Software-as-a-service startups have become a staple of the new cloud-based economy. There are an estimated 10,000 private SaaS companies, and 50 publicly traded giants with a total market cap of over $225 billion.
10 Largest SaaS Companies
And what do these companies have in common? They leveraged what is usually referred to as SaaS marketing.
But what’s SaaS marketing it? What do you need to measure to succeed and what channels perform better than others to sell your SaaS product?
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Let’s try to answer these (and more questions) with this blog post. Ready? Let’s dive in! sell subscription-based products to new customers.
You can think of SaaS marketing as the art of making sure that your SaaS product is relevant and able to address your target customer’s needs in a way that makes prospects want to know more about your product, try it, and eventually subscribe to, over the multitude of competitors.
We’ll see later how SaaS companies get their customers, but first let’s clear an important aspect when it comes to SaaS marketing: terminology.
Like any specific category of marketing, even with SaaS marketing, there are some technical terms you should get more familiar with like CAC, LTV, Churn, and NPS to better understand the concept behind this type of marketing.
SaaS Marketing Terminology Explained
There are a couple of terms that are mostly used when discussing SaaS marketing. We’ve compiled a list of them here, and explained each one.
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
Simply put, the customer acquisition cost is the dollar amount it costs you to gain a new paying customer on any given marketing channel. For example, if you spend $1,000 dollars on Google ads, and get 10 paying customers, your CAC is $100.
Formula: All expenses on marketing channel / Number of paying customers it results in.
With organic channels like content marketing, organic search, or organic social it can be complicated to accurately measure CAC.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV, CLTV or LTV)
Customer lifetime value is basically how much a single paying customer is worth to your business on average. If you only sell one subscription at one price for $30/month, and your customer stays on for an average of 6 months, your CLV is $180.
If you have multiple subscription prices, the calculation becomes a little bit more complicated.
Formula: Average Subscription Price * Average Customer Lifetime (Length of Subscription) / Number of Customers.
The CLV:CAC ratio is simply the ratio of which the customer lifetime value is greater than your customer acquisition cost. If it costs you 60$ to generate a customer, and each customer is worth on average $180, your CLV:CAC ratio is 3.
Formula: CAC / CLTV
Customer Churn Rate
Customer churn rate is the percentage of paying customers that cancel their subscription during any period of time. For example, a weekly churn rate will be vastly different from a quarterly churn rate.
To calculate your churn rate, you simply decide on a set period of time and calculate the percentage of total users who left. If 100 out of 10,000 customers left in a month, your monthly churn rate is 1%.
If you want to calculate churn separately from growth, you need to exclude newly acquired customers from the totals when you calculate.
Formula: Users That Left in X Period / Total Existing Users X 100
Net Promoter Score
The Net Promoter survey is a widely adopted survey that many startups and SaaS businesses use to gauge how likely a user is to promote their product.
It is a simple one-question survey that asks the customer to rate how likely they are to recommend your product.
Net Promoter Score (Image source: Getfeedback.com)
Any customer that leaves a score of 9 or 10 is considered a promoter. Users like these are likely to share positive information about your product or service.
Any customer that leaves a score of 1-6 is considered a detractor. A detractor is someone likely to share negative information about your company.
Anyone who chooses a 7 or 8 is considered neutral. These customers are okay with your product but are unlikely to share information about your service, negative or positive.
Calculating Your Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Let’s look at an example. You prompt 100 customers with the survey and all 100 customers answer the survey. 15 customers, answer from 1-6, 30 people answer from 7-8, and 55 people respond 9-10.
These results mean you have 55 promoters that you add, 15 detractors that you subtract, and have 30 neutral, that you don’t count.
55-15 = 40, which means the NPS, in this case, is 40.
Formula: %Promoters – %Detractors
Customer onboarding refers to the process of getting users who signed up for a free trial to start using your service and eventually become a paying customer. The more someone is using your service, the more likely they become a paying customer when the trial ends.
And the more a paying customer relies on your product, the more likely they will stay a paying customer for the foreseeable future.
Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)
Monthly recurring revenue is simply the total amount of fees paid by your total number of paying customers each month. Make sure you don’t include flat sums for annual/quarterly subscriptions during that month. You should also make sure to exclude any one-time payments.
How to Define Metrics in SaaS Marketing
When you are marketing a SaaS product as opposed to a one-time sale, you are investing in the future of every customer relationship. That is the difference between SaaS marketing and consumer product marketing.
The potential revenue typically means that you use customer lifetime value, rather than the value of first interaction when you are calculating marketing ROI. These metrics help you when budgeting for channels to spend on.
For a typical ecommerce store, it would be enough to have ecommerce conversions that track the value of each sale.
Then all you need to do is check the campaign breakdown in Google Analytics to see how your campaigns are faring.
Google Analytics Dashboard
But with a SaaS business, there are a few more hoops to jump through. If you use a freemium strategy, you need to know the trial user to paying customer conversion rate. And you need to know the average customer lifetime value.
Then you need to set up different conversion points for free trials and actual paying customer signups.
How To Measure/Project Marketing Spend Effectiveness for SaaS Companies
If your average customer value is $180, and 20% convert to paying customers, on average, a new trial user is worth $36.
Formula: Average Customer Lifetime Value X * 0.% of trial users that convert to customers = Average value of trial user signup.
Based on the example here, you can afford to invest up to $35.99 for each trial user to convince them of becoming a paying customer and still turn a profit. So at that point, you can set up a Google conversion goal for trial users with a value of $36.
Google Analytics Goals setup
This metric will allow you some insight into whether or not a campaign is likely to be profitable long term, or not.
But that theory doesn’t always play out as CLV and trial user conversion rates can vary from channel to channel.
Measure Channel-Specific Metrics
While it’s essential to have a grasp of the average CLV and trial user conversion rates from all channels, you also need to measure each channel individually.
If you use a CRM like Salesforce, you can automatically tag your customers with the medium or channel they visited from. You can, for example, achieve this with UTM parameters.
You can also create separate landing pages with hidden fields in the signup forms that indicate the channel that sent them.
Why is this important? Because you could end up wasting tens of thousands of dollars on channels that don’t convert trial users into paying customers.
Dean McPherson, co-founder of Paperform.co, found this out the hard way. They were running Google Search Ads and were converting clicks into trial users for only $4 each. When they calculated the ROI based on the average rate of trial users to paying customers, it made perfect sense to keep going.
But then he did a channel-specific review and looked at how many of the Google Ads generated trial users had converted.
The answer was shocking. A big fat zero trial users the SaaS gained through paid Google Ads ended up converting.
They immediately turned off their Google Ads campaigns following that discovery.
Paperform turned off AdWords
This SaaS horror story is the perfect example of why you need to measure the CLTV and trial user conversion rates for every individual channel.
Otherwise, you don’t know the real impact each channel has on your bottom line.
The Role Of Free Trials in SaaS Marketing
You can’t talk about SaaS marketing without touching upon the role of the freemium or free trial model.
Almost every major SaaS company offers a free trial of their product.
Salesforce offers free trials
The fact of the matter is that it’s a lot easier to convert cold traffic on a free offer. Any SaaS company that offers a free trial is betting that it’s worth the extra overhead of dud signups. Or, they’ve split-tested and know for sure they make more money with free trials.
The best selling tool/argument for a growing SaaS needs to be the product itself. That’s why free trials can be so useful.
It’s one thing to hear a sales rep say: “Our product is way better than option A, you will no longer have problems like XYZ if you make the switch.” It’s another thing altogether to use the software and feel the difference yourself.
But that doesn’t mean that free trials have to be the basis of your go-to-market strategy. Other successful SaaS businesses run paid weekly/monthly trials at a discounted rate. Ahrefs, one of the most successful SEO SaaS businesses on the web, offers a one-week trial for $7.
So free trials aren’t necessarily the only business model you can settle on and win with SaaS marketing tactics.
Figuring out what will work best for your business is only possible through experimentation and testing.
Top Channels For SaaS Marketing
The key to a successful SaaS marketing campaign isn’t to copy the channels/platforms and social media posts of your competitors. You have to develop a culture of measurement, ideation, and experimentation. Which channels will work for your business depends on your target market and the skill-set of the founding team.
Below we’ve included a list of channels that are scalable for up and coming startups. We haven’t focused on paid acquisition/SEM because the channels typically aren’t scalable for early-stage SaaS companies.
As an example, at the time of writing, the general keyword “CRM” costs up to $12.72 for a single click. That means you need to generate more than $13 of value from every visit to your landing page.
Google Ads Bids on CRM keywords
For most new businesses, this isn’t feasible. You would need an impossible conversion rate, an outrageous trial to customer ratio, and very high LTV even to try turning a profit. Big tech companies are using their big budgets to buy out smaller competitors.
That’s why you need to think out of the box and target platforms that reward small companies for creativity and originality.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. In essence, the spirit of SEO is to create content tailored to people’s search terms. You also have to optimize your pages and website for SEO to get organic traffic from Google and other search engines.
93% of all online experiences start with a search. As of August 2019, Google maintains a global 92.37% market share on all search traffic. And 57% of B2B marketers single out SEO as their biggest lead generating channel.
If your SaaS is primarily B2B, this means that SEO should likely be the priority to test.
These are the basics of search engine optimization:
Use SEO tools to identify keywords that your potential customers are likely to search for.
Find low competition opportunities among those keywords.
Create pages and articles targeting relevant keywords.
Optimize these pages for both your target audience and search engines like Google and its alternatives.
Build relevant links from high authority websites.
Analyze and keep tabs on what’s working for your site, and what isn’t.
It might sound complicated when summed up like this, but with the right tools, most SaaS companies will learn in no time.
Let’s dive into an example to see just how powerful SEO can be for a SaaS product.
Success Story: Zapier
Zapier has exploded and become the number one integration tool by implementing a simple SEO strategy at scale.
SimilarWeb report on Zapier.com
According to SimilarWeb, zapier.com gets over 5 million visits per month. And the majority of this traffic comes from organic SEO.
SimilarWeb Search report on Zapier.com
More than 56% comes from search, with +10% of branded queries. Even if we remove the branded searches and paid traffic, Zapier gets lots of visits from organic search every month.
