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blogging Services Tech and Software

Everything You Need to Know About WordPress – Truths vs Misconceptions

In case you didn’t already know, WordPress is a pretty big deal.

Nearly 80 million websites and blogs utilize some form of WordPress. That’s basically the population of Germany, just for reference.

As a CMS (content management system), WordPress has 59% of the market share. There are also over 44,000 plugins available for WordPress that have been downloaded over a billion times.

So if we say that WordPress is a big deal, you will agree.

But like anything remotely popular, WordPress is often misunderstood. There are false myths and dated rumors we see constantly passed around. Because of our fierce love for WordPress, we wanted to take a moment to set the record straight.

Here is what you need to know about WordPress. The truths, the lies, and everything in between.

 million websites and blogs utilize some form of WordPress Everything You Need to Know About WordPress – Truths vs Misconceptions

WordPress.com and WordPress.org are not the same, but they are similar

Let’s start with the most confusing. So WordPress itself is a free, open source content management system. Essentially, it’s software that allows people to create, organize, and update websites without having to manually code every page.

Now, WordPress essentially comes in two forms.

First, there is WordPress.com. WordPress.com is a blog hosting service not entirely different from Blogger. It allows a person to setup a free website that operates on a custom version of the WordPress software. This version is limited in what themes and plugins it can use.

A WordPress.com website also cannot be transferred to another host. It’s a bit of an out of the box, package deal.

WordPress.org, on the other hand, is the home of the full, open source WordPress software. If a company is building you a WordPress website, this is what they’re using. This what the site you’re on right now is using.

With the WordPress.org software, you can do just about anything.

Confused? Don’t feel bad. You’re not the only one.

 million websites and blogs utilize some form of WordPress Everything You Need to Know About WordPress – Truths vs Misconceptions

From now on, we’ll mostly be talking about the full WordPress platform (.org).

WordPress is for a lot more than blogging

Thankfully this doesn’t happen as much as it did a few years ago, but for the longest time, when we told a client we build WordPress websites, their response would be something like “but I don’t want a blog. I want a website.”

As with the .com vs .org situation, there’s good reason for confusion.

WordPress has its roots in blogging. When it was first built, WordPress was mostly for blogging (WordPress.com is still primarily for blogging). And some of the biggest WordPress websites are primarily blogs.

But WordPress today is so much more than a blogging platform. Sure, it has a beautiful and easy to use blogging system built into it still, but there are hundreds of thousands of WordPress sites that don’t even utilize their blogging functionality.

Simply put, WordPress is an all-in-one website platform. It can do everything.

 million websites and blogs utilize some form of WordPress Everything You Need to Know About WordPress – Truths vs Misconceptions

Which brings us to the next point…

WordPress is usable for websites of all sizes and functions

There are WordPress sites of all shapes and sizes. Some may think that WordPress is only suited for smaller websites with a handful of pages and a blog. This is simply not true.

Sure, we’ve built WordPress sites as small as one page. But we’ve also built WordPress sites with hundreds of pages, posts, and products.

That’s right, products.

If you’re looking to do some e-commerce, WordPress offers a powerful solution with Woocommerce. Woocommerce is technically a free add-on to WordPress, though to get the full use out of it, you’ll probably need to purchase a few premium plugins.

WordPress can also be used to create social network sites, online schools, scheduling systems, and much more.

 million websites and blogs utilize some form of WordPress Everything You Need to Know About WordPress – Truths vs Misconceptions

WordPress is SEO friendly, but you still need to work for it

WordPress has been built and structured with search engines in-mind. The way the pages, links, images, etc. are laid out is based around how search engines crawl websites. That said, there’s a big difference between being SEO friendly and actually being search engine optimized.

In fact, we wrote a whole post about it. Learn more here.

Now, it’s time for some “buts”.

WordPress is secure, but the attacks are more frequent

The WordPress team is always hard at work with new updates, patches, and security adjustments. And for good reason. Because of WordPress’s prevalence and open source nature, the platform is always under attack.

 million websites and blogs utilize some form of WordPress Everything You Need to Know About WordPress – Truths vs Misconceptions

It’s the same reason why there’s more malicious content out there for Windows and Android devices. Because that’s what the majority of people in the world use.

That doesn’t mean WordPress is insecure. Far from it. As long as you stay on top of updates, take proper security precautions and stay away from bad plugins, you should be just fine.

WordPress is super user friendly, but you may need a developer

When it comes to adding and editing pages, writing blog posts, or adjusting things like the menu, WordPress is about as easy as it gets. Depending on what themes and plugins you’re using, doing more advanced changes may be possible too.

But for the average website owner, you’ll want someone around who can get technical. Especially if you want a customized site. Even if you’re using a templated site, tech support can be a huge asset.

Lucky for you, we provide for all of your WordPress needs including design, development, hosting, maintenance, support, and more.

Our pricing plans start as low as $99 a month. Visit our contact page for more information.

Have a question about WordPress? Maybe a thought you’d like to share? Feel free to comment below.

Categories
blogging Services Tech and Software

Everything You Need to Know About WordPress – Truths vs Misconceptions

In case you didn’t already know, WordPress is a pretty big deal.

Nearly 80 million websites and blogs utilize some form of WordPress. That’s basically the population of Germany, just for reference.

