Tips to launch your self-hosted blog in less than an hour

How to launch a self-hosted blog or a small website

Tips to launch your self-hosted blog in less than an hourIs it worth having a self-hosted blog?

As people the world over make new-year resolutions most bloggers tend to make some resolutions around their blog. Be it increasing blog traffic, increasing the frequency of posting or moving to self-hosting! Self-hosting is something that not everyone is comfortable with, especially if you consider yourself to be tech-challenged! I did that a year ago and it has been the best decision for my blog.

But, when I decided to self-host, I did a lot of research about the way to go about it; the best platform to choose; what works for me, reviews around the platforms etc. and I can assure you it was not a simple process.

This post is to simplify the whole process and help you come to a decision. So, let’s dive in

These are the overall steps involved

  • Platform
  • Buy a domain
  • Hosting

Choose a platform

Most blogs and websites start on free platforms like WordPress, Blogger, Tumbler etc. My website is powered by WordPress. Having a blog on WordPress.org or Blogger helps as the transition to self-hosting is easy. Check for a platform that offers seamless integration with hosting sites. Also check for the kind of widgets and themes it offers. If you don’t have a blog on free platforms, then many hosting sites offer a 3 step website creation with WordPress.

Buy a Domain

 

Domain is the address that you share with the world to point them to your content

Domain is the address that you share with the world to point them to your content

For this, you need to first be sure of the kind of domain name you want. It could be your name or your niche, but do put some thought in the kind of domain name you want as that is a permanent thing. When in doubt, it’s always safe to go with your name. You can buy domain names from sites like Godaddy.

You can enter the domain name in the search bar to check if the same is available. Once you have found a suitable one, buy it! Next decision to be taken is about the hosting platform. Many sites offer domain and hosting options, so its a good idea to do a parallel research on both.

Hosting

There are plenty of brands offering hosting services. This is where I spent the most time as I was searching and comparing individual plans. Recently I came across Reviews.com where they had a handy list of best Web Hosting providers. Reviews.com has looked at over 200 of the most popular platforms and created a guide to web hosting to help anyone get started on their own. I didn’t know about such a guide when I decided to host, but you can try it out.

Hosting is the place where your content resides in the internet

Hosting is the place where your content resides

Once you are done with the above steps, your blog has a brand new address! If you have the resources ready, setting up your website does not take more than 30 minutes. Stop worrying and wondering if you can do this on your own and take the first step!

Apart from the helplines that domains and web-hosting sites offer, you have a lot of helpful forums which answer the regularly asked questions making the first step to hosting an easy journey.

Have you recently moved your blog from free hosting? How was your experience? What steps did you follow? Do share in comments below.

How Graphic Designing can be a satisfying Freelance career option – GuestPost #FreelancerFriday


Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Graphic Designing as a Freelancing option

Graphic design has emerged as a lucrative career option for many in the past few years. A freelance graphic designer can make a tidy-sum working from home and being their own boss. Here are some tips if you want to explore freelance graphic designing as a career option.

In the world of social media and advertising – visual is your language, you talk more through graphics and less through texts. The industry is big and the demand for graphic designers is never ending. Doing freelance graphic designing is as good as working as a graphic designer in a corporate world. I have worked as a Trade Marketing Officer in one of the biggest FMCG brand in India and graphic designing and branding was a major chunk of my role. Now having quit the corporate world, I am surviving on freelance graphic designing and building up my clientele. It is a lucrative lifestyle where you contribute purely through your skillset. This post covers the details of the role of a freelance graphic designer and how you can work from home.

Skillset required for a Freelance Graphic Designer

There are few skill sets that you need to don for becoming a graphic designer.

A graphic designer needs detailed know-how on many skillsets apart from basic drawing and designing aesthetics. You need to acquire skills of

  1. Design skillset
  2. Adobe Creative Suit skillset
  3. Free-hand drawing skills
  4. Visualizing and conceptualizing skills
  5. Working knowledge of software like – Dreamweaver, Animate, Photoshop, 3Ds Max, InDesign, Illustrator, Corel Draw etc

You can enroll yourself in a design school for a certification on graphic design or enroll to online courses on Udemy, Skillshare or refer to videos and tutorials on You Tube.

Role of a Freelance Graphic Designer

In a corporate set up the work of a graphic designer is funneled to conceptualization and design but as a freelance graphic designer you have to run the show yourself. As a freelance graphic designing professional you need to have both a creative as well as an analytical mind. One needs to grasp the client brief and provide solution to it with creative output while keeping in mind the utility of the design.

