoshop including changing the file type, resizing, and compressing files using the Save for Web function. If those looking for something more automated, we’ll also look at some plugins and web-based options.

Changing The File Type

“File Size” for an image file refers to the number of pixels per inch. Generally, the more pixels per inch, the more information the file holds, thus, the bigger its size.

The two most common file types for images are JPG and PNG.

  • PNG – Portable Network Graphics  – This file type is mostly used for graphic files like logos, icons, illustrations, and text. When edited in a photo editing application like Photoshop, these files don’t lose much data when you manipulate or compress them. They are referred to as “lossless” for this reason. These files tend to be bigger in size for this reason.
  • JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group – This is the most common file type you’ll find for most images on the internet. This file type can manage millions of colors, can be highly compressed while preserving quality. These are referred to as “lossy” because the process of compressing them removes pixels from the image.

Either file type can work. Which one you choose really depends on your site, the number and type of photos you choose to use.

Here is a sample photo. Its original format was as a JPG file.

I used the File>Save As command in Photoshop and chose the PNG format and completed the save function.

When I changed the file type, the size of the file went from 646 MB to 1.3 KB. As noted above, PNG files are typically larger, so for this type of picture with a lot of color and detail, you may be better off staying with the JPEG version to ensure faster load times. If you know your image needs to be able to scale larger without losing resolution, go with the PNG version.

Note that there are many other file formats available. I’ve focused on JPEG and PNG because they are the most popular.

Manual Resizing in Photoshop

In Photoshop, you can use the Image>Image Size function to manually resize your image. The tool looks like this:

reducing file size in photoshop

You can see the current Image Size and pixel Dimensions are noted at the top of the tool. Any adjustments you make here will change the size.

Fit To is a drop-down list that has preset sizes and pixel settings.

resizing image files in photoshop

If I choose the first option in that list to adjust the dimensions and pixels per in (ppi) I can see how the file size will change.

resizing image files in photoshop

You can experiment with these settings to determine whether a standard size from the drop-down will work, or if you need to manually change the width, height, or resolution options to get the size you need.

Save for Web Function

Save for Web is different from Save As in that the web option removes metadata (details about the type and origin of the image) from the file before saving. This function is specifically meant for images that will display on the internet, so it can be a very fast way to resize while maintaining quality.

Find the Save for Web option by navigating to File>Export> Save for Web:

resizing images in photoshop

When the Save for Web window opens, you’ll notice another benefit of this function. If you select the 2-up tab at the top, you can see a comparison of the original image side-by-side with the changed image.

resizing images in photoshop

From here, use the presets in the upper-right corner to choose the JPG format and adjust the quality as you wish. After you make changes, you can see whether or not your new file is up to your quality standards via the image preview, and you can validate the change in file size by looking at the data under each image:

Note that you can also change the size by using the width and height fields in the lower right corner. Because this article is specifically looking at resizing, we aren’t covering the other options shown in the Save for Web screen, but you can read here for more detailed information.

WordPress Image Optimization Tools

Photoshop is a great option if you like to turn the dials yourself to reduce image file size yourself. If you are looking for something more automated to help with resizing your images, there are a good number of WordPress plugin options that can help. Here’s a list of a few popular options and a brief description of their benefits:

Imagify – Optimize all your images in one go, resize with ease and restore photos to their original versions when needed. It’s affordable too. This plugin is free to download and includes 20 MB of file space. Other options are $5 per month for 500MB and $10 per month for unlimited space.

ShortPixel – No file size limit and one API key for multiple sites allow for great utilization for this plugin. They also offer one-time and monthly plans for budget flexibility.

Optimole – For the data-oriented, Optimole offers a dashboard where you can review optimization stats. Their free plan allows for 5,000 visitors per month and unlimited bandwidth.

For a more complete comparison of these options and a handful of others, see this article.

Web Resources for Image Optimization

If you’re in a pinch for time and/or money, there are plenty of free online image optimization tools.

Compressjpg allows you to upload multiple files and resize them all at once. It also has a feature that will convert iPhone HEIC format photos to JPEG. Other similar sites are Tinypng well as Image Compressor.

Canva Pro is another popular site that not only resizes but also allows you to design and animate images, as well as format them for web or social media use. Its layout is intuitive and easy to use.

