Month: November 2018

How to choose the right font for your blog

Fonts are one of those elements of websites that go under the radar and become invisible when done well, or are glaringly and painfully obvious when done wrong.

But it’s not just readability you should worry about, it’s also what your chosen font communicates about your brand and personality. When combined with the proper content, a good font can give a site a unique identity.

So here’s how you can choose the right font for your blog:

1) Choose serif or sans serif

The first thing you need to decide is whether you want a serif or sans-serif font. Here’s an image of two such fonts in case you’re unclear which is which:

Serif fonts are more old school and decorative compared to the more modern looking sans-serif fonts. However, they’re very popular in print works since the decorations and jaggy edges they have help guide the eye across the font, and thus increase reading speed.

Sans serif fonts on the other hand are more popular in online formats. This because the delicate serif decorations can be hard to render on low resolution screens or if there is a weird contrasting effect on the page.

Personality wise, sans serif is mostly the “default” setting in the online world, so you wouldn’t look out of place if you chose it.

However, serif fonts still have that association with books and other written, long form content. By using this font, it’s fair to assume that you will bring up some of those long-form associations.

2) Make sure you have enough and varied weights

For your main, paragraph font, the most formatting you’ll likely need is boldness, italics and underlines. However, for various reasons you might want to use even more varied font formats, for things such as quotes. In this case, it’s best if you choose a font that has enough weights that can properly convey this information.

3) A few basics in readability

Before branding and moods, the first things you should be concerned about when choosing a font is how readable it is.

Size is one very important aspect. If you’re on the younger side, you might be tempted to choose a font that looks well mostly at small sizes. Don’t do that. By now, it’s a consistent point in web design that making a font slightly bigger won’t hurt the usability of a website with the younger crowd, but it will hugely help with older users.

But it’s not just the font size that matters, it’s also the font color. Black on a white background works best, because our eyes are better able to perceive the contrast. White on black background, while hip and unusual, just doesn’t work from a readability perspective because the white doesn’t contrast as well with the black.

And even if you do choose black-on-white-background, make sure your font isn’t pure black. Pure black is a harsh color, and can very well cause eye strain when a user has to read it constantly.

For this reason, make sure you always adjust the size and color of your fonts to find the right balance for your readers.

4) Match title, subtitle and paragraph fonts

Using a single font type for everything on a page can work… but it will look very, very boring. For this reason, you can spice up the appearance of your website by matching together different font pairs to create an interesting and captivating typographical appearance.

This is quite similar to how professional cooks combine unusual flavors, such as sours and sweets to create a unique combination, that not only work, but are incredibly memorable.

In most cases, matching two fonts should be more than enough. One for the headlines and subtitles, with the other one being the paragraph font.

5) Use the Google open font library to find the right one for you

Fonts can be really expensive, to buy and depending on how many visitors you have, or what you are using a font for, the licensing fee for it can quickly add up to cost a hefty amount of money.

Fortunately, you can use the Google Font library to choose from over 600 totally free fonts, which come with a huge amount of weights. This should be more than enough to meet any and all requirements you may have.

Original post: How to choose the right font for your blog

How to Structure a Great Blog Post That Readers AND Search Engines Will Love

Even if you’re an amazing writer, you can’t write a great blog post without a solid structure.

This is good news for most bloggers: to produce quality content, you don’t have to be amazing at writing, you just need to write a clear, well-structured post.

Structuring your post the right way will help with your SEO too. Search engines need to be able to “read” what’s important in your post, so they can rank it for appropriate keywords.

We’re going to take a look at each part of your post in turn, explaining how best to approach it so that it’ll work well for readers and for search engines.

Structuring Your Title

Your title should include the keyword you’re aiming to rank for (e.g. if you’re writing a post comparing different blogging platforms, that keyword might be “best blogging platforms”).

This is obviously good for search engines … but it’s also good for your readers. A clear, direct title lets them know exactly what your post is about.

For both search engines and readers, you don’t want your title to be too long. Around 70 characters, or more precisely, 600 pixels, is the maximum that search engines will show (that includes everything: letters, numbers, spaces, punctuation and special characters). For more on title length, check out SEOpressor’s comprehensive post here (SEO focused) and HubSpot’s advice here (reader focused).

If you don’t want to count characters or pixels, this Google SERP Generator tool show you know when your titles will get truncated.

Note: You can potentially set a different title tag (which is what search engines give more weight to for ranking and what your readers see in the search results) from the main heading (H1 tag) that appears on your page itself.
That way, the title tag can be a little more keyword focused. If they’re too different, though, that can create a sense of disconnect for readers who click through from search engine results.