Some of the responsibilities are

  1. Interpreting client briefs and develop suitable concept
  2. Develop creative concepts
  3. Journey from rough sketches to final output
  4. Develop interactive designs for web output
  5. Develop designs for print
  6. Sourcing right images for creative
  7. Developing illustrations

 

How to set up your home office

It goes without a saying, your only investment is a good system and internet. You always don’t need an iMac to start off with your work – though it is the best solution!

RAM: Invest in a system/laptop which has a good RAM at least 4GB. The design software are heavy and require a good RAM to function properly with other programs running in background.

CPU: The system of a graphic designer needs to have a more-than-decent CPU. The design software need at least a 1Ghz processor (meaning the computer can make one billion calculations per second). Intel i5 or i7 processors are good for the starter.

Graphic & Video Card: Get a system that has a graphic and video card – they help in image/video processing.

How to market yourself as a Freelance Graphic Designer

When you are ready to take up freelance works, market yourself – let people know you are there in the graphic design world.

  1. Develop a digital portfolio or a website to showcase your work
  2. Brand yourself – develop your own branding complete with your business card, letterhead
  3. Network with other designers, join design forums for knowledge sharing
  4. Read and participate in challenges, competitions online

 

Pro Tip: Never stop practicing. With every new update on the software you have a new feature! It’s an ever learning process.

 

Where to Find Work?

Till you have formed your own clientele with whom you interact personally, you can find work on sites like Freelancer, Elance, Fivver, Upwork. These websites offer jobs for Freelance graphic designers and you only need to register with your name and email address. You have to bid for projects with your rates and once you grab a project communicate with client over chat/email. It will also be advisable if you have a PayPal account.

What is the remuneration?

Graphic designing is a highly skill based job and the remuneration is also dependent on your skillset. The better your portfolio looks, the better you can demand.  There are two kinds of payment models in their field of work. Fixed price and hourly model – Hourly model pays somewhere between $5-500 or an average of 6500 INR per hour.
But a fixed price model (which I prefer) can fetch you anywhere between $500-100. A logo design project from a mid-sized firm can fetch you anywhere between 6,000-10,000 INR.

 

What else you can do?

You can always create digital products to sell like typography, pre-maid logo layouts, pre-made editable business kits, digital badges, social media packs, vector illustrations and many more. You can open up your digital shop on sites like Creative Market, Etsy, etc.

Doesn’t the freelance graphic designer career sound good? I am making a living from graphic designing and blogging currently and can tell you hard work is always appreciated and celebrated.

About the Author

Tina Basu is a freelance graphic designer and a blogger. She blogs at www.tinabasu.com

Making money from Food Blogging – Guest Blog for #FreelancerFriday


Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Making money with food blogging

My Journey as a food blogger started somewhere in 2012 when I had already left the corporate world and started full-fledged consultancy. Friends who came over on weekends to taste the new dishes which I curated with my own twists often appreciated it and asked me to start food blogging. This brought in the idea of starting Fashionablefoodz. I initially started Fashionablefoodz.net and switched over to fashionablefoodz.com in the last 2 years or so.

To be honest, nothing comes free or easy. So I had this difficult patch for the first two years. I wondered often if there was ever going to be any income which I would generate from my Blog? Now when I sit back and see the journey, I feel that content plays a major role in selling your blog. The initial period was when IU only populated content on my site and wrote guest posts. This got me a good amount of back-links. I also started socializing a bit at events and ceremonies revolving around blogging. Since I am more of a Lifestyle blogger than a pure Food blogger, I tried my hands at other things too like a bit of fashion posts, Movie reviews and Travel posts apart from my niche of Food, fitness and Nutrition.

My Experience as food blogger

Two years down the line after starting the blog and with some dense content, I got my first break when a company approached me to put up a Food related post which required using and describing their product and offered me money for the services. I think that was the beginning of commercial returns on my Blog. I in turn stuck to my honesty and have been upfront with all my clients telling them clearly that I will write an honest review of their product. 99% of my clients have not just appreciated this but in fact welcomed this. They offer me extra money for consultancy on improvising the nutrition quotient, I advise them on enhancing the taste and the flavors by adjust the proportion of certain ingredients and spices. So it is more like a well woven story which I have with my clients.

