Tag Archive | "Isn’t"

Why Great Content Alone Isn’t Enough to Build an Audience

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about creating content that earns your audience’s attention. Mark Schaefer swung by and left a comment — and he made a point that is dear to our hearts at Copyblogger. “Outstanding content is not the finish line, it’s the starting line.”– Mark Schaefer I told
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Why Your Friend with a Creative Job Isn’t the Village Idiot

It happened again. You were out to dinner with your Writer Friend, and the waiter came over to see if you needed anything. This led to a short, friendly conversation with him, and as he walked away your meal companion apologized for reaching into her purse to get her phone. She opened her Notes application
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3 Proofreading Pointers, So Your Writing Isn’t Shared for the Wrong Reason

"Want to know how I find and correct errors in my own writing as well as every article we publish on Copyblogger?" – Stefanie Flaxman

Whenever someone questions the importance of proofreading, my go-to response is:

“Pubic relations is quite different from public relations.”

We all sometimes make a typo that omits or changes a letter in a word. A typo like that is difficult to spot when the mistake is still an actual word (or words). Just last week, I wrote “head lice” instead of “headline.” Again, two completely different things.

But I have an effective proofreading process that helps me find and correct errors before they are published. (Except, of course, when the error is a joke.)

Do you want to know techniques I use on my own writing as well as every article we publish on Copyblogger?

Walk the line

I’ve witnessed two different attitudes when it comes to how people feel about typos.

Some find them unacceptable and a reason to stop reading a publication. Others aren’t bothered by them at all and don’t understand why anyone would make an effort to prevent them.

I’m sure you’re not surprised that my outlook falls in the middle between those two extremes. I walk the line.

It’s a bit excessive to call a website “untrustworthy” if there is a typo in a piece of content or if an author doesn’t strictly follow grammar rules, but publishing your writing with a number of mistakes isn’t wise either. It can even lead to customer service headaches.

Established publications might be able to “get away with” occasional typos. Their audiences (for the most part) will be forgiving.

But if your website isn’t well-known and trusted yet, you want to demonstrate that you treat your content with care and aim to create the best possible experience for your readers.

Try one of the three methods below when you’re ready to polish your writing before you publish it.

1. Peek-a-boo proofreading

For this first method, you’ll need an opaque object that you don’t mind holding while you proofread.

It could be a note card, your phone, a slab of smoky quartz … whatever is handy and near your desk. Speaking of “handy,” your hand also works as this “object,” if nothing else feels right.

Start at the beginning of your text and cover the second word with the object so that you only concentrate on the first word in the document. Once you make sure it’s the correct word, surrounded by the correct punctuation if any is needed, shift your focus to the second word and cover the third word with the object.

When you’re satisfied with the second word, cover the fourth word with the object, review the third word, and repeat until you reach the end of your draft.

Blocking out the next word in your text forces you to slow down and examine your writing with a critical eye.

Names of companies, products, and people will stand out so that you can fact-check them. You’ll also be able to quickly see if you’ve accidentally left out a word, repeated a word, or chosen the wrong word.

2. Deep-tissue “word” massage

The tool I use for this method is a Rainmaker Platform pen I got at one of our company meetings. (You can buy the Platform, but I don’t think we sell the pen.)

I like proofreading with this retractable pen because when the ink cartridge is inside the external frame, a spongy material becomes the tip of the pen. The spongy part can make contact with my computer screen without scratching it.

You can use an eraser on the end of a pencil, a cotton swab, or another pointed object that is soft.

Start at the beginning of your text and physically underline each word with your soft, pointed object as you proofread. My pen actually touches my screen and presses into it as I observe each letter and word.

You don’t need to spend more than a few seconds on each word — just enough time to give it your full attention.

You’ll be able to easily spot “you’re/your/you” and “their/they’re/there” mistakes. Focusing on each letter of a word also helps you notice if you’ve accidentally made a word plural when it is supposed to be singular, or vice versa.

3. My all-time favorite proofreading technique, using one of the tips above

After I edit and proofread an article, the review process still feels a little incomplete — mistakes could be hiding in the content.

So, the technique I use as a final step before publishing is reading from the last sentence to the first sentence.