As a CMS (content management system), WordPress has 59% of the market share. There are also over 44,000 plugins available for WordPress that have been downloaded over a billion times.

So if we say that WordPress is a big deal, you will agree.

But like anything remotely popular, WordPress is often misunderstood. There are false myths and dated rumors we see constantly passed around. Because of our fierce love for WordPress, we wanted to take a moment to set the record straight.

Here is what you need to know about WordPress. The truths, the lies, and everything in between.

 million websites and blogs utilize some form of WordPress Everything You Need to Know About WordPress – Truths vs Misconceptions

WordPress.com and WordPress.org are not the same, but they are similar

Let’s start with the most confusing. So WordPress itself is a free, open source content management system. Essentially, it’s software that allows people to create, organize, and update websites without having to manually code every page.

Now, WordPress essentially comes in two forms.

First, there is WordPress.com. WordPress.com is a blog hosting service not entirely different from Blogger. It allows a person to setup a free website that operates on a custom version of the WordPress software. This version is limited in what themes and plugins it can use.

A WordPress.com website also cannot be transferred to another host. It’s a bit of an out of the box, package deal.

WordPress.org, on the other hand, is the home of the full, open source WordPress software. If a company is building you a WordPress website, this is what they’re using. This what the site you’re on right now is using.

With the WordPress.org software, you can do just about anything.

Confused? Don’t feel bad. You’re not the only one.

 million websites and blogs utilize some form of WordPress Everything You Need to Know About WordPress – Truths vs Misconceptions

From now on, we’ll mostly be talking about the full WordPress platform (.org).

WordPress is for a lot more than blogging

Thankfully this doesn’t happen as much as it did a few years ago, but for the longest time, when we told a client we build WordPress websites, their response would be something like “but I don’t want a blog. I want a website.”

As with the .com vs .org situation, there’s good reason for confusion.

WordPress has its roots in blogging. When it was first built, WordPress was mostly for blogging (WordPress.com is still primarily for blogging). And some of the biggest WordPress websites are primarily blogs.

But WordPress today is so much more than a blogging platform. Sure, it has a beautiful and easy to use blogging system built into it still, but there are hundreds of thousands of WordPress sites that don’t even utilize their blogging functionality.

Simply put, WordPress is an all-in-one website platform. It can do everything.

 million websites and blogs utilize some form of WordPress Everything You Need to Know About WordPress – Truths vs Misconceptions

Which brings us to the next point…

WordPress is usable for websites of all sizes and functions

There are WordPress sites of all shapes and sizes. Some may think that WordPress is only suited for smaller websites with a handful of pages and a blog. This is simply not true.

Sure, we’ve built WordPress sites as small as one page. But we’ve also built WordPress sites with hundreds of pages, posts, and products.

That’s right, products.

If you’re looking to do some e-commerce, WordPress offers a powerful solution with Woocommerce. Woocommerce is technically a free add-on to WordPress, though to get the full use out of it, you’ll probably need to purchase a few premium plugins.

WordPress can also be used to create social network sites, online schools, scheduling systems, and much more.

 million websites and blogs utilize some form of WordPress Everything You Need to Know About WordPress – Truths vs Misconceptions

WordPress is SEO friendly, but you still need to work for it

WordPress has been built and structured with search engines in-mind. The way the pages, links, images, etc. are laid out is based around how search engines crawl websites. That said, there’s a big difference between being SEO friendly and actually being search engine optimized.

In fact, we wrote a whole post about it. Learn more here.

Now, it’s time for some “buts”.

WordPress is secure, but the attacks are more frequent

The WordPress team is always hard at work with new updates, patches, and security adjustments. And for good reason. Because of WordPress’s prevalence and open source nature, the platform is always under attack.

 million websites and blogs utilize some form of WordPress Everything You Need to Know About WordPress – Truths vs Misconceptions

It’s the same reason why there’s more malicious content out there for Windows and Android devices. Because that’s what the majority of people in the world use.

That doesn’t mean WordPress is insecure. Far from it. As long as you stay on top of updates, take proper security precautions and stay away from bad plugins, you should be just fine.

WordPress is super user friendly, but you may need a developer

When it comes to adding and editing pages, writing blog posts, or adjusting things like the menu, WordPress is about as easy as it gets. Depending on what themes and plugins you’re using, doing more advanced changes may be possible too.

But for the average website owner, you’ll want someone around who can get technical. Especially if you want a customized site. Even if you’re using a templated site, tech support can be a huge asset.

Lucky for you, we provide for all of your WordPress needs including design, development, hosting, maintenance, support, and more.

Our pricing plans start as low as $99 a month. Visit our contact page for more information.

Have a question about WordPress? Maybe a thought you’d like to share? Feel free to comment below.

Categories
blogging Marketing Services

Why Doesn’t My Blog Get Traffic?

Starting a blog has never been difficult Why Doesn’t My Blog Get Traffic?

Starting a blog has never been difficult.

From the beginning, blogs have been designed so that someone with limited computer ability could start writing and sharing on the internet. Sure, they weren’t the prettiest, and not many people paid attention to them, but that’s all changed.

Starting a blog has never been difficult Why Doesn’t My Blog Get Traffic?