Good title: The Best Free Blogging Platforms of 2018 [Ranked and Reviewed] (specific, clear promise of what the reader will get, 62 characters)
Bad title: Blogging Platforms (too vague and too short)

Structuring Your Post’s URL

This is something that bloggers don’t always think about … but your URL is important for both readers and search engines. Readers may see the URL before coming to your post at all (and they could well see it without the title of your post attached).

If you’re using a recent installation of WordPress, your post URLs should look something like this:

There are other options for your URL, though, such as including the date or the category, e.g.:

I’d suggest avoiding using these, because:

  • Posts with the date in the URL will soon start to seem less relevant and up-to-date, which gives people less reason to click through. Obviously, a lower click through rate (CTR) means less traffic … but it’s also believed to affect your ranking, too.
  • Posts with the category in the URL are inevitably longer. Simple, shorter URLs are easier to remember, and again get a better CTR from search engine results pages. If you feel that taxonomy is important, use breadcrumbs.

Instead of using the full title of your post in the URL (which is the default), you should also edit the “permalink” so that it contains just a few keywords. Keep it short and simple.

For instance, my post “5 Ways to Pick the Perfect Brand Name” has the URL:

Structuring Your Post Into Subsections

Unless you write very short posts, it’s helpful for both readers and search engines to split them into subsections.
Each of your subsections should have a subheading, formatted as an H2 (Heading 2) tag. Like your post title, each should ideally include a keyword that you want to rank for.

If you want subsections within subsections, you can use H3 for the lower-level headings.

These tags matter: from the reader’s point of view, they help make your post easy to engage with. On almost any blog theme, H2 (and H3) tags will be larger and bolder than the rest of the text. They also help create more whitespace on the page.

From the search engine’s point of view, H2 and H3 tags help indicate what your page is about. Google have been widely quoted saying that they use H-tags in their algorithms, though Search Engine Journal suggests that these tags don’t have much influence beyond the first couple on the page.

Note: While Google don’t mind if you have more than one H1 tag on a single page, most bloggers believe it’s best to only use H1 for the main heading on the page.

Including Links in Your Post

When writing a post, it’ll often make sense within the structure to use links to point the reader to further information, rather than trying to cover lots of tangents in the post itself.

Links are helpful for readers because they can:

  • Point them to more advanced information on a particular topic
  • Help them find a more beginner-friendly explanation of something they don’t quite understand yet
  • Allow them to verify what you’re saying is true (by letting them easily check out your sources)

These could be internal links (to other posts on your own blog, or pages on your website), or outbound links (to other people’s content).

Internal links obviously help you to get more page views and engagement from your readers, but from an SEO perspective, they have two benefits:

  • They pass “link juice”/PageRank, so the receiving page benefits in rankings power
  • They pass relevancy through the anchor text (the words that you attach the URL itself to). If you use anchor text that makes sense to the user, it’s likely it will make sense to search engines too.

There’s some debate in the SEO community about whether or not outbound links help your own SEO, but some feel that linking to reputable sites helps your own rankings a little (and at the very least doesn’t hurt).

Good search engine optimisation is never about tricking or gaming search engines. Instead, it’s about writing great content that readers will love … and that search engines will want to promote to them.

Well structured posts are easy to write and easy to read. They’re more likely to rank in search engines when people search for that topic. They’re also more likely to get social media shares, and potentially more links from other blogs, which would boost the ranking further.

So, next time you write a post for your blog, think about the title, URL, subheadings and links you use. Make them as clear and useful as you can … for search engines, and also for your readers.

Joe Williams runs Tribe SEO, offering online courses to help you get to grips with SEO fast. He’s the lead SEO lecturer at the Digital Marketing Institute, and has been featured in the Guardian, Cosmopolitan, and Huffington Post.

Original post: How to Structure a Great Blog Post That Readers AND Search Engines Will Love

Bloggers: Have You Adopted These Crucial Mobile Commerce Features Yet?

You’ve probably made the effort to make your website mobile-friendly, but is it ready for mobile commerce? Mobile commerce optimization isn’t the same as mobile website optimization. For example, your shopping cart might be fully functional on mobile devices, but it also might be inconvenient. Optimizing for mobile commerce focuses on increasing user convenience.