No matter how many times you’ve already reviewed an article, proofreading in this way helps you, at the very least, identify weaknesses you may have overlooked while editing.

During this stage, I sometimes notice a word has been overused or a lot of sentences begin with the same word. I’ll then vary the language so the text is more interesting.

You’ll also often find legitimate mistakes, such as:

  • The incorrect use of an apostrophe
  • The misinterpretation of a phrase, such as “beckon call” rather than “beck and call”
  • Subtle typos, such as “top” instead of “stop” or “in” instead of “it”

Read from the end to the beginning with either of the methods above to give every detail of your content extra special attention. Your job is to verify the accuracy of the words and phrases you present to your audience.

The luxury of digital content

When I discovered content marketing, I loved the concept but didn’t think it was something I could do.

Writing on a regular basis seemed like an impossible goal. Since I’m an editor, I thought an accidental writing mistake would tarnish my reputation. I couldn’t risk it.

Do you see what was really going on?

I was lacking confidence at the time. A confident person feels good about the work they’ve carefully produced and realizes mistakes still sometimes happen anyway.

With digital content on your own site, it’s especially easy to make corrections and move on.

So now that you’re equipped with smart ways to proofread, what are you going to publish today?

Image source: Joshua Ness via Unsplash.

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3 Simple Ways to Ensure Your SEO Strategy Isn’t Going Stale

The next time you have some extra time, reviewing your key landing pages and revisiting your long-tail keyword strategy are productive ways you can keep your SEO efforts up-to-date.

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The New iPad Mini Isn’t Very Repairable

The folks at iFixIt have turned the art of tearing apart electronics into a science over the years. Every teardown is methodical, beautiful and best of all – educational. So what do we learn from today’s iPad Mini Retina teardown? Apple makes it very hard for consumers to fix their devices.

In today’s iPad Mini Retina teardown, iFixIt found that Apple’s latest mini-tablet has its share of good and bad. Unfortunately, the bad far outweighs the good thanks to the large amounts of glue Apple uses to keep its components in place. Doing so makes it harder to remove parts, and can even damage them if you’re not careful. They also note that there are hidden screws inside the iPad which makes removing some components a dangerous proposition.

Interestingly enough, iFixIt found that the iPad Mini shares the same CPU with the iPhone 5S instead of the new iPad Air. All three use the same A7 CPU, but the iPad Air’s A7 has been clocked to a higher frequency. So you could say that the new iPad Mini is more like an oversized iPhone 5S instead of a slimmed down iPad Air. Either way, you’re getting what looks to be a powerful 7-inch tablet.

If poor repairability doesn’t phase you, you can pick up the iPad Air today for $ 399. If you want to go all out, you can also pick up an 128GB model with LTE for $ 829.

[Image: iFixIt]


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“Content” Isn’t a Buzzword, It’s the Future of Your Business

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Content Marketing is a hot topic, no doubt.

What you may not know, however, is that it’s been around for a long time, and that it’s finding itself in the midst of yet another “Golden Age” with the rise of the Internet.

This is very good news if you’re a content creator. It’s even better news if you’re building authority online.

But, are you actually getting the job done?

Whether you have no idea what I’m talking about, or you do, and you’d like to take your content marketing skills much further online, we’ve got your back.

We’ve built an incredible training resource called MyCopyblogger, and when you register (at no charge) you’ll get instant access to nearly 100,000 words of proven marketing training in thirteen ebooks, (and our completely revamped 20-part Internet marketing course) …

  • Copywriting 101: How to Craft Compelling Copy
  • How to Write Magnetic Headlines
  • How to Create Compelling Content that Ranks Well in Search Engines
  • Content Marketing: How to Build an Audience that Builds Your Business
  • The Business Case for Agile Content Marketing
  • A Content Marketing Strategy that Works
  • How to Create Content that Converts
  • How to Effectively Promote Your Content
  • Content Marketing Research: The Crucial First Step
  • How to Build Authority through Content and Google Authorship
  • Email Marketing: How to Push Send and Grow Your Business
  • Keyword Research for Web Writers and Content Producers
  • Landing Pages: How to Turn Traffic into Money

Inside these ebooks you’ll find the very same tactics, strategies, and processes that allowed us to build Copyblogger Media from a simple blog into a content-fueled software and training company with 100,000+ customers.