And let’s have a look at Zapier.com with another tool we love here at Kinsta, Ahrefs:
Ahrefs report on Zapier.com
Although visits don’t match as different tools use different ways to track and forecast these metrics, you can still see how organic traffic has grown in the past years up to 1M+ monthly visits.
Now, why their strategy is powerful? Because it’s straightforward!
Zapier’s marketing team targets keywords that have to do with integrations that are possible with Zapier. For example, “Slack Trello integration”.
Google SERPs for “slack trello integration”
One by one, the keywords are relatively low volume, but when you target thousands of different ones, it adds up to a lot.
They also create unique landing pages targeting “SaaS tool” + “integration” search terms.
One of the many Zapier LPs
SEO Basics: Keyword Research
The foundation of any good SEO strategy is keyword research. Keyword research is where you figure out which specific words people use when they search for content related to your business.
Though not ideal, to start, you can do basic keyword research with free tools such as the Google Ads keyword planner tool. For example, if you search for “data visualization,” it will display a list of relevant keywords.
Google Keyword Planner
It also includes metrics that can point you in the right direction. The search volume shows you how many people search for the term per month. Competition indicates how many other people are advertising on Google. Finally, top of page bids shows how much a company is willing to pay for the keyword.
High competition and top of page bids are generally an indicator of high commercial intent. Commercial intent means that the searcher has an intention to purchase a solution.
So ideally, you want to target keywords with decent volume and high perceived commercial value. But you have no way of knowing which of these keywords are feasible to rank for in Google.
The competitive metrics in the keyword planner only show how many companies are bidding for each keyword. For further SEO-related insights, you need to use a more advanced keyword research tool.
To learn more about Keyword Research, and advanced keyword research tools like SEMRush, Ahrefs, and the like, read our guide to keyword research.
SEO Basics: On-Page SEO
It’s in the best interest of Google to provide a user with the highest quality result for every search. That way, they ensure that users come back to Google when they are searching for something.
So Google tries to provide high-quality, fresh content from safe, well-organized, and fast-loading websites. That is the essence of on-page SEO.
Google has a tool to help you out: Google Search Console.
Check for errors in Coverage and Sitemaps.
Google Search Console
That covers the absolute basics of making sure that you have no glaring SEO errors on your pages.
Again, third-party tools can come in very useful here. But if we tried to cover all the basics of on-page SEO, it would become a post of its own.
Luckily, we’ve already covered a 45-step checklist for WordPress SEO that helped us grow our organic traffic by 517%.
On average, customers engage with 11.4 pieces of content before converting. And 70% of customers prefer getting to know a company via articles over ads.
Content marketing is an approach where you focus on creating and distributing high-quality content through a variety of channels. We’re huge fans of it here at Kinsta and we’ve been implementing it since our early days.
Content marketing works best when you develop a strategy that includes multiple formats:
By building a reliable resource for your target audience, you can build a following. Each content piece can be the start of a relationship with prospects and potential customers.
To succeed with content marketing, you need a strategy for distributing your content, and a voice that your target audience will relate to. Make sure to check out our in-depth guide on Content Marketing.
The Kinsta blog
This article and our very own Kinsta Blog is an example of a SaaS company investing in content marketing. We focus on providing high-quality content that is immediately useful to our target market.
As the most important acquisition channel, we rely heavily on SEO, and the writing process for each new article always starts with keyword research.
For the promotion aspect, we focus on building our email list, to which we send our weekly newsletter, and social media accounts to distribute our content.
Content Marketing Strategy
Difference between content strategy and content marketing
Many people confuse content strategy with content marketing. As Moz explains:
Content strategy concerns itself with the vision—the ins and outs of how and why your content will be created, managed, and eventually archived or updated
Content marketing focuses on the tactics and execution—the actual creation, curation, and editing of content that’s specifically created for the purposes of marketing.
The general strategy will include target audience, distribution, positioning, tone, and more.
For example, let’s imagine that your target audience is senior developers in their mid-40s. You might consider distribution channels like Stack Overflow, development-focused niche Facebook groups, and SEO. You could position yourself as a “fellow expert,” tackling complex topics that interest them and using jargon and developer memes.
All of this will change if you are targeting junior salespeople in their 20s or stay-at-home moms.
Content Marketing Tactics
Then there are the specific tactics of exactly which content you should produce. The majority of marketers deal mostly with blogging, visual content (infographics, etc.), and videos.
Commonly used types of content (Image source: Social Media Examiner)
Which medium you should choose for your business depends on your target audience, and your available talent/budget.
Even if high-quality explainer videos are the preference for your ideal customers, it just might not be within your budget.
Other tactical decisions include where and how to promote your content, and how to segment and diversify.
It’s cheaper to communicate with and build relationships with people who are already interested in your product than converting strangers. That’s why email marketing can record ROI as high $42 per dollar spent. That’s utterly unheard of for paid acquisition of any kind.
As a result, 59% of B2B marketers single out email marketing as their most effective channel.
The essence of email marketing is to:
Create a landing page or signup form to collect leads with a “lead magnet” or newsletter.
Develop a strategy to drive traffic to this landing page or signup form.
Write and send emails that help build trust and position you as an expert in the eyes of your subscribers.
Advanced: Send automated, personalized emails based on user interaction with your site.
The great thing about email is that it’s the most effective channel for lead generation, but it’s not too complicated or difficult to get started.
You can use a simple approach like a weekly newsletter or an automated email drip campaign to convert leads to customers.
Once you’ve built an audience, you can tap into marketing automation tools to segment your list and send automated personalized emails.
It Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated: Newsletters Still Work
Landing page of the Kinsta Newsletter
Email marketing has great synergy with other marketing channels. It helps you stay in touch with people who visit your site from Google or social media, who aren’t ready to buy. But don’t think you have to write a 20-piece long email series on a topic.
Newsletters still work.
By providing genuine value up-front, and over time, we build a relationship with blog readers. Every subscriber gets our detailed ebook on how to speed up their WordPress site.
Since they are interested in WordPress tips and speeding up their site, we already know they are in our target market. By subscribing, they self-identified as WordPress site owners who care about performance.
As a result, we treat every potential customer with respect and try to offer value first instead of bombarding them with automated sales emails.
If you want further proof that newsletters still work, take a look at The Hustle, a tech-focused email newsletter that recently broke 1 million subscribers.
Autoresponders or automation tools are cloud-based SaaS apps that help you automate your emails to your customers and prospects. Imagine if every time someone signed up for your newsletter, you had to send them their welcome ebook manually.
That would eat up hundreds of working hours every year. Not exactly an effective use of your time.
That’s where autoresponders come in.
For example, whenever anyone signs up for our newsletter, the form automatically sends the data to the autoresponder. Then within seconds, they receive a welcome email like this.
Kinsta Autoresponder Message
You can use autoresponders to send automatic emails in response to different user behavior on your site.
Perhaps the most important one is automatically following up on people who left halfway through the checkout process.
If you want to learn how to master autoresponders, read our guide on how to use Mailchimp to get started.
Email List Segmentation
If you use email list segmentation, your automated emails will be personalized and relevant. This way, your potential customers see messages that matter to them at that moment. This approach will get you 26% higher open rates than mass emailing.
You can easily create separate lists for subscribers that have visited your blog in the last week, or who have signed up for a free trial. You can further create specific lists for different categories of paid users, keeping them out of all promotional mailings that would be irrelevant to them.
Email Segmentation Example
The above is an example of what such a flow might look like on paper.
Through a varied approach of organic posts and paid ads, many SaaS companies are seeing success through marketing on social media platforms.
With social media marketing, you use a mix of organic posting and paid ads to build a following on one of the following social media platforms:
There are more than 3.48 billion social media users in the world. That makes social media one of the most scalable channels.
Also, there are no inherent platform costs with getting started. You can set up a business Instagram page today for an investment of zero dollars.
That’s what makes social media marketing one of the first things new SaaS companies experiment with.
But it takes time, effort, and investment to succeed.
Squarespace Instagram account
Squarespace, a website builder SaaS, has over 201,000 followers on Instagram (further reading: Squarespace vs WordPress).
They have managed to get there through a combination of ads, influencer marketing, and non-stop, high-quality output.
In their latest campaign, they partnered with photographers and featured a few beautiful shots, before showcasing the photographer’s website. A website made with Squarespace, of course.
Squarespace Instagram Campaign
It’s not enough to just post what’s on your mind and hope to attract an audience.
Learn from Successful Competitors
The biggest “cheat code” when it comes to social media marketing is to dive under the hood of what successful competitors are doing.
If you are already aware of such direct competitors, you’re in luck. Just head to their social media pages and analyze the content.
Try to answer the following questions:
Which post types have the most engagements?
Which tone of voice seems to resonate the most?
How are they positioning themselves?
As a social media strategy is often included as part of a broader content marketing strategy and deserves its own post, we’re not going to cover it in detail here.
But if you want to dive in and learn the specifics of SMM, you can refer to this guide from Hubspot.
Influencer Marketing (Focus On Micro-Influencers)
To be seen on social media, it’s not enough to create a page and post some images. Organic reach from company pages dropped 52% in 2016 alone and has steadily declined ever since.
You need to reach an audience. That’s where influencer marketing comes in.
Influencer marketing is a concept where you reach out to influencers and enlist them to promote your products. Typically, companies run influencer campaigns where they identify relevant influencers and pay them to feature a particular product.
How much a single placement costs depends on the size of their following, and how engaged their audience is. A single Instagram post from Selena Gomez will set you back millions of dollars.
That’s not a viable strategy for most up and coming SaaS companies. The audience of big influencers is too broad, so you end up paying for a lot of uninterested eyeballs.
Micro-influencers are the most effective way to do this on a tight budget. Engagement rates for micro-influencer campaigns are 60% higher than for traditional ones.
So forget The Rocks, Christiano Ronaldos, and Ariana Grandes of the world. Focus on small bloggers, developers who run local development groups or meetups, etc.
Micro influencer brand impact
Here’s a quick example: Wix sponsors Andy J. Pizza, a Podcaster with 13.8k followers on Twitch. Simply because the listeners identify so strongly with the host, some of them end up choosing Wix
These are the sort of bonds smaller influencers can have with their audience.
To find your influencers, you can either try your best at searching using the platform’s search function or use a third-party tool. One influencer tool you can use for free is Buzzsumo’s Twitter Influencer search.