According to data gathered by Dynamic Yield, only 9% of consumers say shopping in person provides the most convenient experience. That leaves 91% of consumers who prefer shopping online. However, only 12% of consumers find shopping on a mobile device convenient. Considering the majority of web traffic comes from mobile devices, mobile commerce has some catching up to do.

If your website isn’t optimized for mobile commerce, you’re already losing sales. Here’s what you can do about it:

Embrace trending changes in mobile user experience

Don’t be the last blogger on the block to adapt to changing trends. Don’t be tempted to believe your brand is too big to fail. Former retail giant Sears made that mistake when the world was transitioning to ecommerce.

Since the 1960’s, Sears offered high-quality clothing and merchandise. The majority of their customers were older, and since older people tend to be less receptive to new technology, Sears failed to adapt their brand to the ecommerce world. Active Web Group describes the crippling impact of this mistake, “Failing to update their brand’s image plagued Sears’ ability to expand to new demographics, making eCommerce a missed opportunity. Ironically, the fear of losing existing customers prevented Sears from attracting the new audience needed for survival.”

The lessons here are don’t be slow to embrace mobile commerce trends that make it easier for your customers to shop and make a purchase.

Follow trends that support user experience

Some trends aren’t smart to follow because they turn out to be short-lived fads. You can safely bet that trends that make mobile commerce more convenient aren’t fads – they’re the future.

In 2017, 34.5% of 2017 ecommerce sales were processed on a mobile device, despite the fact that many online stores aren’t yet mobile-friendly. Big Commerce reports that by 2021, mobile ecommerce sales are expected to account for 54% of all ecommerce sales. That means you’ve got to stay up-to-date with how mobile commerce user experience evolves.

For example, with the right app, a mobile money transfer is much simpler than using a desktop computer. Whether you’re in someone’s presence or not, you can transfer money easily by using one of these popular apps. Mobile apps are built for convenience. Even Paypal’s mobile app is easier to use than the desktop version.

Don’t ignore popular payment solutions

Make sure you accept payments from popular payment solutions like Apple Pay, PayPal One-Touch, Visa Checkout, and Amazon Pay. These solutions save a person’s payment details so they don’t have to manually enter their credit card information, even if they’ve never purchased from you before. This is the definition of convenience, especially since a complicated checkout process is a primary reason for abandoned shopping carts.

Place significant focus on optimizing your mobile content

As Search Engine Land reports, Google has a mobile-first index that generates search results based on the mobile version of content. The clincher is that this index isn’t just shown to mobile users. Google is now using mobile content as their primary source for search results provided to all users, including desktop users.

If you have a mobile version of your website, but it’s got less content than your desktop version, you need to change that. Your mobile website should have as much (or more) content than your desktop version, or Google might not rank your site very well.

You might be aware that expandable content on a desktop website doesn’t carry much weight with Google. According to Google’s Gary Illyes, expandable content makes sense on mobile, so it will be given full weight if done correctly. Of course, that’s determined by a robot, and there’s no definition or guidebook to use as a template.

Google says this change won’t significantly impact overall rankings, but don’t wait to maximize your mobile content and layout.

There’s only one way to avoid mobile commerce optimization

The final thing to consider if you don’t have the funds or time to optimize your mobile commerce shop is selling merch through a third party like Big Cartel. If you’re able to create exclusive content, get your fans to subscribe to you on Patreon.

Whether you run your own ecommerce site or generate revenue through merch, make sure the companies you choose are optimized for mobile commerce. You’ll generate more sales if they are.

Original post: Bloggers: Have You Adopted These Crucial Mobile Commerce Features Yet?

The Foolproof 3-Step Process for Converting Leads Into Clients from Your Blog

You’re a wise business person.

You understand that online lead generation is a key to the sustained growth of your business.

You’ve used tactics like paid ads, blog posts, and your website to attract your ideal customers. Now people are beginning to take notice of your enterprise, and they like what they see.

Hooray! You’ve taken the first successful step toward generating customers on demand.

But now that you have them, what’s the best way to convert online leads into paying customers?

You Are Here

Located strategically in every mall and amusement park are large, brightly colored signs with the comforting words “You Are Here.” If you’ve ever found yourself lost in one of these places, those signs are a Godsend.

Now armed with the exact knowledge of your current location you can continue on your way, confident you’ll reach your desired destination.

It’s fascinating how often our marketing process resembles a mall or theme park. There are so many colorful options to choose from, and so many carnival barkers trying to convince you to spend your precious marketing dollars with them because only they have the solutions you need. It’s easy to get confused, and the confused mind often does nothing.

Sound familiar?