Don’t ignore one of the most powerful forms of marketing of the last 100 years, sign up for MyCopyblogger today, and take advantage of months of valuable free marketing education.

Free Registration

About the Author: Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Brian on .

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Sorry, BuzzFeed: Pinterest Isn’t A Better Search Engine Than Google

I went on a BuzzFeed diet about a month ago, where I stopped following the site and reading the content there. I should have stuck to it, because I wouldn’t be wasting my time now dissecting one of its stupid, pageview-baiting stories. In this one, Pinterest is positioned as a better search…



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Read This, And Tell Me StumbleUpon Isn’t An Amazing Marketing Tool

Some things don’t change. StumbleUpon, after all these years, can still be a great driver of traffic to your website, despite how little it has changed in comparison to other social services. Think about how much Facebook has changed over the years, or even Twitter. StumbleUpon is certainly a different kind of beast, but each of these products is used by people to consume information, and even if StumbleUpon’s primary appeal isn’t necessarily the social element, that element is there, and it has helped make StumbleUpon one powerful force for content producers.

We had an interesting conversation with social media consultant Brent Csutoras from Kairay Media, who has been talking about the power of StumbleUpon for quite some time. We’ve chatted with him a number of times about the subject over the years. You can find some of our other interviews here.

Csutoras tells WebProNews that marketing on StumbleUpon hasn’t really changed much over the years. “They have made a number of changes that changed the way we prepare our campaigns, but essentially the approach is the same today as it was years ago,” he says.

“StumbleUpon’s algorithm uses a tree network system blended with quality scores for the account, the domain, and the content, which determines how visible any specific article can become,” says Csutoras. “So submitting quality content with the right categories (ones that are StumbleUpon made and not your personal guesses), along with sharing your content with key individuals in your network, is still the basic strategy to marketing within StumbleUpon.”

“We have seen an improvement in using StumbleUpon Ads to boost your content’s natural traction, but it relies on the content being high quality and targeted for the StumbleUpon audience,” he notes.

Late last year, StumbleUpon launched a big redesign (complete with a logo redesign), seemingly making the site itself more of a destination for users, but Csutoras downplays the importance of StumbleUpon.com.

“We had a number of discussions with StumbleUpon about the redesign,” he tells us. “What we learned was the percentage of StumbleUpon users that actually participated through the website was very small, so the redesign really had little to no negative impact to our marketing efforts. Remember that StumbleUpon is essentially a social tool bar and is not focused on being a web portal.”

There’s certainly a great deal of truth to that, as StumbleUpon is all about the content from around the web. It only makes sense that users use it most while they’re elsewhere on the web. The very nature of StumbleUpon, obviously drives you throughout the web at large. This is why it’s such a powerful driver of traffic.

StumbleUpon does not get the media attention of some other services, like Pinterest, for example, yet content producers are clearly getting tons of traffic from users thirsty for more compelling content, whether that be something funny, interesting, or just plain cool.

“I think that StumbleUpon has always been below the radar when it comes to media attention,” says Csutoras. “That might be attributed to the fact that it has stayed true to its core offering and not tried to copy other social sites, so there are fewer drastic changes or features to discuss.”

“StumbleUpon has launched the StumbleThru feature, Channels, added search to the site, opened up the categories to create your own, and many other features, but they just do not get the media coverage.”

These are the kinds of features that seem like they could do nothing but help content get in front of the right people. Speaking as a user, the search feature (the “Explore Box“), for example, has driven me to countless pieces of content related to whatever topic I happen to be interested in at that moment, eagerly awaiting a thumbs up and/or a share. I have to assume it’s had a similar impact on many other users.

Explore Box

The StumbleThru feature and channels serve no other purpose, but to serve up more of your site’s content to users (granted, channels aren’t just available to everyone).

StumbleUpon can drive a great deal of traffic to a page relatively quickly, but perhaps its real appeal for content providers is the long term effect it can have.

“You have to remember that the way StumbleUpon’s system works, when your content gets traction, it will get waves of traffic for years to come,” says Csutoras. “For instance, if one of your articles gets a 15,000 visitor spike, you will see that the trail off on that traffic never really goes away. This is because as your content gets popular in StumbleUpon, it queues up for the people who have subscribed to the category applied to your content. Users are only shown the content one time each, but some users may not be that active or their queue is really full.”