BuzzSumo Twitter Search
Let’s say your main goal is to run an Instagram campaign. Just add a filter for that in your search by selecting “Has Instagram Profile.”
This filter only Twitter users that are also active on Instagram:
Buzzsumo Activity Filter
When you search, use a phrase that relates to your target market. It doesn’t need to be an exact match keyword, it can be a related concept or even a product.
For example, if your SaaS is a data visualization plugin that integrates with Google Analytics, you can search for the phrase “Google Analytics”.
Buzzsumo Twitter Influencers sorted by Reply Ratio
Once you have the results, you’d want to sort them by “Reply ratio” to see who’s more likely to respond to your outreach email or DM.
Popular Influencer Marketing Tools
The following is a list of popular influencer marketing tools you can use to both find influencers and measure their effectiveness.
Niching Down Before Targeting the Mass Market
As a technology company, it might be in your best interest to niche down and specialize your product to serve a particular vertical. With a specialized service, you set your product apart from horizontal SaaS competitors and gain a marketing and sales edge.
Instead of a disadvantage, it can make it easier to get a foothold in a certain industry and grow through endorsements and word of mouth.
Once you’ve established yourself in one small market, you can use the credibility and cash flow to drive marketing efforts targeting bigger markets.
You can read the book “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey Moore to explore this approach further.
Kinsta has been able to thrive as a company by focusing on the “narrow niche” of managed WordPress hosting. Salesforce, now the top CRM in the world, initially focused all of its energy on salespeople.
Your company might also face better odds if you become the big fish in a smaller pond.
Always Track Conversions and Measure ROI
There can’t be any successful business if you don’t know what’s working and what is not. SaaS companies are no exception to this.
That’s why you should set up conversion tracking right from the beginning to see which channels perform better. If you have no idea, maybe because you just started, make a judgment call on which channels to target with your available budget and resources and move from there.
Make sure that long-term organic strategies like SEO or Content Marketing get a longer time-frame than micro-influencer marketing or paid acquisition.
As long as you keep track of the costs required and revenue generated by each channel, you can calculate your ROI. Google Analytics’ default acquisition report can help you stay on top of the early results.
Google Analytics Channel Breakdown
If you’re running any micro-influencer campaigns, you can also measure the results by creating custom landing pages or by using UTM parameters.
While CAC is a staple metric for SaaS, organic acquisition channels make things more complicated. For content marketing, you need to consider things like writer and designer wages, time spent by marketing manager on strategy, and other overhead costs.
If you are focusing on SEO, you also have to consider that the lifetime value of each article will probably far exceed any customers generated in the first few months.
Grow and Convert offer a ready-to-use spreadsheet model to help you calculate this.
Model to calculate CAC from Content Marketing
If you have a handle on all the required data, and you can calculate the CAC for each channel, you will know where you should focus.
This guide is far from being exhaustive as the world of SaaS is pretty complex. What it does, though, it’s helping you move your first steps towards understanding the foundations, highlighting the importance of finding the right acquisition channels, and which key metrics to measure.
You don’t need the budget of Salesforce to kickstart the growth of your SaaS (and Kinsta is living proof of this). You need to have the right product, find the right channels, and the right message (your market positioning).
Overall, SaaS marketing is not that different from traditional marketing. This means, if you’ve discovered a tangible need/pain point in a single niche for your SaaS product, you’re off to a great start already. Why? Because marketing a product that isn’t solving any “real” issues, is simply the hardest thing to pull off.
The post 7 Key Principles of SaaS Marketing (With Formulas, Examples, and Tools) appeared first on Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.
Fashion blogs are in vogue and now is a good time to start your own. You just need to know how to start one.
With a little know-how and some elbow grease, you can start your own fashion blog on WordPress and even make money through it.
So, here’s how to do it!
Migrate today for free
carefully choose the name you pick: it represents your blog.
Here are the characteristics that make for a great domain name:
It’s relatively short in length.
It’s effortless to remember.
When someone hears it, it’s straightforward to know how to spell it.
Sometimes you may not get the exact name of your blog, but a close variation is typically still a perfectly suitable option.
You can choose a domain name that is misspelled on purpose or that’s a made-up word. Sometimes, it can work. Just be sure you carefully consider the pros and cons of a name with these characteristics.
While it works for Reddit and Pinterest, it may not be right for your fashion blog. The reason being that both of the aforementioned sites are strictly online.
If you followed in their footsteps and plan on doing in-person appearances at fashion week in the future or you want to be a guest on podcasts and even do TV show appearances, it helps to have a memorable domain name where its spelling will be obvious.
That way, people can actually get to your blog after only hearing about it.
After you have decided on a domain name, you can buy it from a domain registrar.
Check out How Much Does a Domain Name Cost? 4 Key Factors Influencing What You Should Expect to Pay more for details.
A domain name is your site’s address and represents your blog.
Picking Reliable WordPress Hosting
Hosting is where your blog is stored so it can be accessed and there are various plans you can choose between from a variety of hosting providers.
If you want to know how to start a fashion blog, it all begins with choosing a hosting plan and setting up your blog on it.
Picking the right plan is essential. If you pick one that doesn’t have enough resources and your blog goes viral, your site can be shut down until you upgrade your plan or you may end up paying a small fortune in overage fees.
On the other hand, if you get a plan that’s too robust for your needs, you’ll overpay for resources you don’t even need.
If you don’t opt for managed hosting, you could also be stuck with maintaining your blog and hosting environment on your own. Sometimes, it can seem like a full-time job in and of itself, especially if something goes awry.
The bottom line is, if you want to know how to start a fashion blog, especially if you want to turn it into a business, you need to get the right hosting plan.
Otherwise, it’s like being stuck with a pair of pants that don’t fit from three seasons ago when you’re about to meet Ralph Lauren.
You don’t want to take any chances in either case.
Why Free Blogging Platforms Aren’t Ideal
It can be tempting to get free hosting so you can learn how to start a fashion blog for free, but there are a few reasons why that isn’t a good idea, especially if you plan on making money from your blog.
For starters, free hosting providers display ads on your blog in order to cover costs. This may not seem like a problem until you consider that visitors could click away from your blog and not return to it again.
In some cases, the ads could be associated with your brand and not in a good way.
Free hosting also comes at the price of not having full control over your blog since plans often have restricted features and capabilities so they’re financially viable.
That means you’ll be limited when it comes to how much you can customize your site’s design, layout, functionality, and other similar elements.
While it may be okay starting out, once your blog grows, free hosting just won’t cut it.
So, if you plan on growing quickly, self-hosting your fashion blog is the best option.
How to Pick a Reliable Host
You need a reliable host that has great customer support and that can also deal with traffic surges to ensure you are on the right footing. It’s a part of the technical aspects you need to know how to start a fashion blog.
With stable hosting and great support, you can rest easy knowing any issues that may arise happen rarely and are quickly solved.
A reliable host is not only stable, but runs fast and is secure as well.
If you need help with your blog, managed hosting is a great option since so many crucial aspects of managing your blog are taken care of for you such as security and updates.
For example, a host like Kinsta has all of these qualities.
Kinsta has reliable, stable, and fast managed hosting.
Choosing a Good WordPress Theme
When it comes to knowing how to start a fashion blog, it’s essential to pick a solid theme. That means a well-coded WordPress theme to help your fashion blog load faster. But, you also need one that’s eye-catching.
Get a theme that has both and you’ll create an improved user experience. This helps visitors stay on your blog since over 46% of people judged the credibility of a site based on its design such as in its layout, font size, typography, and color schemes.
You can find WordPress themes that are free and look great, but premium themes tend to look more professional and stunning. They also tend to have more options for quick customizations as well as support.
Whether you choose a free or premium WordPress theme, be sure it looks visually striking and inviting.
Choosing and Setting up Plugins and Tools
Next up on the to-do list for learning how to start a fashion blog is to create a WordPress site and add any plugins and tools you need to it.
Here are common types of plugins to include:
Other types you may need such as affiliate marketing, lead generation, membership, and advertising
Many of these types of plugins are necessary to ensure your blog runs and is maintained smoothly, while others such as photo gallery plugins are entirely optional.
It’s also a good idea to use plugins that will enhance the performance of your blog to help your site rank well in search engine results so people can find your blog.
Using caching as well as speed and image optimization plugins can help your blog load faster which is a great way to help users stay interested in your blog.
According to Pingdom:
“From the above graph, we can see that the average bounce rate for pages loading within 2 seconds is 9%. As soon as the page load time surpasses 3 seconds, the bounce rate soars, to 38% by the time it hits 5 seconds.”
While speed optimization plugins can vastly improve the performance of your site, it’s also necessary to ensure your host is fast as well. That way, you’re covered on both fronts.
If finding a hosting provider is still on your “how to start a fashion blog” to-do list, consider looking for hosts that are already optimized for speed.
For example, by hosting your site with Kinsta, your site will automatically be up to 200% faster.
It may also be worth noting that some hosting providers may ban certain WordPress plugins due to security or incompatibility issues. Be sure to check with your host for any plugins that have been known to cause issues.
For details, check out A Beginner’s Guide to Website Speed Optimization, How to Properly Run a Website Speed Test (You’re Doing it Wrong), and How to Speed up Your WordPress Site (Ultimate 2019 Guide).
Picking a Niche
There may be a lot of fashion blogs out there, but there isn’t one that has your unique point of view. Narrowing down your niche can help you stand out among the crowd.
If you do some research, you can see what other fashion blogs are doing. Then, when you’re familiar with what the competition is doing, you can think about how your fashion blog will be different and pick a niche.
It’s also valuable to decide what your writing style will be like since that can help further your brand and set you apart from the competition.
Whatever you choose, be sure your content is authentic and relatable. This will help draw people in and keep them engaged.
Content Strategy for Your Fashion Blog
A content strategy is essentially a plan of what you want to do with your blog’s content, then developing, managing, and marketing it.
A good content strategy includes:
Competitor research and analysis
A chosen niche
Once you have analyzed all these areas, you can plan the type of content you will publish on your blog for maximum engagement and conversion of visitors to customers.
For details, check out 5 Things More Important for Your Content Than Content-Length in 2019, How to Create Evergreen Content That Lasts (17 Tips and Tricks), and Visual Content Strategy: How to Use Visuals to Get More Traffic.