Fear not intrepid marketer, if you’re wondering how to convert leads into sales you’ll find this article will help guide you through the magical world of marketing make-believe, and land you safely on the shores of sustained profitability.

Overcoming the Impossible Challenge

In the story of King Midas, everything he touched turned to gold. Unfortunately, as a marketer, I’m sure you’ve discovered that’s a superpower few possess. You’re not alone, almost everyone struggles with how to convert online leads into sales.

Would it surprise you to learn that only a small percentage of people who respond to your message online are ready to buy right now? That means the majority of people who like what you have to say are being effectively ignored.

Yikes, that’s a lot of money to leave on the table, not to mention the countless lives left unchanged because they have been denied the genius of your solution.

To the casual observer, this seems like an impossible challenge…like trying to climb Mount Everest in a pair of cargo shorts and a light windbreaker. But what if I told you the answer is as easy as 1-2-3?

The Profitability Pathway: Step One

The first step to convert online leads is to engage them with what we call Early Stage Content. Think of it as the small talk in a conversation.

This would include things like:

-Top Ten Lists
-Cheat Sheets
-Engaging Short Videos
-Relevant News in Your Industry

Small talk can be interesting for a short while, but if it’s the only thing you’re providing to your prospective clients they’re going to get bored pretty quickly. If you’re serious about learning how to convert leads into sales you’ll need to move on to Step Two.

The Profitability Pathway: Step Two

You’re walking through a clothing store and you notice a unique item that draws you toward it with the force of a tractor beam. It looks great, the price is right, but is it the right size? Only one way to find out…head to the dressing room and see if it fits.

That is the essence of Step Two: Middle Stage Content.

This type of content is your meat and potatoes because it’s based on what your prospective clients want to know most as they make the transition from browser to buyer.

Here are some examples:

-Case Studies
-Customer Reviews
-Frequently Asked Questions
-Product Comparisons

Your prospective clients aren’t experts in your product or service, they depend on you for high-quality information that helps them make the best decision and feel confident that their money will be well-spent with you.

The Profitability Pathway: Step Three

There’s a famous line from the movie “Glengarry Glen Ross” that reminds us that “Coffee is for closers.”

Late-Stage Content is your closer. Your online lead is now ready to hand you Certificates of Appreciation (money) in return for your product or service.

But your job isn’t done yet.

Below are some topics you’ll want to cover:

-Executive Summaries
-Product Demonstrations
-Pricing and Feature Guides
Success Stories and Case Studies
Risk Reversal

In the end, your clients all want the same same thing. They want to feel confident that they’ve made the best decision possible, and they have received the highest possible value for the money spent.

Each of the three stages in this process is designed to do just that.

A well-designed sales process can allow you to differentiate yourself in the marketplace and avoid having to always compete on price.

Congratulations, you’ve learned how to convert leads into sales.

Joel Widmer is the founder of Fluxe Digital Marketing. He helps busy business owners build strong brands and generate leads online in a fraction of the time it would take to do it on their own.

Original post: The Foolproof 3-Step Process for Converting Leads Into Clients from Your Blog

Ten Task Management Tools To Boost Team Productivity (2019)

As the name itself suggests, a task management tool is designed to help teams and individuals manage the tasks of a project efficiently, effectively, and on schedule. Many people believed task management as a process that revolves entirely around managing tasks and to-do lists. But that’s not true, right?

Most of the task management software systems available today incorporate features and functionalities that respond to all your needs. From enhancing team collaboration via quick group chats to keeping an eye on task status through progress percentage, there are dozens of software and tools in the market that provide you the ability to get work done the way you need to.

Here, in this article, we’ll go over a few popular tools that meet the business requirements, manage tasks lists, improve teamwork, and ultimately boost team productivity. Take a look at the list of 10 best task management tools below and decide which one is right for you.

The best task management tools (free and paid)

1. ProofHub
When it comes to using a versatile tool that meets all your business requirement, ProofHub provides an ideal choice. It’s an all-in-one project management system packed with powerful features that save you from investing in too many tools to run your business successfully. Leading organizations like NASA, Disney, Taco Bell, and more have shown their faith in ProofHub and are using it to make task management less stressful. With features like Gantt chart, Kanban boards, Timesheets, and Reports, ProofHub allows you to manage multiple tasks and projects without any hassle. The software is available as a mobile app and integrates with various tools and apps. Go for a free trial today!