“Fast forward a few months when there might be another 10,000 people who have signed up for that category,” he adds. “As those inactive users log in over time and vote up your content, it will again start to gain traction again and potentially go popular showing to all those active members who have signed up since the last time it was popular. So you might see another 7,000 visitor spike months later.”

“This cycle has the potential to repeat for all your content forever,” Csutoras says. “In addition, if enough people tag the content with another category, it can cross over and become visible to a whole different segment of people. This is the beauty of StumbleUpon and why people who have been using it regularly love it.”

“Lastly, StumbleUpon has done a great job over the last year in defining associated categories, allowing more people who might likely appreciate your content see it, even if they are not subscribed to the exact match category.”

Suffice it to say, despite the lack of media attention StumbleUpon gets, compared to its peers, it is still highly relevant to anyone creating interesting content that wants people to view it.

Just remember (and I think it goes without saying, but just in case I’m wrong), the content has to be good. Otherwise don’t bother trying.


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PPC Isn’t Just For Ecommerce: Holiday Trends For the Rest of Us

This time of year, the search marketing blogs and PPC social groups are overrun with holiday tips and tricks.

Much of the hullabaloo is focused on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the marathon leading up to Christmas. There’s nothing wrong wi…
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23 Reasons Your Blog Isn’t Making Any Money (And What To Do About It!)

image of broke man

Sure, you want comments.

And subscribers, and shares, and likes.

But you don’t really care about any of these things. You want what they will eventually lead to …

Money.

Yes, traffic is good, and so is reader engagement. But if you’re reading this, chances are you’re running a blog with the intention of marketing a business and making some money.

Now, that could be a bit distressing, because most bloggers are broke.

Some bloggers don’t have traffic or reader engagement, and some bloggers have lots of both. But most bloggers aren’t making any money.

Here’s why …

The chain of conversion is everything

We tend to think of conversion as a single event, but it’s really more like a chain of events.

If you market a business online, several conversions need to take place:

  • A stranger has to convert into a lead by being exposed to your message for the first time (in the online world, we call this traffic)
  • A lead has to convert into a prospect by liking what you have to say (this is often done by opting in to your email subscriber list)
  • A prospect has to convert into a customer by buying something from you
  • A customer has to convert into a repeat customer by turning a single purchase into an ongoing buying relationship

This entire process is called the chain of conversion.

Does that sound like a tall order?

It should, because it is — for your blog to make money, you need not one, but many people to smoothly move through this entire process.

And if your blog is like most, then that probably isn’t happening.

Let’s explore all the reasons why that might be, and what you can do to fix it.

Problem #1: You’re a billboard in the desert

The most common problem that bloggers face is that strangers aren’t converting into leads.

In other words, there’s no traffic.

And if there’s no traffic, then it doesn’t matter how well-optimized the rest of your funnel is, because nobody is feeding through it.

So the first order of business is to get traffic flowing to your site. Here are some of the reasons why that might not be happening, and how you can fix it:

  1. Build it and they will come. Yes, content is king, but without an army of marketers, the king can get pretty lonely! The truth is that while epic content is critical, it won’t go viral all by itself without an existing audience to start the ball rolling by seeing and sharing. If you don’t have traffic, you have to go and get the word out about your content.
  2. You just tweet to your followers. If you’re Guy Kawasaki, then your marketing can consist of tweeting to your followers, and calling it a day. But for the rest of us (who don’t have 400,000 followers), you’ve got to get out there and promote. Build relationships with other bloggers, write guest posts, put viral campaigns together, and apply any other strategy for blog growth that you can think of — just get out there and do something!
  3. Marketing in the wrong place. We love to fall for the promises of magic strategies that will get us tons of traffic — the kind that showcase the success that somebody else had. The problem is that you aren’t going after their audience, and your audience may not hang out where theirs does. If you’re marketing in the wrong place, then your audience will never find you! Of course, to market in the right place, you have to know who your audience is …
  4. No clearly defined audience. Obviously, you can’t market to your audience if you don’t know who your audience is. It isn’t enough for you to have a general idea that you’re marketing to “bloggers” or “writers” or “stay at home moms” — you’ve got to get way more specific, to the point that you’ve created a profile of the ONE person that you’re targeting.
  5. Asking for the wrong action. If they haven’t heard of you, then don’t start by asking them to buy — it isn’t likely to happen. Remember that your goal with each piece of messaging is to get the audience to take the single next action. When you’re talking to strangers, the goal is for them to become leads (visit your site) and then prospects (opt in to your list). So don’t even mention whatever it is that you’ve got for sale.
  6. You don’t hook their interest. Yes, I’m talking about headlines. For your blog posts, for your ads, and for the teaser links to your content. They all need to hook your audience’s interest. And you happen to be reading the world’s best blog about copywriting. So go read all about headlines!