Create a Blogging Schedule
Now you’re really starting to get somewhere with figuring out how to start a fashion blog of your own. Once you have a content strategy and you’re starting to come up with blog post ideas, you need to set up a publishing schedule.
To do this, you need to decide how often you’re going to publish blog posts.
Researching other fashion blogs and taking a look at how often they publish articles can help you decide how frequently you should publish posts.
Ideally, you should aim to push content out as frequently or recurring more than your competitors.
Blogging frequency (Image source: Hubspot.com)
The higher your publishing frequency, the higher your traffic. According to Hubspot, blogs that posted 11 or more articles per month saw two times more traffic than blogs that published only one to two posts a month.
When you publish articles more frequently than your competitors, search engines take notice and designate your blog as active and relevant. This places your posts higher in search engine results so they can be seen by more people.
To help you schedule posts quickly and efficiently, you can use an editorial plugin like Editorial Calendar or PublishPress.
Creating a publishing schedule will help you post articles frequently.
Content Marketing and SEO
Before you’re ready to start writing blog posts, it’s a good idea to get familiar with content marketing and SEO.
Content marketing entails writing engaging articles that are informative and help promote a brand naturally, and without sounding salesy.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about improving and optimizing your site and its content so it can rank higher in search engine results.
This helps direct more traffic to your blog without you having to pay for advertising.
Here are several resources with more detail:
Content Marketing Essentials
How To Be A Solo Content Marketing Ninja With WordPress
What Is Inbound Marketing? (And Why It Works So Well)
WordPress SEO Checklist – 45 Tips to Increase Traffic by 571% in 13 Months
How to Use Yoast SEO on WordPress: Complete Tutorial
How to Diagnose Decline in Rankings (Craziest SEO Issue We’ve Seen)
One of the ways you can implement SEO on your fashion blog is to do some keyword research.
In the SEO space, keywords refer to terms that are most frequently searched for in Google and other search engines. When you pick a popular keyword and add it to an article several times, it tells Google (and other search engines) that this is the topic of your blog post.
This helps Google know that when someone searches for that keyword, your site should be listed in the results.
Adding keywords to your content is useful because it helps more people find your articles and blog.
There are three types of keywords:
Short-tail – A keyword that’s only one word and is typically difficult to rank with them since they are used so often by many different sites
Medium-tail – Keywords that are about two to three words in length
Long-tail – Several words or a phrase that may contain articles such as “at, a, to, or,” and others
Long-tail keywords are typically the best ones to go for since they’re specific, more descriptive and tend to be less popular so not everyone is writing content around it. But, it’s also popular enough that hundreds of people or more are searching for it regularly.
If you really want to know how to start a fashion blog that’s successful, content marketing and SEO should be a key area of focus.
You can check out A Step-By-Step Guide to Keyword Research (Bonus: Best Keyword Research Tools Compared) for details.
Writing Blog Posts with SEO and Users in Mind
After you have picked keywords to include in your content, be sure to write them in naturally. Otherwise, search engines will assume your content is just spam.
The core of writing for SEO is ensuring your blog post answers the questions users have when they search for your topic and chosen keyword.
This is absolutely essential because it will help you rank well, and it will also help you be seen as trustworthy and reliable to readers.
How to Make Money from Your Fashion Blog
When you want to know how to start a fashion blog, a big part of it is the technical details, but just as important is knowing how you’re planning on making money from your blog.
Here are several ideas:
Affiliate marketing – Linking to products in online stores where the link is tracked so you get credit and a commission for each person you refer who places a purchase through your link.
Selling digital products
Ebooks – You could write a book to boost your credibility or plan to turn your blog posts into an ebook in the future, then sell and promote them on your blog.
Online courses – Teach various skills related to fashion that could range from how to style outfits properly and practical fashion guides to how fashionistas can land jobs or start careers in the fashion industry.
Other digital products – You could also sell practical items such as downloadable clothing patterns.
Membership site – Set up a paywall so users have to sign up to view premium, exclusive content like how to design and create your own clothes and clothing line, for example.
Digital magazine or look book – You can keep your users up-to-date with the latest fashion trends and sell ad space for extra revenue.
Ads – Display ads directly on your blog to share in the revenue they bring.
Offer a service
Fashion consultant – You can let clients book consults directly on your site and meet over a free video chat app like Skype or a premium option for an enhanced, professional feel.
Events and event tickets – If you want to venture away from your computer and engage with your fans in person, you can plan events and conferences and sell tickets to them on your blog. You can even use webinar tools to create digital events if you prefer to stay at home.
For more ideas, check out 4 Proven Website Ideas for Your Online Side-Hustle, Why Your Business Should Be Based on the Recurring Revenue Model, and 11 WordPress Membership Plugins to Capture Recurring Revenue.
Social Media Marketing
Once you get started with your fashion blog and you’re becoming comfortable with your knowledge on how to start a fashion blog, you can do some social media marketing to help your blog get traffic by networking and posting relevant content on social media platforms.
For more ideas, check out: 6 Ways to Leverage Facebook for Marketing Success, 8 Ways To Leverage LinkedIn for Marketing Success, Twitter Marketing Strategies to Beef up Your Social Game, and Pinterest Marketing Tips and Strategies for WordPress Users.
Creating a Social Media Calendar
A social media calendar is a document or spreadsheet where you have your social media posts planned out.
This includes the date and time you want to schedule each post, the content you want to publish including text, links and images as well as the social media sites where the posts will be published.
Social media calendars are useful because they keep you organized and to help you regularly post content so your blog is more visible to people. The more people see your posts, the more likely there are to visit your blog.
This also helps boost brand awareness.
Social media calendars should be created with varying types of posts to keep readers on their toes and engaged in your content.
If you publish only one type of post, it can get really boring, real fast and people will skip past your posts automatically at a certain point. That’s why you shouldn’t only post when you publish a blog article.
Here are different types of social media posts you can plan:
Informational articles such as user guides, and practical tips
Recently published articles with some details that will pique people’s curiosity
Promoting other people’s articles that are relevant to your blog
Inspirational quotes or phrases
Funny posts such as jokes and anecdotes
Striking images, especially accompanying other types of social media posts
Your daily life and routine
Daily fashion picks and styles you love
Ask questions to your fans
Be sure to also join the conversation and reply to comments and tweets. You can also find relevant conversations and add your two cents.
As long as you’re adding to the conversation instead of squashing it or spamming, you can increase engagement on your posts. The reciprocity also leads to an increase in brand awareness.
While the sheer number of social media sites out there can seem overwhelming, you don’t have to join them all. Find the platforms where your potential fans are and stick to those ones.
As a general rule of thumb, if you want your target audience to be between 18 and 35, then ComScore’s survey results show you should focus your attention on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
The most valuable social media platforms for millennials.
Networking and Further Promoting Your Blog
What’s the final step in learning how to start a fashion blog? It’s networking. It can help you by spreading the word about your blog.
Here are ways you can leverage networking as well as other promotional ideas:
Write articles and submit them to fashion magazines and blogs.
Join blogging and business groups and wait for opportunities. You may come across podcasters that need guests or maybe your favorite fashion icon is visiting your area and you can request a meeting or an interview with them. You can also get inspiration for your own marketing campaigns.
Seek out fashion events and conferences for chances to spread the word about your blog. You can also offer coverage of these events in your blog since writing about trendy, current events helps elevate your chances of being noticed.
Consider planning a marketing campaign as well.
These are plans that include multiple marketing strategies where you make a schedule of content, ads and other promotional items over a prolonged period of time. They’re focused on a specific message that resonates with your brand and audience.
When done right, marketing campaigns can boost positive brand awareness and increase engagement as well as conversion rates. It can also lead to more sales.
For details, check out The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Campaigns, Use These 5 Steps to Create a Marketing Plan, and 13 Ways To Create An Effective Marketing Campaign On A Tight Budget.
If you have wanted to blog about fashion, it’s easier to start now than it ever was in the past.
To start your own fashion blog, you’d need to:
Pick a domain name and a reliable WordPress hosting
Choose a WordPress theme
Set up plugins and tools
Pick a niche
Go all-in with a solid Content Strategy (editorial calendar, SEO, social media) covering all the areas and channels where your prospects hang out and engage with them
Now, it’s your turn: do you plan to start a fashion blog? Have you ever launched a new blog? Share your experience in the comments!
The post How to Start a Fashion Blog in 2020 appeared first on Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.
Entrepreneurs are always looking for ways to cut costs. That’s understandable. After all, cash is the lifeblood of any business, and once you run out of it, you’re done.
However, it’s one thing to be frugal and manage your budget wisely, and it’s another thing to be a cheapskate and refuse to spend money even when it makes sense. In fact, quite often when people think that they are saving money they are actually being penny wise and pound foolish, and are hurting their businesses.
No matter how many times you multiply a zero, the grand total of all multiplications will always be zero. If success came at no cost, everybody would be a millionaire, right?
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The reality is that sometimes you have to spend money to make money. But what exactly should you invest in to grow your online business? Let’s take a look.
Choose the Right Technology Stack
Stand Out From the Crowd with Unique Design
Spend on the Right Tools and Software
Invest in Inbound Marketing for the Long-Term
Use Outbound Marketing to Supplement Inbound
You Get What You Pay For
What is the Trade-Off?
Choose the Right Technology Stack
Hosting has become extremely affordable, almost to the point of it being silly. You can get it for a few dollars per month. So why would you want to spend more than that?
It’s important to understand that hosting quality affects the performance of your website, the two most important metrics being speed and uptime.
Website loading speed might not seem like an important issue. A few seconds here or a few seconds there can’t make much of a difference, right? Wrong.
In fact, Google found that 53% of mobile visits are abandoned if the page takes more than 3 seconds to load. Meanwhile, the majority of mobile landing pages they analyzed take twice as long to load.
Our research has been eye-opening. For 70% of the mobile landing pages we analyzed, it took more than five seconds for the visual content above the fold to display on the screen, and it took more than seven seconds to fully load all visual content above and below the fold. – Google Researchers
Mobile page speed (Image source: Google)
Moreover, according to Akamai research, a 100-millisecond delay in website load time can hurt conversion rates by 7%. To put that into perspective, a single blink of an eye lasts between 100 and 400 milliseconds.
It can be hard to grasp the importance of website loading speed because it doesn’t really make sense from a rational perspective. Surely, people can’t be in such a hurry that one second (or even less than that) would make them abandon the site? But the data is clear — speed matters.