I take pride to tell that I have been associated with my client for over 2 years now and they trust my judgments on putting up posts.  Barring a few occasions where the clients have wanted to introduce a freshly made tagline or something, never have any of them actually interfered in my work and given me complete freedom. This bonding is needed to leave a mark in the Industry. Today, I blog full time and make decent money to run a household.

 

Trends in food blogging

Food Industry has got diluted in last couple of years.  There are so many aspiring, directionless new comers who have come in. They write for free or for peanuts. They do free food reviews just for some free food. Their reviews on Zomato and other platform speak about their knowledge of food (“Wow, the food was awesome, Wonderful experience at Hotel XYZ, I was there and the food was good with beautiful ambiance and sincere staff who served well”) Surprisingly some restaurants who are wanting shortcut to success often try these bloggers making them give a 5 Star rating for a free meal. Eventually when customers taste the food and write the reality their ratings drop down drastically.

Hence a class difference has been created. One is the Blogger class who has developed skills of writing, giving in depth feedback keeping Nutrition and other aspects in mind when it comes to food blogging. The other is just generic class. The choice is up to us, as to how we wish to pitch ourselves.

Advice by Baba UK

My Tips for the people who want to join Blogging Industry are these:

  • Make content rich blog. This may take time but original and good content will always attract masses.
  • Always use Hashtags and keywords. This will help your blog ranking climb up faster.
  • Visit other blogs, read their content to get a fair idea where you stand. Comment if you like their posts. They too will come back some day to check yours.
  • Never work for Free for any client. Remember, you are taking this up as a profession, not a hobby.
  • Always follow senior bloggers on social media. You may get lucky to tie up with them on some projects soon.
  • Never copy paste content just for populating your site. Readers are smart and clients are smarter.
  • Be honest and patient. Both Honesty and patience pays. I say this by experience.
  • Last but not the least, stay away from fake limelight which gives momentary glamour but no money.

Over to you

If you are planning to be a serious blogger, try and follow the tips which I gave above. If you are not, then ignore my post. 😀 It is definitely not easy to make money on your blog as soon as you start. Especially when it is a Food Blog, but the satisfaction which you get after writing genuine posts and giving genuine feedback for a review, is much above all. So sit down, make up your mind and if it says a big YES to Blogging, go for it. Success will follow.


About the Author

Utpal Krishna (UK)

I am born and brought up in Mumbai, graduated from the Mumbai University and worked in the corporate world for about 20 years. I quit the corporate world in 2012 and started Full time consultancy in Content management and Food. As a certified nutritionist I have helped many stay fit and also work with corporates from time to time for their Food related content requirements. I run a blog at http://fashionablefoodz.com which is well known by now. After doing voluntary social service for over 10 years, I decided to start a NGO and in April 2017, Being The Real Human came into existence (http://beingtherealhuman.com) 

I am participating in the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Challenge

How to optimize your real estate website for Search Engines

How to Optimize Your Real Estate Website For Search Engines

Starting this Friday I am starting a series called #FreelanceFriday. This will have tips from successful freelancers, guest posts about certain topics, ideas, inspirations and a lot more. We start this series with an SEO and Digital Marketing consultant, Dhiraj Shetty, who shares his knowledge about Optimizing the Real Estate websites to have greater impact and reach.


Search Engine Optimization(SEO) is the only method where you can multiply your website visitors by more than 5 times with 1/4th of the costs that are spent on Display Advertising. The only drawback to this method is that it’s not instant.

In a highly competitive market such as the Real Estate vertical, businesses struggle to get their real estate website ranked for premium rankings on Search Engines. Here are a few simple tips to optimize your real estate website for Search Engines.

How to optimize your real estate website for Search Engines

SEO Audit for Real Estate website

The first place to start off on your road to SEO success is to audit your website. The audit report will provide you insights about the common issues that websites have.  The SEO report can be classified into 2 main categories, On-Page Optimization which describes how well the pages on your website are optimized and the second is Off-Page Optimization which is the ranking factors outside of the website.

There are a number of free SEO Audit tools available like SEM Rush, Moz.com, HubSpot etc. You can even hire a SEO Consultant for free to audit your website.

Device Compatibility

Make sure that your website is responsive and accessible across all platforms. If your real estate website cannot be viewed on mobile devices then you are losing more than 50% of your visitors.

SEO Effort

40% of your efforts have to be on On-Page Optimization and the other 60% on Off-Page Optimization.