Problem #2: Selling ice to Inuits

The second problem is that you get traffic, but they all bounce — no subscribers, no customers, and you’re on a constant treadmill to generate more traffic.

In other words, leads aren’t converting into prospects.

Here’s why that might be happening, and what you can do about it:

  1. It’s all about you. Yes, that’s right — all of your posts are about your news, your products, your company. And you wonder why nobody signs up for more? Forget about your subject area, and think about your customers. What are their problems? What matters to them? That’s what you need to be writing about.
  2. Your content is “me too” content. If you’re just writing generic, bland content of the “6 tips everyone already knows about productivity” variety, or (gasp!) going so far as to actually spin articles, then the truth is that there’s no reason for people to come back to your site, because you haven’t impressed them yet. So pull out the stops and write some truly compelling content!
  3. You don’t draw them in. You get them to start reading your stuff, but their attention wanders, and pretty soon they’re gone forever. You need to draw them in and keep them going, section to section, until they reach the action that you want them to: subscribing!
  4. You don’t make it explicit. Yes, that’s right. If you want your visitors to opt in to your mailing list, then you have to say so, in so many words: “Sign up for my list to get all sorts of goodies. Do it now. Click here.” Put those words, or words like them, near your opt-in box, and make sure to include a call to action in your posts, too.
  5. You don’t optimize. No matter how good you are, and how well you’ve done everything else, there’s always room for improvement — and improvement is had by split-testing, split-testing, and then split-testing some more.

Problem #3: “Just the free sample, thanks”

Sometimes you’ve got traffic, and you’ve got subscribers — but you still aren’t making any money.

In chain of conversion terminology, prospects aren’t converting into customers.

This might not sound so bad (“at least they have the traffic and subscribers”), but without the money, you’re just sinking more and more work into what might be a dead-end project.

The good news is that when you’ve got an audience, you can usually find a way to make some money — let’s explore why they might not be buying, and what we can do to fix it:

  1. You’re selling what they need instead of what they want. As an expert in your field, you know exactly what the customer’s problem is. I don’t mean the symptoms, or the issue that they want to fix right now — I mean the real problem that lies deep down at the root of it all. The trouble is that they don’t know that, and so they aren’t looking for that solution. Start by selling what they want, and then you can deliver what they need along with it.
  2. It’s in the wrong format. Maybe they love what you’re offering, but they just don’t like the format. I mean, really, how many more e-books can someone buy? Try a different format — like audio, video, a virtual conference, live workshops, infographics — or something else entirely.
  3. The price isn’t right. Maybe your product is great, but the price doesn’t fit. You could be asking for way too much money, or you could be asking for way too little. Remember that not only does the price have to fit with the buyer’s budget, but it also has to communicate the right thing about how valuable your offering really is. So test different prices, and find the price that works best.
  4. You don’t ask for the sale. Yes, this comes back to being explicit. Don’t just have an “Add to Cart” link on your site — you’ve also got to tell people that you want them to buy your stuff. Tell them why they should do it, and what they’re going to get. And tell them when they should do it (right now!), which leads us to the matter of urgency …
  5. There’s no urgency. Why buy today when I can buy tomorrow, right? You need to give your audience a reason to take action now. Make sure the constraint is real — maybe you’re raising the price after a certain date. Maybe the first 50 people to sign up get a special bonus. Or maybe you’re closing your program on September 1 (hypothetically speaking, of course …).
  6. No social proof. Nobody wants to be the first one to arrive at a party — you want to know that other people are there, and having a good time. So who’s already bought your product or service? What was their experience like? Were they happy? Were they a lot like the person who is thinking about buying today?
  7. No guarantee. There’s something comforting about a money-back guarantee. It provides a safety net, and shows how much confidence the seller has in whatever is being offered. Most companies offer guarantees, to the point that it looks sketchy if you don’t. So you have to offer a guarantee. But don’t just offer a simple “if you’re not satisfied we’ll give you your money back” guarantee — go over the top. Give them 110% of their money back. Donate $ 100 to charity. Set it up so that it’s not just about satisfaction, but about results (we guarantee that you’ll add $ 1,000 to your bottom line in six months, or your money back).
  8. You don’t optimize (again). Yes, it applies here, too. If you want to make more sales, then there are a lot of things for you to split-test: your headlines, the placement, text and colors of your opt-in boxes, the style of your introduction, your product imagery, your trust seals and their placement on the site … and the list goes on.