And hosting is a major factor when it comes to website loading speed. In order to make your website lightning fast you need a host that uses the latest technologies such as Nginx, PHP 7, MariaDB and LXD software containers. You can’t fully optimize your website for speed without a hosting architecture that is conducive to that.
Another important thing to consider is uptime. It’s the amount of time during which a server stays in operation. Put it simply, if the uptime is 99% that means that you can expect your website to stay online 99% of the time.
As Jennifer Kyrnin from Lifewire demonstrates, even seemingly tiny differences in uptime add up to a significant amount of time:
98% uptime = 28.8 minutes/day or 3.4 hours/week or 14.4 hours/month or 7.3 days/year
99% uptime = 14.4 minutes/day or 1.7 hours/week or 7.2 hours/month or 3.65 days/year
99.5% uptime = 7.2 minutes/day or 0.84 hours/week or 3.6 hours/month or 1.83 days/year
99.9% uptime = 1.44 minutes/day or 0.17 hours/week or 0.72 hours/month or 8.8 hours/year
If your website brings in $1000 per month, then a host with 98% uptime could lower your profits by $20 every month or as much as $240 per year. And that’s just in lost sales. If your customers or search engines start thinking your site is unreliable, they’ll stop coming back, and that $1000 per month will start dropping. – Jennifer
In other words, downtime is terrible for business. And what is the most important factor when it comes to downtime? Hosting.
What people often don’t realize is that companies that offer cheap hosting can do so because they provide shared hosting. That means that your website might be sharing resources with 200+ other websites. That’s a precarious situation to be in because you have no control over what’s happening with the other sites. A problem with one of them might impact the performance of your website.
Finally, cheap hosting companies simply can’t afford to hire enough technical support people, which means that if something goes wrong, it might take them a while to solve the problem.
So if you pay $10 per month for hosting, but what you get is a slower website loading speed, more downtime, and less reliable support, are you really saving money?
Or are you losing money because of the suboptimal performance of your website?
Investing in premium managed WordPress hosting will help you to optimize your website for speed, minimize downtime, and get reliable support if you run into any problems. Plus, you won’t have to worry about other problems like security breaches, DDOS or XML-RPC attacks, or having to back up your site. Kinsta even offers free hack fixes if your WordPress site is compromised.
Stand Out From the Crowd with Unique Design
There are thousands upon thousands of free WordPress themes out there.
However, while they might work well for hobbyists, free themes are not ideal for businesses for three reasons:
They usually aren’t optimized for speed. Redundant code, unnecessary page elements, outsized image files… All these things can slow your website down significantly. And you already know that even a tiny loading time delay can hurt your bottom line.
They are not optimized for conversions. The purpose of your website is to sell your products, and every page on it should be designed with the aim of nudging the visitor towards the next step in the sales funnel.
Most of the time, they aren’t unique. You don’t want your website to look like a carbon copy of other sites in the same space. Its design should be consistent with your brand and help you stand out among the competition.
Moreover, free themes are often not tested thoroughly enough before the release, which means that they might have bugs, not work well on all browsers, not work well on all devices, etc.
Also, you can’t expect to get instant support with a free theme, which means that you’ll have to figure everything out yourself. Do you really want to spend hours on WordPress forums trying to fix some minor issue?
That is why it’s better to get a premium WordPress theme that is fast, optimized for conversions, and customizable enough to make it truly yours, that also comes with reliable support.
Here are some WordPress themes we recommend checking out.
GeneratePress is a fast, lightweight (less than 1MB zipped), mobile responsive WordPress theme built with speed, SEO and usability in mind. Built by Tom Usborne, a developer from Canada. It is actively updated and well supported. Even a few Kinsta team members use GeneratePress for their projects.
While there is a free version available, you’ll want to invest in the premium version to take advantage of all the customization features.
One of the great things about GeneratePress is that all the options use the native WordPress Customizer, meaning you can see every change you make instantly before pressing the publish button. This also means you don’t have to learn a new theme control panel.
The OceanWP theme is lightweight and highly extendable, and enables you to create almost any type of website such a blog, portfolio, business website and WooCommerce storefront with a beautiful & professional design. Built by Nicolas Lecocq, it is also actively updated and well supported.
Astra is a fast, fully customizable & beautiful theme suitable for blogs, personal portfolios, business websites, and WooCommerce storefronts. It is very lightweight (less than 50 KB on frontend) and offers unparalleled speed. Built by the team at Brainstorm Force, it is actively updated and well supported. You might recognize them as the creators of the popular All In One Schema Rich Snippets plugin which has been around for many years.
Astra WordPress theme
However, if you can afford it, then you might want to consider hiring a web designer or developer on a site like Codeable and getting a custom design that is tailored for your business.
Hire WordPress designer/developer
Finding the right person who understands your vision and has the skills to bring it to life can be a bit tricky.
Look for someone who has done work for similar businesses in the past (say, if you have an online store, search for a designer who has worked with ecommerce companies before, etc.).
Also, make sure that they understand how design intersects with business and can explain how they are going to use design to help you make more sales (in other words, they should have a solid knowledge of conversion rate optimization).
At first, investing in design might seem somewhat frivolous, but nothing could be further from the truth.
After all, the design of your website directly affects the behavior of your visitors, and making your website more visually pleasing and easier to use can have a drastic impact on your bottom line.
When we launched the new Kinsta website in 2017, we worked with a talented outside agency. Fast forward a couple of years, and those individuals are now part of the Kinsta team. We definitely had to invest more (both in terms of money and time), but it was well worth it in the end.
Spend on the Right Tools and Software
You can find a free app for pretty much anything.
However, it’s important to understand that “free” almost always means that the people behind it can’t spend much time, energy, and money on updates, development and support, which leads to a subpar product when compared to the premium options. Developers and software creators have families to feed, just like the rest of us.
Here are some premium products we recommend you take a look at:
Basecamp is a team communication and project management app that helps you to stay on top of things when working with a remote team. No more chaos!
Ahrefs is an all-in-one suite of SEO tools that helps you research keywords, build links, conduct site audits, and more. We use this tool at Kinsta and it easily pays for itself. In fact, this tool is one of the reasons we were able to grow our website traffic by 571% in just 13 months.
MailChimp is an email marketing app with which you can build your email list, send out blasts, set up an autoresponder sequence, and more. We use MailChimp every week at Kinsta to publish our newsletter.
MailChimp email marketing
Buffer is a social media marketing automation software that helps you grow your social media following on auto-pilot through scheduling updates and managing all of your accounts in one place. Everything you see from the marketing team at Kinsta goes through our Buffer account!
Buffer social media tool
Yes, you can find free alternatives to all of them, but free apps won’t be as powerful as the premium ones. Moreover, trying to do the same things with free apps, or, even worse, manually, might turn out to be extremely time-consuming.
Investing in premium software can save you time, make you more effective at your day-to-day tasks, and help you grow your business faster.
Don’t hesitate to do it if you can afford it. Make sure to also check out the 20+ other SaaS apps we use to Kinsta to grow our business.
Invest in Inbound Marketing for the Long-Term
Inbound marketing is all about pulling people in through content.
Things like SEO, content marketing, email marketing, etc. are all inbound methods because you are pulling the potential customer in.
However, now that companies all over the world are using it as their primary marketing strategy, it has become extremely competitive due to the sheer amount of high-quality content out there.
Inbound global methodology (Image source: HubSpot)
This means that you need to consistently produce top-notch content if you want to build a blog, a podcast, or a Youtube channel.
You have two options:
Do it yourself. This can work well if you already have the skills required to excel at your chosen medium. For example, if you have previous experience writing for online publications, then you should be able to write quality articles for your own blog. However, even if you know what you are doing, producing quality content takes a lot of time.
Hire people. This is what you should do if you don’t have the required skills. For example, if the last time you wrote something more substantial than an email was your SAT essay, then you might want to consider hiring a writer for your blog.
Of course, in theory, you could learn the skills you need from scratch, but in practice, this would be extremely time-consuming and therefore not feasible for people who already have a lot of responsibilities.
It is important to understand that content is never free. You are either paying for it with time or you are paying for it with money. The former makes sense when you are strapped for cash, but the latter might be a better option if you can afford it.
Also, even if you want to produce the content yourself, don’t be afraid to invest in making it better.
For example, Noah Kagan, the founder of AppSumo, has a podcast called “Noah Kagan Presents”.
“After releasing a couple episodes of my show, I realized I needed outside help to make my podcast GREAT… I decided to ask an expert to ‘coach’ me on how to make a good podcast.
So he reached out to an NPR producer Nick Fountain who then agreed to give him some feedback.
Take a look at some of the observations that Nick made about “My BIGGEST Rich Asshole Moment” episode of Noah’s podcast:
Podcast content (Image source: OkDork)
Noah says that he didn’t realize how much help he needed until he saw those comments.
Bottom-line: The lessons I learned DRAMATICALLY increased the quality of my podcast.
Getting that kind of help from an experienced professional can significantly improve the quality of your content.
Use Outbound Marketing to Supplement Inbound
Outbound marketing is about reaching out to people. It is true that old-fashioned methods like billboard, newspaper, magazine, radio and TV ads are losing their effectiveness.
Struggling with downtime and WordPress problems? Kinsta is the hosting solution designed to save you time! Check out our features
However, modern methods like Facebook ads, Instagram shoutouts, and podcast ads can work well.
But aren’t ads considered inbound marketing? Yes, and no. Marketers will argue both sides of whether or not things like PPC is an inbound or outbound strategy. Typically outbound means it is trying to interrupt your daily workflow and catch your attention. Which is what ads do. However, ads can also pull people in using your awesome content. So regardless of the strategy definition, the important thing here is to supplement inbound with outbound.
For example, Laura Roeder, the founder of MeetEdgar, used Facebook ads to get her startup off the ground.
In her interview on Indie Hackers podcast, Laura said that while she was a huge fan of content marketing, she knew that it takes time to get results with it, which is why she chose to focus on ads when they launched, spending as much as $40,000 per month on Facebook ads.
I think people are scared of spending money, but I would rather spend more on ads in the beginning, because later, I can have the bulk of my customers coming from search. – Laura
Meanwhile, the flower delivery startup Bloom & Wild had success with Instagram ads.