 On-Page Optimization

Keyword Research

One of the most important elements of SEO is to target the right keywords based on your target audience.  In a highly competitive vertical such as real estate, it is important that you find your niche in the real estate space. Don’t target every real estate keyword that you come across, instead create a category for your real estate business.

For example:

If you are a real estate developer from Bangalore who is selling Luxury Apartments, your primary keyword would be “Luxury Apartments”, now add the location, which would be “Bangalore”, specify the kind of apartments that you are selling “3BHK or 4BHK”. Your final keyword may look like this “3Bhk Luxury Apartments in Bangalore”.  You can dig deep and make it area specific because 90% of serious buyers would type in the long tail keyword on Google.

Now expand your keyword list based on your primary keywords.

Competitor Analysis

List out the competitors in your location who are selling similar properties, look at their keyword strategy and their rankings on Google, this would give you a strong indication of what’s working and what’s not working

Property Categorization

If you are a real estate developer who has multiple categories in multiple locations like Luxury Apartments, Luxury Villas, Row Houses, Budget Homes etc. It is extremely important that the Information Architecture of your website caters to the needs of these Keywords. A website with a strong Information Architecture can target multiple real estate keywords based on your target audience.

The Top 8 On-Page Optimization factors are:
  1. Page Titles
  2. Meta Descriptions
  3. Meta Tags
  4. URL Structure
  5. Body Tags
  6. Keyword Density
  7. Image SEO
  8. Internal Linking

Off-Page Optimization

Local SEO

Google with their last algorithm update focuses a lot on having a strong local presence for websites. The 4 most important elements for having a strong local presence online are:

  1. List your real estate business on Google Maps. Also, list your properties with the relevant property specific keywords.
  2. Claim your “Google My Business” page. Optimize your business page for search engines by creating a profile with the relevant keywords. Upload as many posts you can with images and information about your properties.
  3. NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number): One of the important factors is to have the local citations consistent across platforms including your website, social media etc.
  4. Local Reviews: Build credibility by focusing on getting a lot of reviews on Google reviews and other review platforms like Yelp. These reviews can have a direct impact on your search engine rankings.

Image Source – Webvisitors.co.in

Social Media Engagement

One of the key factors of Off-Page optimization is Domain Authority which tells Google about the popularity of your website. The popularity of your real estate website is determined by external links from highly authoritative websites. Hence it becomes imperative to have a strong social media presence which will help you to grow your business and also get you more backlinks.  Social Media Engagement also helps in building a strong and loyal community which helps in referrals, which is how 60%  of the property inventory is sold.

Link Building

There are more than 200 factors that affect search rankings, none more important than “Link Building”. The majority of your SEO efforts should be focused on Link Building. Build high-value links over a period of time using the following platforms.

  1. Social Media sites
  2. Social Bookmarking sites
  3. Blogging
  4. Video Sharing sites
  5. Forums
  6. Directories
  7. Article Submission
Golden Rule

No matter how desperate you are to list your website for premier rankings on search engines, build your SEO organically using White Hat SEO techniques. If there’s one thing that Google absolutely hates, then it is using Black Hat SEO techniques.


About the Author

Dhiraj Shetty is an SEO and Digital Marketing Consultant for various real estate companies. With 10+ years of experience within SEO and digital marketing, Dhiraj has a deep technical knowledge of SEO and organic search ranking factors. He has worked with some of the best real estate developers in Bangalore helping them rank their website for the No.1 position in Bangalore for relevant keywords. You can connect with him on dhirushetty@gmail.com for a free site audit or know more about him on Linkedin

Write Tribe

YouTube Tips to get your Channel up and Running

YouTube is known as one of the major vertical search networks available today. Vertical Search means searching for a specific topic or category or industry. People come to YouTube to check for videos in a certain segment or vertical. While it’s not essential that you need to be present on all mediums, however, if you can make creative videos around your topic, then you shouldn’t miss it. Here are a few facts from SEMRush which will showcase the massive ecosystem of YouTube.

YouTube infographic and figures

YouTube infographic by SEMRush

YouTube Tip #1 – Optimize your video and channel

You might think this is really simple one, but this is where the gold mine is.  Before you create a video, identify the keywords that are being used in your niche. Use that as your base to create videos and then use those keywords in tags. Once your video is created, make sure you have a catchy and keyword rich headline, description, tags, and sub-titles. YouTube is owned by Google, so Google is interested in indexing and pushing its video content and if you observe even in normal search, a video ranks higher for a search term than text, so make the most of it. Put special emphasis on crafting a well-worded and keyword relevant description.