Wrapping Up

Don’t underestimate the importance of optimizing your images. Slow sites not only turn off viewers, they don’t get traction on Google search either.  Fast-loading, sharp images can provide that little extra something that sets your site apart from the rest. An optimized site will keep visitors coming back for more.

7 Types of Blog Posts that Generate Traffic & Engagement (And How to Create Them)

7 Types of Blog Posts that Generate Traffic & Engagement (And How to Create Them)

No matter how big or small your blog is, you want it to perform well. For a blog to have success, it needs high volume traffic. To perform even better, it also needs engagement. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the best types of blog posts that generate traffic and engagement.

Simply creating these posts isn’t going to cut it though. You really have to put the effort in to make them work as they should. For every type of blog post, we’ve included a list of steps to get you started.

Regardless of the type of blog post you choose for your next publication, there’s one thing you must always do. If you want to generate traffic and engagement, promote the post on all your promotion channels. Any blog post, no matter the amount of effort you put into it, won’t get traffic and engagement if no one knows it exists.

With that said, let’s dive in.

Expert Roundups

The first type of blog post on our list is expert roundups. The premise of an expert roundup is to select a group of experts and ask them the same question or their opinion about a specific topic. From a content marketing perspective, this type of post has huge potential for link building and influence. It’s regarded as one of the fastest ways to gain exposure as a blogger.

What isn’t fast about expert roundups, is putting them together. Actually, it might be one of the most time consuming of the list. What every blogger and content marketer will tell you is that no matter how much work they entail, they’re always worth it.

types of blog posts

How To Create an Expert Roundup

1. Choose the Topic

When creating an expert roundup, consider your target audience. If you have an engaged social media following, ask in a poll what they’d like to learn more about. Come up with an idea within your niche that will bring value to your readers. For example, in the post above, experts share their best tips on how to choose the best eCommerce Software Platform.

2. Find the Right Experts

Once you’ve chosen the topic, write up one or two questions that you’ll ask. Then, reach out to as many experts in your field as you can. Look for them on social media, or use a tool like Buzzsumo. Create a list of the most influential experts in your niche or industry. The longer the better! Make sure to get their emails so you can get in touch with them about your expert roundup.

3. Send Personalized Emails

Reach out to all the experts on your list with personalized email messages that include the question to be answered. You’ll have better results if you’ve already been engaging with these people on social media for a while. Collect all the responses and don’t forget to ask for a bio and photo.

4. Put it all Together

Put it all together in your blog editor. Use a repeating pattern to showcase each expert’s answer. Don’t be afraid to get a little visual and add colored textboxes or interesting image frames or filters. Go all out and create an infographic!

5. Tag the Experts on Socials

When you share your expert roundup, tag the experts in your roundup! Send them an email, letting them know that you’ve published the story.

How-To’s and Tutorials

The second type of blog post on our list is tutorials or how-to posts. The difference between a how-to and a tutorial is in the way you word the title and format the content. They are essentially the same. These are perfect for bloggers that want to offer helpful resources to their readers. In fact, this type of content can work with any type of blog. There’s always something you can teach your readers.

A good rule of thumb for tutorials and how-to’s is to be as visual as possible, preferably one visual for every step. For more complex topics, use video. Add the video to your blog post, YouTube, and social media for more exposure.

types of blog posts

How To Create a How-To Or Tutorial

1. Choose a Topic

Like any blog post, you’ll need to come up with a topic. Make sure to pick a topic you really know about or one that you can research easily. The last thing you want to do is give the wrong instructions.

2. Outline the Steps

Before putting together the content for the post, write an outline of the steps to follow. Make sure you don’t forget any steps and be as detailed as possible. Take notes as to how you might be able to visualize them.

3. Find a Way to Visualize the Steps

If the tutorial is for a hands-on project, use photography. For something to do on a computer, take screengrabs of the process. If it’s something else, create some type of graphic of the steps. For example, the image above is an infographic created for a how-to blog post shared on Pinterest.

Listicles or List Articles

Next up is the list article, commonly known as the listicle. Creating articles in list format is great for SEO and SERPs. The key is to format the headings in the right way. Use the list to answer a question, give tips, share resources, or inspire ideas. List articles can be about pretty much anything. In fact, A few of the other articles on this list are also listicles. If it has a number in the title, its a list article.

types of blog posts

How To Create A Listicle Or List Article

1. Create Your List

Figure out what your list will be about. As always, consider your target audience and what they want to learn from you. Tap into your own expertise and knowledge. A list can have as little as 5 items or over 100. Conduct research online to see other listicles out there on the same topic or niche. Choose a number that hasn’t been used too much already. Content marketers have found that an odd number will always perform better than an even one.