2. Hibox
Hibox is a great tool for teams/individuals who are looking to work remotely. But that’s not all. The tool is designed to work for almost any employee or office environment. With a combination of chat, video, and task management, Hibox allows teams to connect, share files, create tasks, track tasks, and deliver projects from anywhere. Moreover, teams can personalize tasks by adding files, setting deadlines, or using the personal AI for some insightful assistance. The tool is available as a mobile app for both Android and iOS devices.

3. ClickUp
ClickUp is a tool that has risen to the top of the list for task management and project management tools. In simple words, ClickUp offers a combination of features and functionalities that can fit any individual, team, or organization. You can think of it as a productivity platform that can be customized to fit any needs. The tool is designed to help teams manage task management as well as project management all in one place. If you are looking forward to creating the perfect work-life balance, ClickUp is the right tool to work with.

4. Glip
There are tools in today’s market that are designed for certain purposes. Glip is one such tool. It’s an easy, intuitive team collaboration tool that focuses on improving task management via a solid communication channel. It’s a great solution for teams and business who are looking for simplicity and functionality altogether. Apart from chat, Glip provides various features like screen sharing, file sharing, and more that makes task management easy and effortless.

5. Smartsheet
Smartsheet is one of the most popular online task management software solution available today. It’s easy to use software solution that works on any platform or with any tool. The software is flexible as it can be used to manage multiple projects and resources. Furthermore, it integrates with various tools and apps, including Google Apps, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more.

6. Task Manager
In Windows, the task manager is basically used for viewing the currently running programs on the computer. Along with that, it also provides information regarding the hardware resources being used by the programs. Now, in terms of project management, task manager can be used to track recurrence, progress, time utilized, etc. The tool provides insightful details that allow you to get a better hold over your tasks and get them completed as planned.

7. Centrallo
Centrallo is an organization tool that helps in organizing tasks via better planning, scheduling, and executing. It allows teams to create any number of task lists as well as share or access them from anywhere. This tool is available for free for all major platforms, including Android, iOS, and Windows.

8. Flock
Flock is all about fewer emails and more work. It’s a simple yet powerful task management system that helps to organize all your work streams. This tool comes packed with a range of built-in features like shared to-dos, quick reminders, notes, polls and more. Also, this tool integrates well with your favorite third-party apps like Google, MailChimp, Dropbox, Jira, Trello, etc. Try it for free today!

9. Todoist
Task management is overwhelming, but Todoist is an absolute breeze. It is a simple tool with a no-frills interface that helps you get things done more quickly. Todoist keeps all your to-dos in one centralized place, making it easier for you to track everything and get it all done within the desired time. Task labels, reminders, location-based notifications, and automatic backups are a few features that make Todoist ideal for task management.

10. Any.Do
Any.Do is a combination of a to-do list app and a task manager. It labels items (tasks or events) as today, tomorrow, and upcoming, providing a quick view of what needs to be done or what’s coming ahead. It also allows you to organize items by their due date or category. The tool is available in two versions i.e. basic and premium. With a basic plan, you can plan your daily tasks, set reminders, and add items to the calendar. Now, with the premium version, you get access to location-based reminders, customized recurring tasks/events, task color codes, unlimited attachments, and more.

Which tool should you use?
You don’t need anyone to tell you that there are plenty of options available at your disposal. And keeping the number of task management solutions available out there, here are a few suggestions to decide which tool is right for you:

Go for the free trial before you buy it
Look for features that you will actually need
Seek opportunities for customization
Pick a tool that is integrated smoothly with other systems and processes
Read user reviews

The dynamics behind running a business and managing projects has changed. In today’s business world, you need to equip yourself and your team with the best technology and tools in order to hit the present goal.

This article highlights one of the most essential tools that you will need, a task management tool. Use the above list and tips to identify the right task management tool that fits your projects and requirements. There are plenty of other tools and apps available in the software industry. So, if you are familiar with a tool that we can add to our list, tell us about it in the comment section below.

Vartika Kashyap is the Marketing Manager and has been one of the LinkedIn Top Voices in 2016, 2017 and 2018. She is also a contributor at, The Next Web, YourStory, and Huffington among others. Her articles mainly revolve around productivity, leadership, and common workplace events. She also loves to read and travel to new places.

Original post: Ten Task Management Tools To Boost Team Productivity (2019)

4 Factors to Consider While Choosing Your Blog’s CMS

When we think of blogging the first Content Management System (CMS) that automatically pops up in our minds is WordPress. Although it is a wonderful platform, it might not be the best option for you.

There are several other content management systems which might not be as popular as WordPress but will suit your needs better. And sometimes it will be better for you to design your own CMS.