YouTube Tip #2 Brand your channel

Use keyword planner to identify good keywords. Add an eye-catching thumbnail. Either design one on your own or get someone to design it for you. An eye-catching thumbnail is one of the major deciding factors for a viewer to click. Brand your channel with a good cover and relevant themes. Add an end-slide to your videos and ask viewers to subscribe to your channel or follow your social channels at the end of the video.

YouTube Tip #3 Video Quality is important

Gone are the days when a simple home-made video became an overnight sensation. Though it is true in some exceptional cases even today, however with the sheer amount of videos being uploaded every day, it is tough for a humble home video to list in trending sections. YouTube has come a long way and so has the quality of videos that are being uploaded on the channel. Use good equipment’s like a better quality mobile, stand, tripod, mike etc. to give a professional touch to your videos and audio. Invest in a good mic and if you are recording yourself, then instead of just a casual ‘call from home’ look opt for a plain screen. First impressions are very important on YouTube.  Go Live, if it’s relevant, but ensure that some brand element is present in such videos too.

YouTube Tip #4 – Be Found

Though YouTube is a kind of search engine, the way it behaves and the way the user behaves with the tool is very different from a normal search engine. An important thing that separates user behavior on YouTube and other search engines is the suggested videos section. Once you start playing a video, a list of suggested videos pop-up on the right-hand side. The user usually scrolls through that to decide which video to watch next. View videos in your niche or topic, identify the keywords that are there in those videos. Create videos that are adding value to existing high ranking videos. Focus on being in the suggested list of YouTube videos.

Have you used YouTube for promoting your brand or do you have some questions about it? Shoot an email or ask about it in comments below. Will definitely try and help.

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Why small businesses should use Google Adwords


Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

The words ‘Google Adwords’ invokes mixed responses. Small businesses assume that you need huge marketing budgets to achieve any relevant results. They tend to believe that the CTR will burn a huge hole and consume their budgets even before they realize what can be done. While it is true to a certain extent, it is also equally true that a sharp focused strategy can get you meaningful results in limited budgets.

Powerful insights

Apart from conversions or inquiries, a big thing that Google Adwords gives you is powerful insights. Apart from Google Analytics, Adwords helps you understand what people are looking for and how you can design content to their queries or maybe add more landing pages to take them to relevant pages.

Flexible 

Adwords gives you the flexibility to adjust the amount to be spent and the timings during which your ads are to be published. This specifically helps if you are looking for calls from customers, but your store phone can’t be answered 24*7. You can target specific locations too hence if your ad is relevant to a particular city, you can still run Adwords and get conversions. The best thing is you can stop the ads anytime.

Precise Targeting

Did you know that you can run ads targeting a 2-mile radius? You can go that specific! Hence even if you are a brick and mortar store, with a limited area to service, you can still focus only to these places and run an efficient ad campaign. The local ads can also appear on Maps – ‘Near Me’ feature. This will help you showcase your products or offers right when the customer is close by and maybe looking for something similar.

Appear when people are looking for your product/service

The best thing about Google search Ads is the fact that your ad appears when the prospect is looking for your product or something similar. Having a good keyword strategy will help you understand the customer’s requirements and what exactly is he searching for. Also the fact that universal ads appear everywhere – right from search to videos and apps makes it a perfect brand launch vehicle that will skyrocket your brand awareness.

7 compelling reasons to use adwords

Drive traffic to various conversion touch points

While you might not have a budget to run Universal campaigns, what you can do is drive your prospective customers to various touch points on your site, via the search ads alone. Add site-link extensions like call now, contact us, locate us etc. to ensure that people reach you directly and you don’t miss any leads.

Be on the first page

SEO is great for long-term strategy. You need to focus on SEO and optimize your site so that you can come on the first page of the search results. However, if you wish to capture audience now, then the quickest way to be on the top of the list is via SEM (Search Engine Marketing) or PPC. This is especially effective when you are launching a new product or a website launch.

Follow your customer

Google and Facebook offer Remarketing option. With this, you can retarget your audience and keep the brand on top of his mind. Your ad can appear on the sites that he visits and the videos that he plays. If you are an e-com site, you know that a customer never buys in one go, but being on the top of his mind, while making a purchase decision will ensure that he chooses you over other brands.

These are few of the reasons why small businesses too should think about investing in Adwords. It is much more focused as compared to some traditional marketing methods and it is also highly measurable.