(artist rendering of a first generation blog)

Blogs are hugely popular (and much better looking). Everyone is reading blog posts all the time, whether it’s for info or inspiration or entertainment. A well-crafted blog or even just the right post can bring in loads of traffic to your website.

But for the majority of bloggers, that’s not the case.

When you check your analytics and see that no one is reading your blog, it can feel like you threw a party, and nobody showed up.

Starting a blog has never been difficult Why Doesn’t My Blog Get Traffic?

You get insecure. Start having high school flashbacks. And you ask yourself:

What am I doing wrong?

Here’s some potential answers…

You don’t post enough

You know those carnival games where you get a few balls to throw at a stack of bottles?  The more balls you have to throw, the more likely you are to knock down the stack. It’s a game of odds and numbers almost as much as it is skill.

And blogging isn’t so different. The more regular posts you get out there, the more likely your blog will draw people to your website. Some posts will ultimately connect better than others.

There will be posts that are duds. But there will also be posts that track really well. From there, you can study what’s working and what’s not, revise, and continue.

Your blog doesn’t stand out (or it’s just not good)

Chances are, a lot of people have written about what you’re writing about. You need to stand apart, and the best way to do that is to inject whatever it is that makes you you. A blog post should (usually) have some personality.

Starting a blog has never been difficult Why Doesn’t My Blog Get Traffic?

And if you’re bad at writing, get someone to help you. You could be a genius in your field/niche/genre, but no one wants to read bad writing. Unless it’s one of those popular romance novels.

For some simple blog writing tips, check out this post.

It’s not optimized for search engines

This isn’t just for business blogs. Even personal blogs can benefit from a little SEO. You should write on the types of subjects and questions people are searching for. Posts should be longer than 300 words. You should have keywords that you’re targeting.

All of this can bring you that natural, organic search engine traffic.

Your website isn’t being crawled by search engines at all

This is more of a technical issue. For more information, check our post here.

You’re too focused on numbers

Who wouldn’t like to see hundreds of thousands of people coming to their blog every day? Most of us would settle for just hundreds, period. But for those who work in glass manufacturing or enjoy writing about a species of bird found on the island of Socotra, there’s only so much traffic you’ll be able to bring to your blog posts.

When considering traffic and success, you need to measure it by the size of the audience that’s out there.

If you’re B2B, it’s going to be smaller still. The thing is, for business blogs especially, it’s not all about the number of people who find your blog. It’s about the quality of the lead. Traffic is never a bad thing, but you need to ask yourself, what’s the purpose of your blog?

The blog doesn’t have a purpose

A blog can be anything you want it to be, but you need a vision of what that something is actually going to be. For some, it’s a creative outlet. For others, it’s a news source. It can be both and more, but there should be some focus, and that should be based on what kind of audience you’re trying to attract.

How do you know if your blog lacks purpose/focus? If you have more than 8 categories, it’s certainly possible. If you look at the last three posts, and they all seem like they could be on three entirely separate blogs, that could also be a sign.

You don’t have the time/energy/skill needed to take care of it

For small businesses, they know they should be blogging, but they can never seem to find the time. Or they try, and the results are disastrous…

Starting a blog has never been difficult Why Doesn’t My Blog Get Traffic?

Seriously, how does this even happen?

The good news is you don’t have to do it all yourself. At Radiate, we provide professional blogging services for virtually any industry (as long as its legal, of course). We work with clients to establish who they want to target and what they want to be about.

From there, we actually create the topics and write the posts. Of course, if you’d like to be a part of the process, we can meet you half way.

Contact us today for more information.

Starting a blog has never been difficult Why Doesn’t My Blog Get Traffic?

This could be us

Have you had troubles driving traffic to your blog? Share below!

 

Categories
blogging

Is Content Syndication Good for SEO?

 syndicating your content is like chewing on a piece of gum Is Content Syndication Good for SEO?When it comes to your SEO efforts, syndicating your content is like chewing on a piece of gum. It will keep you busy and leave a nice taste in your mouth, but it will ultimately provide you with zero nourishment.

While content syndication is nothing new (see the Associated Press), it has recently sprung up as an internet marketing tactic, and it has become quite controversial.

Why Syndicate at All?

Content syndication is the means of duplicating and posting content that is already published on your own website to third party sites. It is a tactic that is used in an attempt to drive more traffic back to your own website by spreading your content across the Internet.

You are probably tempted to syndicate content because it may get you exposure to larger, more popular websites’ audiences. If the sites that you choose to syndicate with are larger and more regarded, some of that authority can also be passed on to you, boosting your website’s reputation.

But it’s not all that some people make it out to be.

How Content Syndication Can Hurt SEO

Content syndication can work when it is implemented properly.

But therein lies the problem.

If you are unfamiliar with the workings of link attribution and rel=canonical/no-index tags, you are asking for search engines to send your original content straight to the land of forgotten links.

When you syndicate your content, you are creating duplicate pages with identical content that search crawlers must go through when a query is entered. While the crawlers do try to find the original source of the content, many times the pages of the websites that you’ve syndicated with (i.e. the duplicate copies) will rank higher than your original content.

This often happens because the websites that hold the duplicate content have more activity on them than your website (which is likely why you chose to syndicate with them), meaning Google will rank those websites higher, thus sending web traffic to duplicate pages instead of to the source.

 syndicating your content is like chewing on a piece of gum Is Content Syndication Good for SEO?