So, to help you decide on the best option, I have created a list of the 4 factors you must consider while choosing your blog’s CMS…

#1 Ease of use and coding experience:

Do you know why WordPress is so popular?

It’s because it is so easy to use. You can install it with ease, publish posts and pages quickly and automate various other tasks by using plugins. Soon they will be introducing the Gutenberg editor which will make things easier.

But WordPress is not the perfect CMS for everyone. This is because it is premade. It adds a lot of restrictions which can make it hard for you customize it for your own specific needs.

Therefore, if you have some coding experience and want a more versatile CMS, Drupal will be a better option. But remember that using it will require more effort.

And for those looking for a CMS that is easier than WordPress there are options like Wix.

#2 The type of website you want to build:

The type of business you plan to run can also determine what CMS you should opt for. For example, if you are just blogging for the fun of it, something as simple as Blogger will do. But if you want your blog to do more, WordPress would be a better option.

And if you’re building a blog to sell more products for an ecommerce store you want to run you can opt for a CMS that is made for ecommerce stores like BigCommerce.

It has many advanced features that simplify the day to day running of an ecommerce store and its blog.

#3 Hosting service preference:

Most of the best blog hosting services provide support for all the top blog CMS. But not all of them are the best for those specific systems. For example, you will find that many of the top hosting services provide more robust managed WordPress hosting, but they won’t have the same option for lesser used platforms like Joomla or Drupal.

To get managed hosting for the less popular CMS you might need to find a new hosting service. So, if you have had a stellar experience with a hosting company you have worked with in the past and would like to continue with them, it would be better for you to go with the platform they specialize in. Avoid picking a CMS they don’t have the best features for.

Hosting plays a very vital role in the success of a site. It can actually be more important than the CMS itself. A good website host will ensure that your site loads quickly. This can drive more traffic and increase conversions.
So, take great care in picking the right one.

#4 Your budget for extra features:

A platform like WordPress might seem very affordable because you can easily set it up. But you might need to invest in other services a premium theme, premium plugins, landing page software, email service provider, etc. This can add up to a massive amount in the long run.

Therefore, before choosing a CMS you should create a budget. If the cost of running an affordable CMS like WordPress site seems too high, you can go with an option like SquareSpace.

The monthly hosting price might be higher than WordPress’, but it comes equipped with all the services required to run a website which can work out cheaper in the long run.

If you have a higher budget you can always hire a developer to create a custom made CMS that integrates well with the business system you already have in place. This can save a lot of time which can make your company more efficient.

These are the 4 factors to consider while choosing your blog’s CMS. Make sure you asses each of them meticulously. They will ensure that you are satisfied with the CMS you choose.

Original post: 4 Factors to Consider While Choosing Your Blog’s CMS

10 Best Esports Website Design Tips to Start Your Gaming Blog

Is there a video game that you can play day and night? Would you like to share your experience with the fellow gamers? By means of a gaming blog, you can deliver your opinions, analysis, and thoughts to the gaming community. As soon as you create a gaming website, you will attain a solid foundation to establish a better contact with the gaming fans like you, as well as take more step to become an influencer in your industry.

If you want to learn how to create a usable online games website but you feel unsure about the elements and functionality that you’d like it to feature, then you’ve reached the right place. In this blog post, we are going to discover how to start your gaming website right.

Esports Website Design Basic Features

If you are an avid computer and online games developer, then you won’t find it challenging at all to build an awesome esports website design. Before you get straight to the development of your site’s design and the content that you’ll post on its pages, you need to put the objectives of your next online project clearly. What goals will it pursue? What message would you like to deliver to your audience? What sort of data will your web page include? Here are several suggestions that you can use as a basis.

  • You can use your online games website to post reviews of new games that you have tried.
  • Also, you can share news about game projects, updates, and events that take place in your industry.
  • You can provide the fellow gamers with a platform to play games online.
  • This can be a platform where the members of the gaming community get in touch with each other to communicate.
  • Also, you can add a couple of eCommerce tools in order to sell games and gaming items on your site.

Focus on Usability

You may post the best content ever. Still, if your site isn’t usable enough, then all of your efforts will be worth nothing. A website that looks cluttered to a visitor faces the risk of getting high bounce rates. In order for this not to happen, keep the pages of your online games website simple and spacious. It’s likely that you will share loads of data with your audience. So, in order to keep them focused on the essential pieces of data, opt for simple web designs that are readable and quick-to-scan. This grows that the users will find the needed pieces of content and stay on your gaming site for longer.