Have you used Google Adwords for your business or personal brand promotion? How was your experience? Do you have some more points to add – do let me know in comments below

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How to use Twitter for small businesses and personal brands


Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

I have always maintained that spreading yourself thin is not a great strategy. Find the social channels that work best for your brand and focus your energies on them. While Twitter isn’t as popular as Facebook or What’s App, there is a different set of audience who love Twitter.

Twitter works well in many areas like brand building, customer service or reputation management depending on your brand niche. Do a quick research about if and why your brand can leverage Twitter?

Here are a few statistics that will help you realize the potential of Twitter

Twitter has over 300 million monthly active Twitter users

80% of Twitter users use it on their mobile phones

Nearly 100 million users check and use Twitter daily

Twitter is one of the top 10 popular social media sites in the world.

Twitter marketing for small business

Post more often

You might think this is a dud, but simply posting more often will show you a quick growth in your follower count. Use tools like Crowdfire to identify relevant followers. Crowdfire also helps you with tweeting your existing content from your blog and also suggests tweets or posts related to your category that you can tweet. Schedule tweets throughout the day depending on the timezone and see a marked difference in the followers.

 Find your audience

Check your competition profile and find similar audience and follow them. But don’t stop at that. As this is an audience that is very close to your target audience, connect with them on a personal level. Like their photos, comment on their tweet or DM them with your site or contest links. This will help in building an engaged audience. Following people will just increase your follower number, however, engaging with them; will ensure an engaged and vibrant community who will eventually turn into your brand advocates.

Connect twitter to other social channels

 Use apps like IFTTT to cross-post tweets on Facebook or Instagram and vice-versa. If you are holding a Twitter party or live tweeting an event, cross-posting will help you reach a large audience.

Use Twitter to understand the Pulse

A Simple search with a related hashtag will throw up the kind of content being shared in your segment. Create posts related to it and tag people who showed interest in the topic on Twitter. Ask questions or answer questions that were asked by them with relevant posts. This will not only grow your traffic but also brand you as the go-to person in your niche.

Focus on developing Branded Hashtags

Branded hashtags might sound a bit overwhelming, but if your focus is clear about why you wish to use Twitter, branded hashtags will go a long way in establishing your brand image. If you use Twitter to offer helpful tips or educative posts then instead of random hashtags utilize branded hashtags and popularize them.

Host a Twitter Party

A twitter party is a cool way to rally a community around your brand. Weekly twitter parties/twitter chats help grow and engage your community. Promote your party details on your website, another social channel, and blog. Tag a few people who will find these relevant and then host the twitter chat. Keep a memorable and relevant hashtag for your party. While the twitter chat is on, search your brand hashtags and keep responding to all questions and chats to make the engagement livelier.

These are a few tips and tricks that will help you boost your Twitter presence. What are your thoughts about it? Have you used Twitter in some other ways that have helped you boost your presence?Do share in comments below.

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How to use Pinterest for business or personal brand


Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Pinterest for business isn’t a very popular choice in India. Pinterest and Instagram are both images sharing sites. While Instagram is where you click or download a photo on your phone, apply filters and then share it using relevant hashtags for discovery, Pinterest is a more of a curation and photo searching site. According to Pinterest website description, Pinterest helps people discover the things they want to plan, buy and do. The pins can be anything that you like and that’s what makes this platform interesting. It sounds fun right? But you might say, how will Pinterest help my business?

Pinterest is one of the most active social media platforms that send traffic to the website/ business directly. Pinterest is most popular with the female audience. Still not sure why people use Pinterest? Check this out

There are a lot more statistics out there that prove Pinterest worth, hence let’s jump straight to the question – How can it help my business?

Relevance in India

Though Instagram is more popular today, let’s not confuse with the functionality. Pinterest is mostly used to find images that are inspiring, educational and motivational. You will find very limited images that are boring, personal in nature or direct sale related. Hence if you have content that can be educational, motivating or awe-inspiring and not limited geographically, Pinterest is the place to be.

Focus on being an Inspiration

Don’t just promote your wares. Like any other social media, continuous promotion about your products or services isn’t going to cut well with the audience. Have a clear strategy about what your Pinterest page needs to be. Have minimum boards about your products. Focus more on keeping your pins inspiring, authoritative, humorous and even DIY if relevant. Create strong boards and intersperse them with your product images.