 

It’s Worse

In the worst case scenario, Google will recognize your original page as the duplicate content and ultimately hide it from search results altogether.

This is undoubtedly bad for you since the very people you are trying to attract will be diverted to other websites. Your content will still be read, but your website traffic, and thus your conversion rates will suffer.

Google spells this out clearly in their duplicate content help section, saying,”If you syndicate your content on other sites, Google will always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you’d prefer.”

This leads to problems not only with SEO, but also with brand awareness. Content creation is not only about SEO, but also about gaining recognition as an influential voice in your industry. When content is syndicated and displayed on multiple websites, the origin of the source can get lost in the mix. Many times, the fact that you created the piece is forgotten, along with your company’s brand.

What Are the Alternatives?

There are few proven strategies that can help you gain more website traffic. Instead of opting for the controversial strategy of content syndication, you can implement one of these strategies:

Guest Blogging

Rather than having another website create a duplicate page for your content, write something original and have them post it as a guest blog or a piece of featured content. By doing this, you will still gain access to the website’s audience, will be able to link back to your website and you won’t have to worry about the consequences of duplicate content.

Focus on Original Content

Writing stellar content is about being newsworthy, taking a stand on issues that matter and encouraging engagement at every turn.

Instead of trying to get your content duplicated and spread across the Internet, you would be better served by focusing on creating content (blog posts, videos, infographics, etc.) that will gain the attention of larger websites and other bloggers.

Let other websites find and link back to your content, rather than begging for space on theirs. You can also contact website owners who run sites that are related to your industry, asking them to link back to your website’s content.

It’s link earning tactics like these that will get your content noticed without risking duplication.

Inbound Marketing that Works

Do you have a lack of faith in your inbound marketing strategies? Head on over to our contact page and let us know what your goals are. We can help you reach them.

No content syndication required.

Disagree with us? Let us know why you think content syndication works in the comments below.

Categories
blogging

MN BlogCon 2015 Recap and Blogging Trends on the Rise

It was 7:30am on a Saturday, and my alarm was going off.  This might be normal for some, but I generally try to grab another 2-3 hours at the start of my weekend.

This Saturday, however, was special.  It was the day of the Minnesota Blogger Conference.

Or just BlogCon, as many have come to call it.

  It was the day of the Minnesota Blogger Conference MN BlogCon 2015 Recap and Blogging Trends on the RiseAfter pressing snooze a few times, I was up, and out the door to join hundreds of other writers, marketers, PR specialists, and personal bloggers at St. Catherine’s University in Saint Paul, MN the 6th year of this event.  It was surprisingly beautiful for mid-November.

Having missed last year’s event, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much it had grown in just two years.  Over 300 attendees were there to hear from industry professionals about trends, advice, and general guidance in the world of blogging.

While I, being one human being, wasn’t able to attend the multitude of sessions of they offered, I was able to get some great takeaways that I’d like to share.

Advice on Creating Social Communities

Digital marketer and proud dog owner Adam Dince shared some tips on how to build online social media communities, specifically on Twitter.  These can ultimately can drive traffic to your blog and increase your digital authority.

Twitter chats are regularly scheduled events that take place openly a Twitter.  Using a pre-specified hashtag, people are able to engage in a back-and-forth discussion with others across the world.  This is a great way to build community and connect with others.

Adam also gave some simple pro-tips for Twitter:

– When sharing a post on Twitter, attach a picture to it.  Pictures get more attention, and you can tag other people in them without affecting your character limit.

– Pin your best tweets to the top of your Twitter profile.  This is an underused feature that can increase the relevancy of your profile page and increase your chances of being followed.

From Keywords to Content

Another session I attended was led by James Svoboda.  In this, he showed us his process of selecting your initial keyword and then through a variety of tools, finding what variant of that keyword is most relevant.

Starting with something broad like “dessert” you can use a variety of tools to discover more specific keywords that will be easier to rank for.

Sometimes, the best way to start is by typing a word or phrase into Google’s search and seeing what similar searches it suggests to you.

A pro-tip from James:

– Sometimes, Google’s tools will favor a keyword that they want people to pay to run ads with over a keyword that’s actually better for you.  This is one of a few reasons why we use multiple keyword tools for our marketing clients.

Trends That Every Blogger Needs to Know

The session that I found to be the most interesting was led by the co-creator of BlogCon, Arik Hanson.  It was a session so packed, half of us in the room (myself included) sat on the floor.

Here are the main takeaways from that:

Avoiding Content Shock

In an age of Buzzfeed, the internet has become obsessed with listicles and click-bait titles.  While listicles can be a great thing, there’s such a huge saturation of them that it’s hard to stand out or compete.

And worse, we’ve reached a point where people are purposely making generic, broad lists and advice posts in an attempt to reach the broadest audiences possible.  This results in mediocre content that lacks personality.

  It was the day of the Minnesota Blogger Conference MN BlogCon 2015 Recap and Blogging Trends on the Rise

The Count still loves listicles

The rising trend now is to add more of yourself and your viewpoint into your blog, going back to the roots of blogging itself.  People should be over looking for the biggest audience, and instead, look for the right audience.