They had a limited budget, so they used their email list to create a lookalike audience, and then showed their ads to the people similar to their email subscribers.
Then, after some testing, they realized that video ads were most effective, and decided to double down on them. The result? Their bouquet orders increased by 62%.
And MeUndies, a company that sells “the world’s most comfortable underwear”, used podcast ads to get the word out.
They advertised their products on some of the most popular podcasts in the world including “The Tim Ferriss Show” and “Joe Rogan Experience”.
Advertising is the most straightforward way to get sales because you put your product right in front of potential customers.
So don’t be afraid to pay money for ads if you can figure out how to run them profitably.
You Get What You Pay For
There’s the underlying economic reality that you need to consider.
A low-end product will almost always be inferior to a high-end product. Why? It’s because the company that makes the high-end product can put more resources into it.
For example, as our CFO explained in his article about the web hosting industry, a company that offers $10/month hosting needs 1389 customers to hire one system administrator.
But how can one system administrator, the type that can fix any crazy hosting problem that arises, handle nearly 1,400 customers’ technical issues? The answer is they can’t. – Tom
He then encourages people to set their expectations accordingly.
They should expect their site to go down from time to time (since at $10/mo, you’re most likely sharing a server with way too many others) and expect that it won’t be resolved all that quickly. It’s just how the numbers work out. – Tom
The same applies to everything else. Someone who releases a free WordPress theme or a free app is most likely doing it as a hobby. Or the only reason they have the free version is to upsell to the premium one. They probably have a job to pay the bills. This places severe restrictions on the amount of time, energy, and money they can spend on their product. They probably can’t compete with a company that has a team of people working on similar software full-time.
Now, this is not to say that you should never use free or low-end products. They might work perfectly fine for personal projects. There are also a lot of great open source projects out there.
However, when it comes to business, it’s best to be wary of such “bargains”, because they are likely not cheap at all once you account for everything (lost productivity, lost sales, slower growth, etc.).
Keep in mind that you get what you pay for.
What is the Trade-Off?
Obviously, in the ideal world, you’d have unlimited money to invest in your business and would get the best of everything. However, that is not the world we live in, and you don’t have unlimited money to invest in your business.
And that is why it’s important to understand trade-offs when considering where to spend and where to cut costs. For example, a cheap hosting will cost you less, but will lead to slower loading speed, less uptime, and delays in fixing problems, which in turn will lead to lost sales. Is the money you would save worth it?
Or, a free app will cost you nothing, but due to its limits completing the same task might take 5 hours more, which means that you will have 5 hours less available for other work. Is the money you would save worth it?
Or, you could write that blog post yourself, but it will take you 10 hours to do it, which again means that you will have 10 hours less available for other tasks. Is the money you would save worth it?
Ultimately, these tradeoffs boil down to one of two things:
Time vs. Money. You can spend time and save money, or you can spend money and save time. Which resource is in shorter supply at the moment?
Short term gain vs. Long term gain. You can save money now but lose money in the long run or you can spend money now and save money in the long run. Which is more important?
There are no right and wrong answers to these questions. It all depends on your particular situation. Only you know what is right for your business.
For example, if you are running out of money, then you should prioritize short term gain to keep your business afloat even if it hurts you in the long run. Meanwhile, if your financial situation is stable, then you should prioritize long term gain even if it stings a little bit in the short term.
However, whatever you do, remember that each decision has both positive and negative consequences, and you should weigh them carefully. Thinking in terms of trade-offs can help you gain some clarity, because it’s easy to get so carried away with cutting costs wherever possible that you lose sight of the big picture.
Nobody is saying that you should spend money that you don’t have.
However, you need to be willing to invest in your business if you want it to grow, otherwise, it will be next to impossible to take it to the next level. Or it might take you a lot longer than you’d like.
So never let the impulse to save a few dollars today get in the way of the long term success of your business. Don’t be afraid to spend money to make money.
We would love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Leave them below in the comments.
The post You Need to Spend Money to Make Money (Here’s Why) appeared first on Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.
Your domain is your digital street address. Even if you throw a fresh coat of design on it, get the wrong address in the spammy part of the neighborhood, and you could be losing customers before they ever see your website.
Get the right one, however, and your address opens the door for visitors to come in and stay a while. It instills a sense of professionalism and polish that starts at the address bar.
And with almost 2 billion websites in circulation, the competition for the perfect domain name is fiercer than ever. So how do you pick out the perfect name for your website? We’ve got eight tried-and-true tips for making sure your domain name is perfect for your goals.
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Here’s what we’re going to cover today:
What’s in a Domain Name?
Choose the Easiest to Remember Combination
Make Your Address Mobile-Friendly
Add Keywords (When It Makes Sense)
Go for Brandable Domain Names
Clear the Legal Field Before Registering
Select the Right Extension
Tools for Finding Domain Names
Acquire Existing or Expired Domain to Jump Ahead
Without further ado, let’s talk about what a domain name actually is and why a rose by any other name isn’t quite as sweet.
What’s in a Domain Name?
When we refer to a domain name, we’re referring specifically to the part between the “https” and extension (“.com”). I.e., our domain name is “Kinsta.” Here’s a visual layout to parse a domain name:
Domain name (BrandYourself)
Now, let’s take a brief interlude into history to answer the Shakespearean question: what’s in a domain name?
In the (very) beginning of the internet, domain names weren’t initially used. Instead, users associated IP addresses with specific websites and typed in a string of numbers like 192.168.0.1.
This, obviously, became pretty impossible to manage once the internet started to grow.
Words, far easier to remember than that number string, came into circulation as a new method for reaching websites. And so domain names were born.
Keeping with our address analogy, your domain name is the address of your website, but the IP address — which the Domain Network System communicates with — is the GPS coordinates.
Both can take you to the same place, but one is much more effective at being found by humans. Take, for instance, this address: www.dogs.com.
PetSmart different domain name
If you clicked on it, you were probably pretty surprised to find PetSmart load. (And maybe a little envious.)
A strong domain name like the above example helps people find your website without any intervention. No complicated number strings or search engines necessary.
Unfortunately, you’re not likely to get much traction with this approach in the modern age with almost 332.4 million registered domains. Dogs.com was registered back in 1998. And what’s even more frustrating is that one-third of .com domains are unused.
But just because you can’t get one-word steals like the above doesn’t mean you can’t come up with a great domain name. Here are the eight strategies we’ve seen work.
1. Choose the Easiest to Remember Combination
Domain names came to be because humans have limits on their memory. While you can skip digging into the neuroscience, you should keep these limits in mind when choosing your domain name.
Specifically, the more stress you put on working memory, the more humans struggle to complete tasks. There’s a “buffer” limitation on the information the working-memory can retain.
Working-memory buffer (Image source: Nielson Norman Group)
And while this seems like a pretty common sense limit, it’s not as clear-cut as it sounds. How “items” fall in human memory depends on the items themselves and whether they associate with any other memory systems.
Which means that, although a website address like “www.catsdogs.com” is significantly longer than “www.animalia.com,” it’s probably going to be easier to remember for most people.
Why? Because “cats” and “dogs” make up two items, while “animalia” will require most people to remember three distinct items:
The word “animal.”
The letter “i.”
The letter “a.”
Obviously, this example falls apart if someone has a background in biology, but it illustrates the point I mean to make.
What’s easy to remember isn’t always about concision, as recognition can trump concision. The more recognizable the elements of your domain name are, the easier — and therefore more usable — your address becomes.
As a rule of thumb, try to keep the elements involved limited to no more than seven.
Miller’s Law (Image source: Prototypr)
Often referred to as “Miller’s magical number,” a multitude of studies conducted over the last few decades have found that the limits to short-term memory “chunks” (elements) is seven, plus or minus two.
(Note that working memory and short-term memory are, technically, separate entities, but for our context — and much of psychology — they’re safe to use interchangeably.)
But, given the “buffer” deterioration people experience when made to remember more items, if you can pare it down further than seven, that’s even better.
Especially for our next strategy.
2. Make Your Address Mobile-Friendly
Mobile devices drive 51.89% of internet traffic as of the second quarter of 2018.
Mobile website traffic (Image source: Statista)
Interestingly, that number has declined from its height in Q3 2017, but the fact remains:
At least half of the people using your domain address are going to be using a mobile device to get there.
Which means you need to think about all the autocorrect-victims of the world and make your domain as memorable and concise as you can for them.
Examples of easy, mobile-friendly domain names that come to mind are Google and Bing, respectively. They’re short, simple, and everyone knows how to spell them.
Far less mobile-friendly examples include Martha Stewart’s website and the infamous Comic-Con’s homepage.
Although both of these domain names hit the mark for memorable, they lose points for being an easy typo, and in Comic-Con’s case, requiring users to switch between their digital keyboards to type.
Hyphen mobile domain name (Image source: GadgetHacks)
So, when you’re picking your domain name, try it out on your mobile phone first. How easy is it to type? If you’re an expert-level phone typer, have someone a little less savvy try it out on your phone.
(This is bare bones usability testing on your domain name, and a good idea before registering any name.)
Now, let’s change gears a little bit and talk SEO.
3. Add Keywords (When It Makes Sense)
Keywords in domain names are a lot like powdered sugar on waffles.
A nice bonus, but not a necessity. If you can, and it makes sense to use a keyword, you should. On average, 63% of top-performing domains have keywords in their URL.
Keywords in domain names (HigherVisibility)
But, if you can’t work a keyword in, they provide a very minimal boost to your SEO, if at all, and should be carefully weighed when you’re considering reworking your strategy to include them.
Rand Fishkin, founder of SEO giant Moz (and now leader of Sparktoro), had this to say about keyword rich domain names:
They don’t carry the weight that they used to and have negative associations (with users and search engines) that you should avoid.
So, powdered sugar. Good to add in moderation, but unnecessary, and if abused, likely to end up with disappointing results at your next website physical.
As a note of interest, however, anyone looking to open a website in the gambling or gaming industry — specifically the Fortnite niche — will want to move fast. According to Verisign, these keywords are going like hotcakes in Q2 2018.
Trending keywords in domain names (Image source: Verisign)
Otherwise, stick to what makes sense, and prioritize memorable, typable, and brandable (that’s our next tip) well above keywords.
4. Go for Brandable Domain Names
No domain name strategy list would be complete without talking about the importance of branding.