Connect and Communicate

Link Pinterest to Facebook and Twitter with find friends. Comment on others pins. Share genuinely good content. Do like and comment other pins but don’t overdo as it might be considered spam or a bot and don’t pin excessively on a single day. Take time out daily. Once you get the hang of it, it hardly takes 10 min per day.

Ease of Pinning

Make your website pinnable. Have widgets that let your images be directly pinned from your site. Use the Pinterest browser extension or Pinterest button to pin images from your site or any inspiration that you find around. Build a community around your product or service or fun ideas that are aligned to your business. Create DIY photos or videos and have them pinned on your boards. Be educative while selling your products. Pin great images from your website and blog. If you are an e-com site have a Deals board or an OOTD board and lead people to your site. Make use of rich pins  to keep things interesting and engaging.

Collaborate

Identify influential pinners and collaborate with them on a group board. Group boards are a great concept and I suggest you put in some thought before you go ahead with it. Being a part of some group board which is irrelevant to your product or service will not help you in any way. Similarly, as the group boards reflect upon your choices too, ensure they are in-line with your overall strategy.

Plan contests

You can design some fun contests with Pinterest. Have a “Pin it to Win it” contest or Pin your DIY contest. Lots of brands are doing great stuff with the Pinterest contest. Look around for inspiration. Have a web page that states your contest details and pin that on your contest board. Most importantly, comply with Pinterest guidelines.

Pin the Best

Pinterest has come up with ‘Lens’ a search option where you can click a picture and search related images on Pinterest. This is a goldmine for brands. How many times have you seen a dress or a décor item or some small knick-knack and fallen in love with it, but as it belongs to a complete stranger, you can’t just ask them. Now all you need to do is click a pic and related images will be shown by Pinterest. Brands should make the most of it by putting up stunning images as you never know who is looking for you.

Have you used Pinterest, or have some more tips to share? Do comment your ideas and thoughts about Pinterest.

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How to use Instagram for business or personal brand


Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Instagram is the most actively growing social network in the past two years. It is a photo sharing app that took over the social networking world by storm, when it was launched in October 2010 and is still growing. Check out these facts to fully understand the phenomenon that Instagram is.

Instagram Growth Statistics

Image Credit – TechCrunch

Whether you should be on Instagram or not is an irrelevant question. The real question here will be how do you make the most of it? I am offering tips on using Instagram for Business and personal brand promotion.

#Tip1 – Be Consistent

The most important thing on all social media activities is consistency. Be consistent, however, don’t post more than 4-5 times a day, otherwise, the followers will end up with brand fatigue. Pick out your best images and consistently pepper them over the day. Aim to post at-least one image per day and maximum 2-3 images in the day. Use automation tools like Buffer and Tailwind to schedule and Instagram without a glitch.

#Tip2 – Upload the Best and follow a Theme

A quick search on Instagram will throw up two sets of people, one with amazing pictures and the other with too many random images. Instagram is a visual medium and the visitor sees and enjoys the image first. Create powerful images to mesmerize him. Identify your niche. Just because you sell everything under the sun, your insta feed need not put all the photos. Study your audience and decide why do you wish to use Instagram. If it attracts people interested in fashion, focus only on that. Tie your latest trends with relevant up selling, So you can showcase clothes, shoes, hats, scarfs and even handbags but avoid gardening equipment without a theme.

#Tip3 – Ask what you seek

With a feed full of images, it is easy for a viewer to miss the double tap. Having great pictures and uploading them on Instagram is not enough. Ask what you want the viewer to do! Build engagement by asking them to like, comment or tag their friends. Do reply and like their comments and follow insta-etiquettes.

Tip4 – Comment Hashtags

As Hashtags are a big part of Instagram and around 30 hashtags on each post are allowed, the image descriptions can get really busy. At times an important message might get lost in the sea of hashtags. It also looks a bit jarring. To avoid this, you can keep your description clean with just writing what the image describes and add the hashtags as a comment on the image.

#Tip5 – It’s all about Hashtag

Every social network has its own uniqueness which helps audience discover the brand. For Instagram it’s hashtags. On an average having around 30 hashtags per photo is considered a good number. Discover good hashtags that are relevant to your brand or image and use them with every image that you post. Add searchable tags and location to your Insta stories too to be listed and be found. Have a good repository of hashtags as copy-pasting the same hashtags for each image is not encouraged by Instagram and you might get penalized if your image is not relevant to the hashtag.