RSS is Dead – The Newsletter is Alive

When I got into blogging, one of the first things I was told to setup was an RSS feed.  That way, people could subscribe to my blog and read it regularly and everything will be wonderful.

This has changed drastically.  RSS feeds aren’t a popular thing anymore.  Many of the popular RSS aggregators (like Google’s) have been shut down.

Instead, the focus is on Newsletters and creating an email database.  This is why we design newsletter subscriptions into most of our website builds and stress the importance of email marketing to our clients.

This gives you a direct channel to customers and visitors that cared enough about your business to subscribe to you.

DIY Designs are Popular and Accessible…but Not Necessarily Good Looking

In a time when large images on your website are a must, many have turned to the variety of Do-It-Yourself graphic design tools out there to create graphics for their site.

In theory, this isn’t bad, and if you have a bit of an eye for design, you might be able to whip up something that looks decent.

However, the consensus in the room was that even at their best, these DIY designs pale in comparison to a custom made graphic put together in Photoshop or Illustrator.

Also, there was concern that once everyone starts using them, the same stock images and background patterns will be noticeably repeating across everyone’s website.

Branding – The Importance Of

Looks used to matter little in blogs.  People were just going there for the content which was overflowing from the each page.

Now, however, many blogs look less like blogs and more like bold, beautiful websites with pictures and proper spacing.

Social Sharing is Not What it Used to Be

Social traffic from Facebook and to a lesser degree, Twitter has long been the dominant force of driving traffic to many people’s blogs.  That isn’t the case anymore as we’ve seen the rise of something called “Dark Social”.

Don’t worry, it’s not as ominous as it sounds.

It is, however, a large topic that we’ll be covering in depth in a future post.  So please, check back later for more on that.  Just know that having a Twitter and Facebook link on your blog isn’t enough anymore.

Other Trends

There were a few more items discussed such as content syndication and the direction that comment sections are going.  Regarding content syndication, while it can work for certain types of blogs and sites, for those trying to develop a strong SEO presence, content syndication boils down to duplicate content, which is a very, very bad thing.

As for comment sections, like social sharing, they aren’t what they used to be.  But at Radiate Digital, we still think they have a place on the internet.  Expect to see a post regarding that in the very near future.

A Great Time for Blogging

Despite how much the environment is changing, blogging is bigger than ever and remains a great way to stay relevant in your industry while providing value to your audience.  If you’re wanting to take your blogging game to the next level, contact us today.

And to the people responsible for the Minnesota Blogger Conference, thanks for putting on a great event.  We will see you next year!

Were you at BlogCon?  Share your thoughts below! Have a question for us?  Feel free to ask it.

Categories
blogging

Why Does My Website Need So Much Content?

 Written content is the driving force of your website Why Does My Website Need So Much Content?Content is king.

At least, that’s what they’re saying. In fact, some people are saying it’s the Golden Rule of Internet Marketing. But, who are the “they” that we’re referring to, exactly?

Why, Google (and Yahoo and Bing), of course!

Is Content Truly King?

The simple answer is yes. Written content is the driving force of your website.

It tells a story about your company, your industry, and what makes you passionate about what you do each and every day. Your content should let your website readers know everything they could possibly want to know, and it should be written in a way that they can easily understand.

For that reason, it’s important to consider your audience and what they want when creating pages. For example, if your business is a stand-alone store that sells lawn furniture, your audience would expect to find business hours, directions, a way to contact someone at your store, and information about the different pieces you have in-stock.

Mastering Online Authority

While it’s important to create a website where your readers will find the information they’re looking for, your website should also work as a way to build an online authority within your industry.

Search engines crawl the content you put on your website to not only determine what your site is about, but also to determine your authority within your industry and how you should be ranked against your competitors. So, the quality content you create will assist with your overall online marketing strategy and in the end, assist in determining your keyword search rankings.

While one way to expand your website’s content is through blogging, the bulk of your keyword-rich content should be distributed between keyword pages using an on-page strategy, and also through the SEO tactics used in developing off-page content.

 Written content is the driving force of your website Why Does My Website Need So Much Content?

On-Page versus Off-Page Content

It’s true that there are two sides to every story. When writing for an online audience and building your industry authority, the two sides to your strategy should include: on-page and off-page content.

On-Page Content

Your website’s on-page content consists of the main pages and the different elements that make up the page. This includes features like the meta title, meta description, page URL, image alt text, and the length of the page content.

To create a content-rich page, it’s important to have a well developed article relating to one of your keywords that’s at least 500-700 words in length. Your pages, in conjunction with a regularly updated blog, will help to establish authority.

Off-Page Content

Your website’s off-page content can be tricky to control if you’re not familiar with SEO tactics.

But, off-page content, such as guest posts and links from authoritative industry new websites are necessary to obtain in order to assist in establishing your own website’s authority and move up in the search ranking results.

 Written content is the driving force of your website Why Does My Website Need So Much Content?

In the end, content is a big factor in determining how well your website does in the search engine ranking results. So, if you want your website to rank well, then content should be the king of your domain.

Categories
blogging Inside Radiate Digital

New Intern Q A

Today marks the beginning of another intern here at Radiate Digital.  Rather than tell you all about her, we thought we’d let her speak for herself.

After all, one of her duties is blog writing.

So we gave her a few questions, and let her take it from there.  Enjoy!