77% of customers make purchases based on the brand attached to the product. What’s even crazier is that 90% of those decisions are thought to be made subconsciously based on brand associations with positive feelings.
Examples of highly-branded domain names include Amazon, IBM, and Tesla.
Unfortunately, choosing a brandable domain name isn’t quite cut and dry as our other tips, but a good test is to say it out loud and see if it sounds like a brand. For example:
Does not: salmonroe.com
Does not: doreimefasolatido.com
But if you’re struggling, there are marketplaces for this, albeit at a pretty penny. Brandpa is one such marketplace. Its lowest ticket item will run you $1,000.
On the plus side, you get a logo with your purchase. Something users form an impression on within the first ten seconds of viewing. (And therefore, an impression of your brand.)
On the other hand, that price tag isn’t slim for a new website. For a slightly more cost-effective solution, you can check out BrandDo, whose marketplace offers more triple-digit entries.
So, we’ve covered the importance of memorability, mobile-friendliness, keywords, and brand-readiness for your domain name, but there’s one more factor to consider — ideally before you register.
5. Clear the Legal Field Before Registering
You’ve registered your domain name…but lo and behold, a few weeks later you receive a cease and desist letter from the law offices of someone who makes five times as much money as you every thirty seconds.
It’s not a pretty picture, but it’s not an uncommon one, either. Making sure your potential domain name isn’t trademarked is an absolute must if you want to avoid getting caught in unwanted litigation.
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to check. For websites that will operate in the US, you can check for trademark status by searching the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s website.
United States Patent and Trademark Office
That said, it’s a good idea to check a secondary source, as well. Navigating the USPTO system isn’t as straightforward as alternative sources like Trademarks411 or WIPO.
And when it comes to legal bases, it never hurts to cover them twice, right? Especially when “faith” can be a deciding factor in domain name case law, as Bloomberg discovered.
Other things to keep in mind when considering trademarks is consumer confusion. If your domain name could reasonably be confused with another domain it competes with then you could have a losing arbitration on your hands.
What about a website all about WordPress? Here is what the WordPress team has to say about it:
For various reasons related to our WordPress trademark, we ask if you’re going to start a site about WordPress or related to it that you not use “WordPress” in the domain name. Try using “wp” instead, or another variation. We’re not lawyers, but very good ones tell us we have to do this to preserve our trademark. Also, many users have told us they find it confusing.
Simply put, don’t take the risk.
Additionally, if your website will operate outside of the US, now or in the future, you’ll want to get familiar and check trademarks in those respective countries, as well.
This brings us to our last strategy for choosing your domain name: figuring out what ends it.
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6. Select the Right Extension
The great .com is still the king for domain extensions, for both SEO and memorability.
But there are a lot more domain extensions than there used to be, and if used strategically you shouldn’t have any problems.
They’ve got pretty explosive growth, actually. New, “non-traditional” extensions grew by 145% from 2016 to 2017.
Domain extensions growth (Image source: The Domain Name Association)
So while .com claims the crown, for now, trends are changing in the extension world. And that’s good news for a new website.
Because the new domain suffixes — the .xyz, .tech, .nyc, etc. — are by far more affordable than the traditional top-level domains.
Price range domain extensions (Image source: Name Ninja)
And affordability is a factor that, unless you’re a monster conglomeration, has to be balanced against the other elements.
If you can snag a .com for a decent price — it’s possible — you should go for it, as long as it meets all of the other requirements outlined here.
If not, you’re better off going with a new domain extension. Given the trend, the acceptability of it will only increase with time, similar to domestic wines.
Wondering where to register your new domain name? Check out places like Name.com, Google Domains, NameCheap, and eNom.
Ultimately, the litmus test for an extension will depend on how closely your domain name adheres to the other factors outlined here like brandable, memorable, and typable.
If it’s not very typable on mobile or memorable, you really can’t afford to skip the .com, but if it is, .co is becoming increasingly popular in the commercial sectors and mid-level websites.
This wraps our strategies for choosing your domain name, though the next one could be considered a bonus strategy. If you’re having trouble coming up with a name, there are a variety of generators out there that can make it easier.
Let’s run through a few now.
7. Tools for Finding Domain Names
Trying to come up with a domain name that meets all of these requirements can definitely be easier said than done. Fortunately, you can put some of the responsibility on a generator if your creative team needs a break.
DomainWheel is a simple and easy to use domain name generator created by the awesome team over at ThemeIsle. Just input a keyword and check out all of the available domains. It even outputs domains that sound like it, rhymes with, and random suggestions.
Offering multiple generators — including SEO-based suggestions, short names, common domains, and new domain extensions, NameMesh is a plug and play tool that takes a word and gives you every possibility you can think of.
Here’s a peep of the results that it generated for “music.”
If you’re in the music tech industry, you may want to snag that domain name ASAP.
Bust a Name
Including an enviable domain name of their own, Bust a Name is comparatively bare-bones in design when put up against NameMesh or DomainWheel, but the results are far faster and very creative.
Bust a Name
You just type in a word, select your extensions, hit the button “Go,” and wait for the results to tab up.
Here’s an example with the search term “audio.”
Bust a Name results
What it lacks in design, it makes up for in clever suggestions and simplicity.
And remember, if you find a domain name that’s great with one of these tools or change your mind, you can always transfer your domain over without losing all of your SEO benefits.
8. Acquire Existing or Expired Domain to Jump Ahead
Last but not least, you might want to think about acquiring an existing domain. Why? Because an existing domain might already have some of the following:
Authority backlinks. Use a tool like Ahrefs to check existing backlinks.
High domain authority (Moz) and domain rating (Ahrefs).
High PageRank. Google still uses PageRank internally.
Existing traffic and brand.
Even a little boost can get you jump started and ranking faster. You can use a tool like Expired Domains or Flippa domains to find these.
However, you should also be very careful when going with this strategy. First off, make sure to check for any existing trademarks.
Second, if the domain is currently being used by an existing brand that you are trying to acquire, make sure to check out its traffic patterns. A constant downwards trend could possibly mean it was hit by a Google penalty at some point. Or it could simply mean that they stopped working on the domain.
Third, check out the domain’s current backlinks with Ahref’s Site Explorer tool. If a lot of the backlinks are from spammy sites this is not a good indicator. It could mean that the domain/website owner at some point paid for backlinks or even had a negative SEO attack against it.
Again, when it comes to acquiring an existing domain, make sure to check all aspects of it. If you don’t know how, there are plenty of great SEO experts in the community you can hire.
How to Choose a Domain Name: Summary
Domain names are your digital street address. They can significantly shape a visitor’s perception of your brand.
Unfortunately, most of the one-hit names like “Dogs.com” were taken up in the early days of the internet. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great domain name for your new website.
Just use these eight tips when you’re creating a new domain:
Make it memorable.
Keep it mobile-typing friendly.
Add keywords… but only if it makes sense.
Go for a brandable domain name — they’re valuable and easier to land than broad terms.
Make sure you don’t step on anyone’s registered trademark in the process.
Choose the appropriate extension. While .com is still at the forefront, the newer — and far cheaper — extensions are becoming more popular by the day, so they may be worth considering, too.
Use a domain name tool generator if you’re stuck racking your brain for a name.
Think about jump-starting the process by acquiring an expired or existing domain.
Finding the perfect domain name is a lot like finding the perfect song. What works best for your business and resonates most with users will inevitably change. But following these eight tips, you’re sure to have a domain name that stands the test of time.
The post How to Choose a Domain Name (8 Tips to Stand Out) appeared first on Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.
Today we’re excited to announce two new premium themes: Small Business and Photo Blog.
Small Business is a new premium theme for your entrepreneurial endeavors. At an introductory price of just $5 (or free with the Premium or Business plans), it’s a worthwhile investment for your business.
We know that running a business is no small task, which is why Small Business includes comprehensive video instructions for its key features so you can get your business’ website online faster.
Small Business was designed with a simple, single-column layout for a consistent reading experience no matter the device or screen size, and uses system fonts to reduce page-load time. We’ve also included a few tailored features just for small businesses, like:
Contact Information: Your customers are busy people – that’s why easy access to essential information like your phone number and address is so important. Small Business displays a banner with your contact information on every page and turns all the information into links, so your customers can call, email, or find you on a map with a click.
Promo Area: Do you have a new product coming out? A seasonal sale? A special event? Whatever it is, you’ll want to put this information right on the front page to make sure your customers see and act on it. Small Business includes a Promo Area area that makes it as easy as flipping a switch!
Style Packs: If Small Business’ bold design doesn’t feel right for you, choose one of the three included Style Packs — Modern Flair, Country Charm, or Classic Elegance — for a different look and feel with the click of a button.
Learn more about how to use all of Small Business’ features with these step-by-step instructions and videos or by checking out the demo — or just try it out on your own site!
Photo Blog is our new premium theme for visual storytellers. It’s available for $36, or comes free with the Premium or Business plans.
Photo Blog comes with many features that help your photographs shine:
Layout: Along with its default square layout, Photo Blog comes with two additional layout options. The Grid layout adds space between your images, while Masonry creates an interlocking grid, which respects your image orientation and pieces them cleanly together.
Featured Images Filter:Photo Blog comes with a variety of image filters you can apply to your Featured Images. Choose from faded Reyes, black-and-white Willow, saturated Lo-fi, or one of the other 23 options.
Style Packs: If you’re searching for a different look for Photo Blog, check out its Style Packs — Modern, Elegant, Retro Photo, or Vintage Paper — to change up your site’s appearance.
You can learn more about Photo Blog by checking out these step-by-step instructions and videos, or visiting the theme’s demo site!
Cities are collections of neighborhoods — and neighborhoods are powered by small business. From coffee shop owners to fitness instructors, therapists to thrift stores, it’s the people we see in the storefronts next door who build and reinforce the unique character of our cities.
At WordPress.com, we want to support local businesses as they grow their own communities (and their revenue!) on the open web. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Rebrand Cities, a project founded by Hajj Flemings to bring small businesses online, in pursuit of an audacious goal: 10,000 new websites for 10,000 small businesses and to tell their stories.
Eighty-one percent of people research a business online before making a purchase — but of the 28 million small businesses that drive the American economy, 46 percent still operate without a website. We want to change that.