Make It Easy to Browse

As a rule, gaming websites feature more categories and subcategories than other web resources. That’s why it’s important to develop a well-organized navigation. One of the best options to enhance the on-page navigation is using a drop-down MegaMenu on your web page. Also, you can include additional content filters. Using these, people can narrow down the list of content based on the types, categories, and manufacturers to which those belong.

Make Your Esports Website Design 100% Responsive

Do you often use a desktop computer when you need to look up any sort of data quickly? I bet you will use your smartphone to access the web on-the-go. That’s what 80% of the modern-day web users will do.

In order to make all the content of your gaming website look great on smaller screen sizes, you need to make sure that your online project is mobile-friendly. One of the best ways to build a responsive site is choosing a Bootstrap-based web theme as its foundation. Working with a mobile-friendly website template, you may forget about the need to adjust your content to all devices manually.

Control the Page Speed

Your gaming website will be loaded with lots of data. Most of the content will be represented by means of images and videos. So, the page loading speeds face the risk to slow down. In order for this not to happen, you need to track your site’s performance stats on both desktop and handheld devices. Google PageSpeed Insights is one of the most popular solutions for this purpose. This is a free online tool from Google developers, which will help you make your web page load fast on all devices.

Content Choice and Organization

Content is an essential part of any gaming blog. That’s the main reason why people land on your page. A gaming website is likely to be loaded with plenty of visual, video, and written data. So, your primary task is to organize all pieces in a quick-to-scan and readable manner.

As you work on your esports website design, you will need to include several tradition pages like Home, About, Contacts, News, and Reviews. This is a standard set of pages that can be found on websites belonging to different industries. Still, this is indispensable for the complete presentation of you as a gamer and your brand in general.

As a user reaches a gaming site, they expect to find loads of visual content and media files. So, give them what they want. In order to deliver a well-structured presentation of your content, use galleries on your site’s pages and posts.

Video Content

Video content is the heart of any online games website without any exaggeration. You can share it on the front page, category pages, and separate blog posts on your site. That’s always a great idea to create a separate category with video content in the header menu. By means of large video previews, you can boost your site’s usability, and help your audience find the necessary pieces of data easily.

As part of your online strategy, you can record your own video reviews of the games you play. Such kind of unique data will attract a wider audience to your site and establish you as an influencer in your field.

Show Related Stories

It’s up to you to decide in what area of your site the respective block will be placed. You can share it at the bottom of blog posts or in a sidebar. The key reason to reveal a set of related posts is to engage your audience with more data, thus providing them with more alternatives for the data to consume.

Promote Your Content through Social Media

Social media is one of the most powerful online marketing tools on the modern-day web. There isn’t a better place to build an audience for your gaming blog. In order to make more users engage with your data, share different pieces of your data in Facebook groups where people discuss their preferred games. Be careful not to spam. Posting content that doesn’t bring any value to the audience will do more bad than good to you. Instead, focus on giving every group those pieces of data that will be the most valuable to them.

Include Contact/Subscription Forms

And finally, in order to keep your audience closer to you, do not forget to add a contact form and subscription form to your gaming site. Running a gaming blog let your readers comment on your publications. Never miss a chance to reply to the comments of your readers. This will show that you care about the time that people spent to look through your data.

Original post: 10 Best Esports Website Design Tips to Start Your Gaming Blog

The Best Affiliate Marketing Programs of 2018

Your blog shouldn’t just be used for making viral content, but for making a living online.

If you’re ready to use your blog to make some real money, it’s time to explore the best affiliate marketing programs of 2018. These programs offer the most efficient way to monetize your blog and avoid killing your marketing budget. Affiliate programs are designed to help you make money by posting links to merchant’s websites and encouraging users to buy products, resulting in commissions to you.

To get started, you partner your website with the affiliate marketing program of your choice. The program considers your niche, content, and products and then pairs you with a merchant that sells your product. To have access to the top merchants, the program must be top-notch, like the ones on our list below.

CJ by Conversant
Formerly Commission Junction, CJ Affiliate by Conversant has been around for two decades. CJ uses product widgets—embedded on your site—that showcase numerous products through a grid, collage, or slideshow. The program offers real-time transaction monitoring, which can help identify and quickly resolve any challenges with a transaction. In addition, the platform provides deep link automation to help promote web pages that can increase your revenue.

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CJ is selective with which websites it partners. You’ll go through a thorough application process and once accepted, you’ll then apply to each vendor for the products that you wish to sell. CJ is best suited for professional and polished websites.