2. Write the Content

Write the content for each list item. You’ll find along the way that one item isn’t a great idea anymore. Find a replacement and stick to your odd number. Use two or three paragraphs with + or – 300 words per item. If it’s a long list, add a table of contents with anchor links at the top. Add outbound links to the items that warrant it.

3. Add Visuals

Don’t forget the visuals. Include at least one visual per list item. This will make the post easier to skim. Use graphics created by you, stock photography, or screengrabs of websites. Make sure to always follow the licensing guidelines for visuals.

Case Studies

The fourth example is a case study. A case study is an article that tells the story of a user’s success with a product or service. These are great for showcasing your company. New clients can get a feel of what it’s like to work with you through someone else’s experience.

The key to a successful case study is to always be honest and clear. Work closely with the user being featured to highlight how your product solved their problem and what the positive outcomes were. Include real quotes to help the reader feel identified. Don’t forget to ask the featured user to share the article once it’s published!

types of blog posts

How to Create a Case Study

1. Find the Right Client/User

The first thing you need is the user or client that you’ll be writing about. Look at reviews your users have left on your site and social media channels. Use your social media listening skills to find users who are talking about your product in a positive way. Check your emails to find those users that sing praises of your products. Pick the one that will be the most relatable to other users.

2. Have a Conversation

Get in touch with the user or client and ask if they’d be interested in being part of a case study for your blog. Set up a call and get some questions ready. For example:

  • How do you use our product or service?
  • What problem did it solve?
  • Have you noticed a positive outcome from using our product or service?
  • What’s your favorite thing about our product or service?

Don’t forget to ask follow-up questions. Record the call so you don’t miss anything when putting together the article.

3. Write the Article In a Problem-Solution-Outcome Format

When writing the content for the case study follow this format:

  • Problem
    After presenting the user/client being featured, layout the problem they were facing before using your product or service.
  • Solution
    Tell the story of how your product or service helped solve the problem. Go from beginning to end and include personal reflections from the user.
  • Outcome
    Finish the story with the final outcome after the problem was solved. What became easier for the user? Did they save time, get more clients, etc?

4. Use Visual Data

The best type of visuals for a case study is visual data. Create charts showing the before and after data of the problem your product or service solved. If it applies to the story, ask the featured user for screengrabs of their analytics. Add photos or visuals of things the client made or produced while using your service or tool.

Interviews

The next type of blog post on the list is the interview. These can be done in a number of ways:

  • Podcast transcribed into an engaging post.
  • A video recording of a Zoom call and a transcription in the post.
  • The classic style interview with the transcribed copy of a call or in-person meeting.

The premise of an interview is to ask someone a set of questions and publish them along with their answers.

A key factor of a successful interview post is the person you interview and the questions you ask. Don’t waste a good opportunity by asking the wrong questions or not connecting with the interviewee.

How To Create An InterviewArticle

1. Find the Right Interviewee

Choose an influential person in your niche that’ll bring value to your readers. If you can’t think of someone off the top of your head, do some social media listening to see who you are already connected to and who your audience is following. You’ll have an easier time getting a positive response from top thought leaders in your niche if they know a little bit about you. If your blog is still quite small, interview someone at your level or a little higher to start.

2. Make the Connection and Formulate Some Questions

Once you’ve chosen the person to interview, connect with them first. Have a conversation about your idea and why you’d like to interview them. Give them a chance to suggest questions that they’d like to answer. When you write up the questions, make sure they’re open-ended. Open-ended questions can’t be answered with a definite yes or no. Ask for their opinions on certain things, or ask for their personal experience on a particular subject. Ask questions that invite a bit of storytelling on their part.

3. Capture the Interview

Conduct the interview in a way that’ll be easy to review after it’s done. Record a virtual call or do it all via email. Do what the interviewee feels comfortable with and has time for. Podcasts, for example, are a great option because the exposure level is two-fold. Same with a video that can be shared on YouTube or Facebook.