#Tip6 – Right filters

Instagram has inbuilt filters and you can use them with every image. It has been observed that images with filters perform better than images without them. A recent survey found that filters with higher contrasts, warm temperatures, and higher exposures are supposed to get the most likes and engagement.

#Tip7 Cross-Post and Promote

Using cross-posting tools will help you streamline your posting process and communicate a similar message across platforms. Cross-promote your social channels. Add an Instagram feed tab to your Facebook page, Post on various channels asking your audience to follow you on other channels. Collaborate with bloggers and brands in your niche and help promote each other.

 I want to take my Alexa Rank to the next level with My Friend Alexa

How to increase blog traffic? Seven tips to get more


Indian Bloggers

Dive in to know the best practices to get more views/traffic to the blog

When I announced that I will be doing a series on online marketing for small businesses and personal brands for the #MyFriendAlexa month, Akshata asked a question about “How to get more blog traffic after the post is published.” So I decided to do a post on that. I also came across a handy guide from SocialMaharaj about ‘How to Start Blogging’ this post has some really good points and I recommend you check it out.

Seven tips to grow your blog traffic

Coming back to what I can offer, here are a few tips that can help you get more traffic on your blog.

Tip #1 to increase blog traffic – Be consistent

This is the first rule of blogging. Don’t falter here. Maintain a schedule. It could be 1 post a week, but do that. Maintain that schedule and post regularly on relevant topics. Maintain a good length for the post to be discoverable. Ideally, anything above 300 words is considered good content, but depending on your niche the length can vary. Authority blogs in various domains have posted as long as 2000+ words.

Tip #2 to increase blog traffic – Be part of Blogging Communities

Remember blogging is about 50% good + relevant content and 50% marketing.  You might have a fantastic piece but as long as you don’t get people to your site, it is not going to get recognized. Be part of communities and be actively involved. Read, Comment, Share and discuss. Communities like BlogChatter, IndiBlogger have various contests or reading lists that you can make use of. Remember the person, adding his post on the list is looking for an audience, so he is bound to reciprocate by reading yours. Fix a schedule of when you plan to share your posts on such sites. Don’t do it all on the same day. Spread it over the week.

Tip #3 to increase blog traffic -Participate in campaigns

Blogging campaigns like #MyFriendAlexa, #A-Z etc. help you blog better, blog consistently and discover new readers and blogs. Participate in such campaigns and connect with like-minded bloggers. Build your Tribe, who will offer support in terms of reading and sharing.  Blogging is equivalent to nurturing relations, anyone who told you otherwise is taking you for a ride. Treat the community with the respect it deserves; take them as seriously as you would take an office colleague.

Tip#4 to increase blog traffic – Ensure Sharability

A blogger visiting your site, should have the option to share and comment with ease. Make it easy for him. Offer plugin’s that provide shareability at one click. Some love Comment Luv, some hate it, but it is a good way to coax your reader to comment on your page. Ensure that it is formatted well and block spam with pro version or Akismet. No point attracting spam or senseless comments.

Tip #5 to increase blog traffic -Read and Share daily

Blog Traffic will not grow in a day. It needs consistent effort and patience. A good way is to maintain a log of your daily reads. Keep a target of 5-8 posts a day and read-comment and share them daily. Put more effort with bloggers who you consider as like-minded or from your niche. Having that connect with help you plan collaborations, giveaways or link parties in future.

Tip #6 to increase blog traffic – GuestPost

If you have knowledge about a specific domain, don’t shy away from shooting a mail to related blogs, asking if they would be interested in having a Guest-post on their blog. Hosting and doing guest posts in related domains help in creating a personal brand. Readers from your niche would recognize you and follow you to your blog for more. Do allow Guest-Posts on your blog,  as link-up’s are good for your blog health. However, ensure that they are in your domain or segment and not some random post. Irrelevant posts will do you more harm than good.

Tip #7 to increase blog traffic – Keep SEO in Mind

SEO might sound like a jargon, but it is necessary for your blog health. If you are a non-techie take help of plugin’s like Yoast SEO and Hemingway App to improve your post SEO. These plugin’s help improves your post content so that your blog does not miss out on search engine traffic.

These are a few tips that will help you get quality readers to your blog.  This September I am writing posts that are helpful for bloggers or small businesses to push themselves on social media. If you wish to start off on Facebook marketing, do read my post-Facebook for small businesses and personal brands.

I want to take my Alexa Rank to the next level with My Friend Alexa