Today marks the beginning of another intern here at Radiate Digital New Intern Q  A

Please state your name for the internet masses:

My name is Christine Danielle Parker.

What did you come to Radiate Digital to do?

I came to Radiate Digital for writing and design.

Walk us through your first day experience:

Well, Tim showed me the computer programs that are used, I posted my first blog post, made some wireframes for [an upcoming design], and I got hit with a ping pong ball by Jaron!

What are you most excited about moving forward?

Broadening my experience and learning more about writing and design.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Veterinarian or a country singer.

If you could give advice to your 14-year-old self, what would it be?

Get rid of the skater clothes and gaucho pants.

Who is your hero (real or fictional)?

Schmidt from New Girl.

What is your jam right now?

Latch by Disclosure

Without looking it up, what is the capital of Trinidad and Tobago?

I literally have no idea.  My guess would have to Trent and Toronto.

(the correct answer is Port of Spain)

Have you liked Radiate Digital on Facebook and followed us on Twitter?

On Facebook, yes.  I will follow on Twitter as soon as I am done fasting it!

Would you encourage others to do the same?

Of course!

End of Interview

And there you have it folks.  Chrissie Parker, our new writing and design intern!  If you would like to see her first blog post, you can find it here.

Did you know the capital of Trinidad and Tobago?  Are there any questions you would like to ask Chrissie?  If so, write them below and we will make sure she responds!

Categories
blogging Inside Radiate Digital

Simple Blogging Resolutions for 2014

Unless you live in a nuclear fallout shelter from the  Simple Blogging Resolutions for 2014

The sun has set on 2013

Unless you live in a nuclear fallout shelter from the 50’s, you probably know that it’s officially 2014!

And with the new year comes an endless stream of New Years resolutions that probably will be abandoned in an month or two.  But that doesn’t have to be the case for you!  This year, buck the trend of unfulfilled resolutions.

2014 is the year that your blog, whether personal or professional, is going to rock the digital world!  Or at least be a little better than it was 2013.

It’s Less About Goals and More About Actions

Many bloggers will set goals like “I will grow my audience to 100,000 people” or “I will create a post that will go viral”.  While these certainly aren’t bad goals, they will never be achieved without the right actions.

That’s why we’re going to focus on what you can do rather than where you want to be.  These are resolutions that everyone can meet and achieve, and if you do so, you just might see some fantastic results.

Without further adieu….

Unless you live in a nuclear fallout shelter from the  Simple Blogging Resolutions for 2014

The best way to make a resolution is to say it like a promise.  So say it with me!

In 2014…

I Will Keep Up with My Industry/Field of Interest/Niche/etc.

Your blog is about a semi-specific topic or area, right?  It caters to a certain audience.  If it doesn’t, you may want to narrow it down a bit.

Now, if you don’t know what’s happening in your field or niche, how can you write about it?  Why would someone want to read the blog of a person who is disconnected from the greater world around them?  How will you ever expect bloggers who are bigger than you to read your blog if you never read theirs?

This year, make sure to regularly read the big news sites, blogs, etc. in your field of interest.  Perhaps you already do.  If that’s the case, then do more.  And don’t just be a spectator.  Join the conversation!  That’s why there are comment sections after posts.

And if you’re a business that has someone else writing your blog (like a number of our clients do), send news and stories their way.  Who knows your industry better?  You? Or some third party writer?

I Will Proofread and Critique Myself

There’s a certain sense of victory that comes with reaching the end of a blog post you just put your heart and soul into.  The last thing you want to do is go back and reread the whole thing for errors and typos.

Let’s be real though.

Errors and typos can completely ruin the coherency of your message.  They also hurt your legitimacy as a reputable source of advice or information.  So proofread already!

But it’s not enough to just read for errors.  It’s good to look through old posts from time to time and critique your writing.  Are your posts too long? Too short? Completely boring?

Do you go off on too many tangents or insert unnecessary jokes?  Did you say something that makes you sound narcissistic or borderline psychotic?

The only way your writing is going to get better is if you learn from your mistakes and grow your style.  And one of the best ways to do that is to critique yourself.

Hopefully you will read your old posts and say “wow, I am so much better than I used to be!”.

Hopefully.

I Will Use More Pictures

Put two posts side by side, one with a picture at the top and one without, and the post with the picture will always look more interesting.

We are very visual people.  The internet is a very visual place.  And with modern camera technology, getting a good looking picture is as easy as pulling out your smartphone and snapping one.

There’s also a number of royalty free images out there in a variety of “creative commons” databases.  I recommend the creative commons section of Flickr.  Just make sure to credit the author!

Get creative with the images you use.  Honestly, they don’t even have to make complete sense with what you’re writing about as long as they look pretty.  An average reader will look at the post, say to themselves “oh, that picture is pretty”, and assume that the writer knows what they’re talking about.

All because of a nice photo.

I Will (in Moderation) Share My Posts and Other’s Posts

How can you expect new people to come to your blog if you’re never sharing it?

Yes, there’s Google and that is bound to get you a little traffic, but why not share it with those around you?  You have this immediate audience just waiting to see your stuff.  Share your posts!

And if it’s a company blog, have your workers share posts too.  I mean, come on, what are you paying them for?