4. Format the Blog Post

Put together the post. Follow the classic interview format of question/answer or create a curated story from the answers. If you recorded a virtual call, include the video above the fold. Podcasts and audio recordings should also be added above the fold. Then add the transcribed content or a summary.

Comparisons

The next type of blog post is a comparison. A post like this is good for a number of purposes; SaaS companies compare their software to competitors, affiliate marketers measure up different products in the same niche. One angle is to highlight your product other others, another is to compare two or more products so the reader can come to their own conclusions. Both are valid comparison posts and are great for traffic and engagement.

types of blog posts

How to Create a Comparison Article

1. Select What to Compare

What’re you going to compare? Choose two products that compete against each other or a number of products for readers to choose from. Compare your product to your closest competitor. Stick to your niche and industry. Listen to your users to know what they’re searching for.

2. Do Your Research

Find as much information as possible about all the items you’re comparing. Make sure all the information is up to date, your readers will know if it’s not. Separate the content into themes or features so the post is easy to skim.

3. Highlight Pros and Cons

A good comparison post includes both the positives and negatives of the items being compared. Even if you’re comparing your product to another, include what your product is missing. Be honest as so why your product doesn’t have that feature and say if you plan on fixing that. Use charts and visual graphics for added value. There are lots of comparison infographic templates out there.

Downloadable Checklists and To-Do Lists

This type of blog post does more than drive traffic and engagement. It also generates leads. The idea is to offer the reader a downloadable checklist or to-do list that fits into your niche and industry. For example, on the post below, Coschedule shares a content marketing checklist in exchange for a sign-up. Usually, these downloadable are created as PDFs. There are plenty of resources online to help you create one.

How to Create Posts with Downloadable Checklists and To-Do Lists

1. Find Out What Your Readers Need

Use social listening to find out what the communities in your niche are looking for. Think of things that can help them get better results in their own business. Come up with an idea that isn’t too long and can be used easily.

2. Create the Download

Use a graphic design program to create your download. These are so popular that you’ll have no trouble finding templates to simply fill in with your content and idea. Make sure to use your brand colors and fonts!

4. Don’t Forget the Call to Action

Create the post where you’ll promote the download. Tell your users how this download will help them. Add a call to action above the fold with a lead capture module. Make sure your email provider sends the download as soon as they sign up.

11 Free WooCommerce Plugins Worth Checking Out

11 Free WooCommerce Plugins Worth Checking Out

WooCommerce is by far the biggest player in the WordPress ecommerce space. It has its own robust economy of premium add-ons both by its creators and an impressive array of third party developers. So much so that it can be easy to catch yourself thinking that every add-on worth having is premium. But like WooCommerce itself (and WordPress of course) quality/usefulness and a $0 price tag are not mutually exclusive. There are plenty of free WooCommerce plugins out there that can enhance your store without requiring you to spend a dime. In this post we’ve rounded up eleven we feel are worth checking out.

1. WooCommerce Multilingual

WooCommerce Plugins Free

Off the bat, you should know that expanding the languages your store is available in can increase sales and conversions. The WPML project is fantastic for that, and this plugin will let you make sure that your site reaches absolutely as many people as possible. I think the best part of this plugin is that it not only shows the pages on your site in a new language, but also allows emails that you sent to your customers to be translated, too. That’s good stuff.

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2. YITH WooCommerce Wishlist

WooCommerce Plugins Free

You want people to come back to your site. While one-off sales are okay, the real money is with repeat customers. And what better way to get repeat customers than to give them a chance to browse your store and throw whatever they want to remember onto a wishlist? It works for Amazon, so it will work for you, too. Just install the YITH WooCommerce Wishlist plugin and before you know it, conversions and return visitors will be soaring. Plus, the image they use to promote the plugin uses an elegant black dress. I say their word choice is an omen.

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3. WooRewards

WooCommerce Plugins Free

If you’re like most shoppers, free stuff gets you to buy more than you’d normally buy. Just the prospect of it being free is too tantalizing to miss. Even more than that, the best way to give something for free is to make sure they keep coming back to your store over and over again. That’s why rewards programs are so popular. With the WooRewards plugin, you can host your own rewards program for free. Just like the wishlist above, if you can get people to come back for any reason, they will most likely buy more stuff. And with something free dangling like a carrot on a stick in front of them, too, it’s a one-two punch that’ll knock ’em out every time.