Problem #4: Once is (apparently) enough

Okay, if you’ve made it to this point in the chain, then you’re probably doing all right — you’ve got traffic, you’ve got subscribers, and you’re even making sales.

But customers aren’t converting into repeat customers.

Which means that you’re always scrambling to find new customers, and to keep that wheel in motion. Wouldn’t you rather have the wheel sustain itself?

Here’s why your customers may not be buying from you again, and what you can do to change that:

  1. You don’t deliver. This is a HUGE problem; if you promise something, your customers sign up, and then you don’t deliver, then you are doing irreparable damage to your reputation and business. In the words of my marketing professor, “marketing is a promise that the organization has to keep” — and you should never, ever break a promise. This probably doesn’t apply to you, but if it does, stop reading this article, and fix it immediately!
  2. There’s nothing else to sell. This is a more common problem: you’ve worked so hard to build and sell your product, that by the time they’ve bought it, there’s nothing left to sell. This is worth taking the time to fix; think about what else they might benefit from — an easy add-on is some consulting to help them get the most out of what they’ve already bought. Remember that a customer who’s already spent money with you is 8 times more likely to buy from you again, and you’ve already spent the time and money to convert them the first time!
  3. You don’t communicate. This is sad to see, but easy to fix; you’ve got happy customers and more great stuff to sell to them, but you don’t communicate with them after that first purchase. This is terrible — you should be communicating with your customers on a regular basis, both to collect feedback about their experience, and to keep the lines of communication open so that you can sell to them again. An easy way to do this is to build follow-up directly into your product, for example with automated follow-up emails and surveys.
  4. You don’t ask for the sale (again). Yes, you’ve got to ask for the repeat sale, too — periodically reach out to your existing customers to see if there’s more that you can do for them, and have a specific offer ready if they do have a need.

Fixing your blog, one link at a time

Every blog has holes in its chain of conversion — and most have lots of them!

So where should you start making repairs?

The answer depends on whether you’ve already got a functioning funnel:

If you’ve already got traffic, opt-ins, and customers: Start at the end, and work your way backwards. First get more customers to buy again, then get more subscribers to buy from you, then get more website visitors to subscribe, and only then get more people to visit your website.

If you don’t have any of that stuff: Then start at the beginning — start by getting traffic to your site, and once you have traffic, work on getting them to opt-in, and then buy from you, and then buy from you again.

Now, a question: how long are you willing to wait before your blog starts delivering dollars to your bank account?

Having realistic expectations is important. If you try to run a marathon as though it were a sprint, you’ll end up exhausted on the side of the road. And if you try to run a sprint as though it were a marathon, you’ll finish dead last.

So what kind of race do you want your blog to be running?

If you’re willing for it to take 2-3 years to get your blog to where you want it to be, then a good strategy is to read business books for bloggers, along with the best blogs in the industry.

But if you want to see results sooner, then get some help. For example, you could click the link in my bio and read about our marketing training program, that just happens to be closing to the public on September 1. ;)

About the Author: Danny Iny is an author, strategist, serial entrepreneur, and proud co-founder of Firepole Marketing, the program that teaches non-marketers to fix their chain of conversion like expert marketers. Get his free video course on how to get more money out of your business, website or blog, or follow him on Twitter @DannyIny.

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