But it’s also good to share other people’s posts and articles.  This helps establish your credibility as a source of good content, and shows you’re not entirely self-absorbed.  If you like Radiate Digital on Facebook, you’ll see that we share links to other industry related sites.

Not links from direct competitors of course.  That wouldn’t be a good idea.  But if you’re reading something that you think your audience would benefit from, share it.

Just remember to share in moderation.  No one wants their news feeds and twitter feeds cluttered with your endless links.

I Will Write Out of Passion, Not Obligation

I saved the hardest for last.  It doesn’t matter if your blog is personal or professional, we all reach a point where we are cranking out posts for the sake of having a new post.

And these posts almost always suck.

If you’re not excited about what you’re writing about, how will the reader ever be excited?  Get yourself pumped up.  Remember why you started the blog in the first place.  Reflect upon your best posts.  What made those so great?

If you’ve lost your passion, find it.  Please.  Your blog will be so much better for it.  Maybe you’ll even grow your audience to 100,000 readers!  Or at least 100.

Bonus Resolution: I Will Read “How to Be a Better Blog Writer

If you fear your blog is mediocre, it doesn’t hurt to take advice from some professionals.  For example, the writers here at Radiate Digital!  We wrote a post a while back on how to be a better blog writer.

The advice couldn’t be easier, and we promise you’ll find something useful there.

Do you have any personal blogging resolutions we missed?  What are your big goals for 2014? How are you going to get there?

Share your thoughts in the comments below and join the conversation!

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blogging Inside Radiate Digital Tech and Software

The Mac Experience: First Impressions of My First Mac

 of my experience of switching over from a PC to a Mac The Mac Experience: First Impressions of My First Mac (photo credit: Martin Gommel)

(This is part 2 of my experience of switching over from a PC to a Mac.  To read the introduction, click here)

Once you go Mac, you never go back.  That’s what they say.

Being a bleeding heart PC user (and a bit of a skeptic in general), I had my doubts. I didn’t expect to hate using a Mac.  I simply doubted that I would be swayed from my preference of Windows.

I have to say though, Apple makes a great first impression.

Opening Pandora’s Beautiful Box

The packaging for my iMac was quite impressive.  Folding open it’s trapezoid-esque box, I was greeted by a three-piece Styrofoam construct.  Nestled securely in the top was a thin rectangular box which held the wireless aluminum keyboard and mouse.

The keyboard lacked a number pad, which I didn’t mind because I never use the number pad.  The mouse, known as the “Magic Mouse”, features no visible buttons and at first glance, appears to fall in line with Apple’s traditional (and nonsensical) one button pointing devices.

It would eventually become one of my favorites pieces (but more on that later).

Finally, the rectangle box held a very lovely dust cloth with a subtle Apple logo in the corner.  Now that I had the accessories unboxed, it was time for the main event.

Sliding the Styrofoam off piece by piece, I made my way to the still shielded iMac.  Between the clear plastic wrapping around the base and the cloth-like screen cover that fit perfectly around the rest, I had no doubts that my computer wouldn’t have so much as a smudge on it.

Like a bride that remains veiled until the pronouncement of her marriage, this Mac had been saved for me, and me alone.  I felt obligated to handle it as delicately as possible as I removed the rest of the wrapping.  A few minutes later, the all-in-one unit sat before, ready to be used.

Its simplicity serves it well.  I was surprised at how thin it was.  Even for a computer with no disk drive, it seemed remarkably compact.  And with only a power cord to plug in, the computer left my desk feeling surprisingly clutter free.

So far, the Mac and I were off to a good start.  I was ready to turn it on.

Let There Be Light and Sound and Stuff

With a push of the practically hidden power button, the screen flashed a blazing white light as its unseen speakers let out the infamous Apple “startup chime”.  Am I the only one that thinks of Jurassic Park every time I hear that?  Anyway, the mouse and keyboard quickly synced up with the system, giving me the ability to finish the setup.  The rest of the process was very painless and took about half as much time as unboxing the computer did.  Before I knew it, I was greeted by the default OS background and the beauty of the Retina display.

Beauty and the Beastly External Monitor

I quickly went about installing my go-to programs including Drive, Chrome, and most importantly, Spotify.  Installing a program on a Mac feels more like installing an app on my phone than it does installing a program on, say, Windows.

By that I mean I felt very removed from the process as a whole (which I had mixed feelings about).  I also don’t really get the purpose of dragging the icon into the “Applications” folder, but whatever.  I had my programs and everything worked fine.  Time to plug in the external monitor.

First I had to plug the HDMI cable into the thunder adapter, which then plugged into the Mac.  Apple and its proprietary ports.  Why my four-year-old HP laptop has an HDMI port and my brand new iMac doesn’t, I’ll never understand.

Anyway, I turned on the monitor to discover that it looked like garbage.  The background image was fuzzy, text was blurry and almost unreadable in spots.  Sitting next to the Mac’s Retina display only made it worse.  I was very confused because I had just had this monitor running off my laptop the day before, and it looked glorious.

Fixing Blurry Image and Text on a Mac’s External Monitor

To make a long story short, apparently the latest Mac-OS thinks that quite a few monitors are TVs and sends them the wrong video single.  To correct this, I had to download a script, use terminal to run the script, create an override folder, force my Mac to show me my system files, and place the override folder into the system files.