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4. WooCommerce Direct Checkout

WooCommerce Plugins Free

Remember how one of the most annoying parts of ecommerce is the abandoned cart? Well, that’s not an issue with WooCommerce Direct Checkout. Just install this baby on your site, and you won’t have any abandoned carts anymore. Zero. Zilch. Because you won’t have a cart at all. You can direct your customers directly to checkout with this plugin so that their impulse to buy is streamlined through the process perfectly. It’s totally free to use, but if you want a more robust experience, the developers have a pro upgrade you can opt for.

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5. WooCommerce Menu Cart

WooCommerce Plugins Free

Just like it says, this plugin puts a cart icon in the menu of your WordPress site. Some themes don’t play well with WooCommerce, but that shouldn’t be a problem with this one installed. Just activate it, and you have a customizable spot in your menu bar that lets your customers keep track of everything they’ve set aside to buy. And if you don’t want it just in the menu bar, you can use a shortcode to render the cart wherever you want — widgets, footers, blogs, anywhere.

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6. WooCommerce Currency Switcher

WooCommerce Plugins Free

If there is one lesson we can learn from the current state of the film industry, it’s that there’s a lot of money to be made outside of the United States. So make sure that your customers know what they’re really paying by using this plugin. When installed, this plugin lets your users see exchange rates for the price you’ve set and their desired currency. No more guessing how many Euros equal how many US Dollars, or how many Ruples equal how many GBP. The free version only supports 2 currencies, but that may be enough if you have a dominant country in addition to your native one.

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7. WooCommerce PDF Invoices & Packing Slips

WooCommerce Plugins Free

Running an ecommerce store is fun and games…until it’s not. The worst part about an online business (really, any business) is keeping up with all your paperwork. Thankfully, there is a slew of software out there to make it better for you, and this is one of the top options. With this free WooCommerce plugin, you can generate PDF invoices and packing slips (see why it’s named that now?) quickly and easily so your business keeps moving foward and doesn’t have to slow down while you push around a lot of paper.

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8. Amazon Pay

WooCommerce Plugins Free

PayPal and Stripe may be your go-to payment methods for WooCommerce, but you should absolutely think about Amazon Pay, too. Since roughly everyone in the world shops on Amazon, using this free, official extension will make your store run a bit more smoothly. It lets your users integrate with a payment processor that they are already comfortable with and trust, and you get the same benefits because you’re dealing with a gateway that’s based on one of the biggest infrastructures in the world. The only downside as I see to this (and this is a minor quibble) is that users can’t use rewards points or gift cards for purchases via Amazon Pay. As a consumer, that stinks, but as a vendor, it should be no different than taking PayPal or Stripe.

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9. Woo Zoom

WooCommerce Plugins Free

I don’t know what it is about image magnification, but there’s just something that screams a site is professional if you let users zoom in on your products. Installing this plugin makes it a breeze, and your shop will look a ton more professional immediately. You can upgrade to a pro version if you want more customization, but you probably won’t need to.

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10. WooCommerce Gift Cards

WooCommerce Plugins Free

Everyone loves gift cards. Whether they are getting free money to a favorite shop (yours, obviously) or picking out an easy present on the go that can be given immediately, people adore gift cards. If you have this plugin installed, your customers will have that option, and even if they don’t find the perfect gift for that special someone, that special someone can pick it out for themselves. The downside to the free version of this plugin is that while the gift cards are available to purchase on your site, you have to manually send the codes to the recipient. For smaller shops, that may be a good thing, as you have a bit more granular control, but for later sites, that just isn’t possible to keep up with. Other than that, it’s easy to use and set up, so you should definitely take a look.

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11. Coupon Shortcodes + Coupon Countdown

WooCommerce Plugins Free

To round it all out, let’s give your customers a reward for being so darn amazing. With the Coupon Shortcodes plugin, you can designate anywhere on your site as a location for your customers to get a code and apply it at checkout. While that’s awesome, it’s integration with Coupon Countdown is what really makes it cool — you can do a limited time offer for only specific parts of your site (maybe 404 pages or a sales page).

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Finishing Up with Free WooCommerce Plugins

No matter what kind of store you run, there’s a handful of these free WooCommerce plugins that should probably be installed on your site. Sure, not everything will work for everyone, but even the ones with limited functionality can work as a demo to see if it’s the right fit for your store. Given that all these are free, installing some of them can only gain you sales, right? Happy selling!