Rebrand Cities, a national civic design and brand project, is a multi-disciplinary collaboration with residents, community stakeholders, and local governments to strengthen the fabric — both concrete and virtual — of our cities. We’re starting with Detroit, Miami, Newark, and Philadelphia.
Our collaboration kicked off in Detroit, where we hosted a hackathon to work with local entrepreneurs. You can see the results of that collaboration here:
We’ll be announcing more cities soon. For more information on how your business can participate, go to Rebrand.city.
Upcoming City Info Sessions and Exploratory Events
Automatticians, the people who build WordPress.com, participate in events and projects around the world every day. Periodically, they report back on the exciting things they do when not in front of a computer.
Today I share my experiences meeting and getting to know some of the most active members of the open source community in East Africa during the CMS Africa Summit, held in Kampala, Uganda, earlier this month. I was joined by my colleagues Job Thomas, Konstantin Obenland, Matty Cohen, Deborah Beckett, and Gareth Allison.
CMS Africa Summit, where Automattic was a title sponsor, celebrates not only WordPress but open source software in general. The two-day event featured a jam-packed agenda of workshops, breakout sessions, keynotes, and even a hackathon, all targeting the fast-growing community of developers, business owners, startup founders, and bloggers in East Africa. Speakers from around the continent (and beyond) shared their expertise on building a business based on open source software and contributing to the community, to name just two topics.
My colleagues and I offered workshops on launching an eCommerce site and using Jetpack to expand WordPress’ functionality. Job, Konstantin, and Gareth gave a joint keynote presentation on contributing to the WordPress project, while I offered tips on marketing a business both offline and online, based on my personal experiences running a successful startup for several years.
It was the most fun conference I’ve ever attended. How many tech events have you ever been to that included a giant “cash box,” a tattoo competition, or, inexplicably, an enormous, glowing white orb dotted with the iconic W logo? My favorite part of the entire event was running into a young attendee in the women’s bathroom — she was applying what appeared to be a couple dozen of the temporary WordPress tattoos we’d brought along as swag giveaways. None of us were surprised when we learned that she ultimately won the competition. Clearly, the love for WordPress (and WordPress swag) runs deep here.
What we took away from the event, however, were the astounding energy, drive, talent, and intelligence that we witnessed during those remarkable two days, and the thirst we observed for open source software and what it can do to transform communities. Africa’s technology sector is booming, and we’re excited to have met many of its most passionate and inspiring pioneers.
Blogging is a great way to communicate with your customers and reach new ones. Business owner Phoebe Clare blogs at Sage and Clare, where she documents her exotic trips scouting merchandise for her online home decor store she runs with Jemma Sage. Learn how Phoebe uses her blog to share inspiration for her curated marketplace while generating visits to the Sage and Clare eCommerce website.
Write meaningful content
One of Sage and Clare’s most popular posts was a commentary on a New York Times piece about Loulou Van Damme, a designer with a beautiful home in the hills of India. It spoke to the blog’s design-savvy audience and showcased products similar to the Sage and Clare inventory.
Regardless of your industry, choose topics that offer value or entertainment to your readers. Share how-tos, industry insights, and thoughtful posts. Don’t underestimate the importance of writing an enticing post title that will draw in your reader. On Facebook and Twitter, your post title is front and center, so it’s worth refining.
Optimize your blog post
Did you know other WordPress.com users can discover your content through the WordPress.com Reader? Tagging your blog post with descriptive and on-topic tags will help new readers find your blog.
Phoebe Clare uses categories and a handful of well-chosen tags to organize her posts and help readers find Sage and Clare’s content. Be selective when you assign tags and categories to posts. Five to 15 tags (or a combination of five to 15 tags and categories) is optimum.
Promote your posts
WordPress.com has built-in features designed for easy sharing. Just like Sage and Clare, you can use Publicize to connect your WordPress.com blog to your social media accounts. Next time you press publish, your post will automatically be shared through the Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn accounts you connected.
Dreaming Of Stevie https://t.co/Q625UHW8NZ pic.twitter.com/2kwCoBUZzj
— sageandclare (@sageandclare) November 11, 2015
Make it easy for any visitor to share a link to your post on their social networks, their blog, or through email by adding Sharing buttons to the end of your posts.
BONUS: Help Google find you!
Do you know about the Google Search Console? If your business has a niche, you can tell the Google Search Console to help you position your site to be even more successful in search rankings. We’ll show you how!
Your online presence begins with your website. Make it count by choosing the best of WordPress.com.
Consider upgrading to WordPress.com Premium or Business to unlock features like advanced customization, more space for your photos and videos, and stellar customer support.
Our Premium and Business plans also include a custom domain and access to premium themes.
The new year is a great time to hit refresh and set new goals. If your website looks and feels a little stale, now is the time to make a change! Here are three quick ways to freshen up your personal or business website:
Is your content still accurate? Do you need to update your photos? Are the important links working? Take a step back to think about your site’s purpose and audience. Have your personal or business goals changed since you launched it? Make a list of what needs to be fixed and set a timeline to get it done. Take a look at your most popular posts to know what’s working and target those posts and pages first.
In 2012, three friends — Jeri, Erin, and Allysa — founded a full-service event and styling company, bon évé Events. After refocusing their company’s priorities and goals, they recently relaunched their website. Their rebrand includes a new name (My Simple Soirée), a logo, and WordPress.com website.
Refocusing our business meant an extensive rebrand and rename. This can be challenging for a small business as your brand and name are your lifeline. WordPress.com made it easy to implement the changes we needed for social media first impression.
— My Simple Soirée
Evaluate your website in light of your objectives and make the most of what WordPress.com has to offer, from uploading a new site logo or custom header image to exploring our Premium and Business plans to unlock more space for media, design customization, and eCommerce integration.
Boost Your Brand
Every website can benefit from custom branding, from hobby blogs to eCommerce websites. Create a cohesive brand experience by aligning all the elements that identify and set your website apart: domain name, website name, and logo.
Adding a logo to your website is an achievable first step to branding your site. In your menu, click on Customize to launch your Customizer, and click on Site Title, Tagline, and Logo. Here, you can upload a new image or select one from your Media Library.
Click the Save & Publish button at the top right of the Customizer to activate your new logo.
In a few clicks, you can take your website to the next level with a custom logo. (And if you switch to and from any logo-supported theme, your logo will still be there!)
Textile artist Krista blogs at Looming Jane. She has a custom logo at the top of her website — a stylish cursive display of her brand and shop name. While each theme’s default fonts are carefully selected, you can transform the look of a theme by swapping out the Header Text with your own designs.
Add Fresh Content
The best way to have a vibrant and active website is to publish new content regularly. If you feel stuck, look to Automattician Andrea Badgley, who has developed a great strategy to help you meet your blogging goals this year.
In her post Publish in 10 Minutes Per Day, she shares her secret sauce for blogging regularly. It has two ingredients: carve out 10 minutes per day and keep topics on hand.
Giving yourself meaningful topics to write about and then carving out the time to write will get you not only practicing, but will get you publishing again. It will make your blog active and will bring visitors to your site.
— Andrea Badgley
Committing to a blogging schedule can be a challenge, so a New Year’s resolution is the perfect motivation to kickstart a new routine. Make your resolutions a reality by investing in your WordPress.com website.
Planning on Turning Your Website into a Lean Mean Marketing Machine?
Consider upgrading to WordPress.com Premium or Business to unlock features like advanced customization, more space for your photos and videos, and stellar customer support.
Our Premium and Business plans also include a custom domain and access to premium themes. Try it out for 30 days.
When you create a free website on WordPress.com, your site’s default address will look something like example.wordpress.com. When you’re ready to build your professional presence, buying a custom domain — such as yourgroovydomain.com — is a great next step to personalizing your site and carving out a space for your business online.
You can register a domain in a few clicks, but choosing the right name for your site can be a challenge. Here are a few tips to consider before you settle on a domain name.
Choose a Domain that Represents Your Website
If you’re a professional such as a freelancer, artist, or consultant, your domain should represent who you are or what you do. You can claim your own name as a URL or incorporate your profession in your domain.
Elizabeth Hunter is a fantasy and paranormal romance author. Her domain, elizabethhunterwrites.com, includes her name and hints at what you’ll find on her website.
Your business domain should be consistent with your business name and branding across social media platforms. Take a peek at comedy blog The Annual: they registered theannualonline.com, which is in line with their name, branding, and overall purpose.
Choose an Easy Name to Remember
Your domain name should be easy to say and remember. Domains that are long or difficult to spell might confuse your customers instead of getting them to your website. Puns can be fun, but not at the expense of clarity. If it takes more than seven seconds to explain your domain, it’s probably too confusing.
Visual artist Emily Jeffords blogs at beautifulhelloblog.com, which is both easy to say aloud and read on paper.
Chaitanya Chunduri runs the marketing blog brandednoise.com, a simple and clever combination that’s easy to retain.
Make Sure It’s Available
Don’t panic if the domain you want is already taken! In addition to popular Top Level Domains like .com and .net, WordPress.com offers other extensions, including .org, .co, .me, .biz, and more.
Richard Gendal Brown, a professional in the field of technology and global financial markets, blogs at gendal.me. He snagged a short and relevant URL using the .me extension, which looks both personal and professional.
A fun trend in domains is getting creative with extensions. Well-known sites like deli.cio.us, the social bookmarking site, and bit.ly, the link-shortening tool, make use of unique extensions beyond .com. Our very own staff member Michelle Weber made her extension a part of her photoblog’s full domain name picturesofthin.gs.
If you register the perfect domain name, don’t let it expire accidentally. You can set up annual automatic renewal for your WordPress.com domains. Renewals are processed 30 days before the domain expires, so you’ll get a heads up if there’s a problem with your payment.
Ready to take the next step? Claim your personal web address through WordPress.com. We streamline the registration, mapping, and setup process so your new address is up and running in no time.
Whatever you choose, always be sure to double-check spelling before you confirm registration. Already have a domain registered elsewhere? Find out how to map it to your WordPress.com website.
Planning on Turning Your Website into a Lean Mean Marketing Machine?
Our Premium and Business plans include a custom domain and loads of other features like access to premium themes, advanced customization, more space for your photos and videos, and stellar customer support.
Try a plan for 30 days. (Note that for the domain registration-related portion of the upgrade, the refund window is 48 hours.)