Seeing as I don’t know Mac infrastructure at all (it’s like they try to hide everything from you), I had to look up how to do every step along the way.  If you find yourself with a similar issue, this is what I used to fix it (click here).

I ended up fixing this issue for everyone else in the office too.  Is it weird that I, the resident PC guy, had to fix our offices Mac problem?  A little.  But I least I learned a lot along the way.

And that was basically my first experience with my own Mac.  We got along pretty well, but I’m not sure I’m ready to hold hands and stuff.  Once everything was running, it just felt like a computer.  Sure, the layout is different, and it has this dumb “command key”, but otherwise it felt pretty familiar.

I would imagine it’s comparable to driving in Europe where you’re on the left side of the road and everything is metric. I suppose I can handle that.

Comeback for the final Mac Experience post where I layout my full list of Mac Pros and Cons.

Did you expect a bigger reaction? Should I have started bowing down before my iMac? Does the Apple startup chime make you think of Jurassic Park?

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blogging Inside Radiate Digital Tech and Software

The Life and Times of a PC User: The Mac Experience

   It was one of those square shaped beige boxes that lay horizontally beneath the monitor The Life and Times of a PC User: The Mac Experience

I remember my family’s first computer.  It was one of those square shaped beige boxes that lay horizontally beneath the monitor.  It had no sound, no disk drive, a very limited color palate and ran on Windows 3.1.

While I certainly enjoyed my time of playing Chips Challenge and the original Duke Nukem whilst also drawing away with all the 256 colors that Microsoft Paint offered, I realized very quickly that the abilities of this computer box were a bit limited.

It wasn’t until our second computer we received a few years later that my eyes were opened to the wonders of a PC.  Since my parents knew almost nothing about computers, it was up to me to figure out how to use the thing.

To push its capabilities.

To fix the thing when I broke it.

Even with no internet, I spent countless hours exploring and gaming.  And this was all made possible thanks to an operating system called Windows 95.  We didn’t have Windows 95 for too long however.

Soon we upgraded to Windows 98.

I remember how excited I was.  It had everything I had come to love in 95 but with faster speeds and a sharper interface.  Naturally I was the one to install it.  In retrospect, this process took forever, but at the time, I didn’t care.  I could stare into the depths of the Windows 98 install screen for an eternity.

My joy for the PC had reached a new peak.  Things were starting to get serious.  It was time to make my first personal investment into the family computer.  I bought a brand new graphics card.

With the power of this card and Windows 98, I could run games with true 3D hardware acceleration.

Oh the places we’ll go, I thought to myself.

As the years progressed, Windows and I went all sorts of places.  I was surrounded by it.  My family had a Windows computer.  My mom used a Windows computer at work.  My high school used Windows computers.  My friends all had Windows computers.

It was on these various computers that I became exposed to the internet and to Adobe Photoshop, that I spent hours typing in Microsoft Word and chatting on MSN Messenger.

When I graduated from high school, the time came for me to by my very own PC.  To me, my first computer was arguably more exciting than my first car.  But as much as I loved this first computer of mine, I still wanted more.  Eventually, I would go on to build my own Windows desktop computer by hand.

Today, I have my Windows desktop (which I assembled myself), my Windows laptop, and am currently in the process of assembling a third PC out of spare parts I’ve collected.

And I share all of this to establish a simple fact:

I am a PC.

But this past week at the Radiate Digital offices, something happened.  See, all of us employees received these shiny, brand news computers to work from.  They’re sleek, compact, and the displays are down right gorgeous.  There’s just one problem…

They’re Apple iMacs.

The Macintosh: A Distant Acquaintance

  It was one of those square shaped beige boxes that lay horizontally beneath the monitor The Life and Times of a PC User: The Mac Experience

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I’ll be frank; my exposure to the Mac is quite limited.  In middle school, we had what was known as the “Mac lab”.  This computer lab consisted of all Apple Power PCs that were truly awful.

They were slow, froze constantly, and ran Netscape, a browser that was so awful, it made Internet Explorer look good.  Using these piles of technological excrement was a chore and everyone in our school despised them.

I realize that it’s a little unfair to judge Macs based on that experience, but people judge Windows by their experiences on outdated $300 eMachines, so it balances out.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had more and more friends purchase Apple products.  I’ve used them from time to time, respecting their design while despising little differences like the “command key”.

And it’s not like I never considered buying a Mac.  But ultimately, I found them to be too expensive and a little too incompatible with programs I regularly used (mostly games).  I could do everything I wanted on my PC for less money and I didn’t have to relearn how to use a computer.

Many have tried to persuade me otherwise.

“But PCs breakdown and fall part and get viruses and stuff.”

I’ve had very little trouble with my PCs in the past.  In fact, my laptop ran for 4 years on it’s original Windows install.

But Macs NEVER have problems.”

I’ve known plenty of Mac users who have had hardware issues, software issues, and of course, compatibility issues.

But now the time has come where choice has been removed.  Now, I am using a Mac nearly everyday.  In fact, I’m writing this blog post on it right now.  So what do I think?  Am I forever changed?  Can an iMac with Retina Display win over the most devoted of PC users?

You’ll have to come back here to find out!  Join me on The Mac Experience, here at the Radiate Digital blog.

Are you a Mac or a PC? Does a person really have to be one or the other?

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