Main Benefits
-Real-time monitoring.
-Concentrates on high-quality websites.
-Deep link automation.

Impact Radius
Impact Radius was derived by the former founders of Commission Junction and is a big believer in quality over quantity. The Impact team concentrates on higher-quality campaigns rather than haphazard product links on your site that have no overarching goal. Impact Radius identifies as a SaaS (Software as a Service) resource and prides itself on transparency. With a quality partnership at the forefront, you can make up to 17 percent more when you follow the Impact Radius suggestions compared to other affiliate marketing programs.

Main Benefits
-Has a unique concentration on campaign building.
-Most advanced real-time reporting.
-Dedicated customer success managers.

ShareASale is an affiliate marketing program that boasts more than 5,000 vendors, which makes it easier for you to find products that are fitting to your site. The easy search tools mean you don’t have to spend all day browsing those 5,000 vendors.

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Take advantage of its Power Rank system to keep track of which vendors are the most popular. ShareASale has a higher payout threshold than other affiliate programs at $50, but there are no start-up fees with this program.

Main Benefits
-Customize your portfolio of advertisers in the Opportunity Marketplace.
-Access to info hub that alerts you to product launches, special offers, and other news.

Amazon Associates
Amazon is one of the pioneers of affiliate marketing programs. When the company launched, a marketing budget was nonexistent, so they opted to pay people a commission for any referral sales. While Amazon has a fairly low payout compared to other programs (4 to 8.5 percent), you can benefit greatly from the worldwide recognition and immense number of products on the site. Whether you’re an affiliate marketing blogger, review site, or influencer, the program is free to join, and there are no metric requirements you must meet to be accepted. Plus, you can keep track of what’s selling with Amazon’s reporting system.

Main Benefits
-Highly recognizable brand and customer loyalty.
-Receive direct deposit payments into your bank account.
-Even if the customer doesn’t buy the product you promoted, you still get credit if they make another purchase.

Rakuten Marketing
Rakuten, formerly known as LinkShare, has about 1,000 merchants with several well-known brands. This affiliate marketing program offers an engaging, easy-to-use interface that offers a unique way to create a rotating ad banner. The simple dashboard offers real-time reporting, and the help library is filled with videos to walk you through any challenge. Flexible deep link capabilities make this program even more valuable, and by using Popshops (Rakuten‘s sister site), you get access to numerous plugins that can help improve the look of your site and the user’s experience.

Main Benefits
-Excellent deep linking tools.
-Training tools available on demand.
-Easy-to-use dashboard (great for beginners).

Flexoffers has been in the affiliate marketing program game for more than a decade but continues to grow at a rate of 50 new advertisers each day. You can deep link a particular product page to make it easier for customers to find and buy exactly what they need. A unique feature of this program is the FlexRev program—a revenue sharing model that lets you earn up to 50 percent of their profit.

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Main Benefits
-Access to 10,000-plus advertisers.
-Multiple domains can be registered to one account.
-Detailed reporting to show clicks, conversions, and sales.

Affiliate marketing can be a real money maker for your blog if you know which programs to use. The best news is you don’t have to choose just one. You can participate in multiple affiliate networks and platforms. Do your research on these top-ranking affiliate marketing programs and capitalize on their popularity.

Adam Enfroy is the Affiliate Partnerships Manager at BigCommerce. He is passionate about leveraging the right strategic partnerships and software to scale digital growth. Adam lives in Austin, Texas and writes about affiliate marketing at

Original post: The Best Affiliate Marketing Programs of 2018

12 Tips for Starting Your Very First Blog

Starting your very first blog will be a different experience than you’ve ever had before. Think of it in terms of learning to ride a bike. Some take very little prompting and make little to no mistakes before they begin sailing down the road. Others fall hundreds of times before they’re able to ride. Many others need a little push from behind and some guidance from a friendly hand, helping to keep them steady until they can handle biking for themselves. But everyone who learns to ride a bike never forgets.

But never forgetting how to ride a bike is not enough to allow you to make a career out of it. There’s a lot of competition there because everyone who’s ever learned to ride will be able to do so forever, so there’s nothing remarkable about that particular skillset. You can stand out, however, if you take your biking skills to the next level.

Perhaps you’ll take up racing, working to improve your speed and participating in weekly races. Others might learn to do tricks and extreme BMX stunts. These bikers are able to take their skill and make something out of them, earning money for their trade and effectively keeping up or beating the competition.

Blogging has a lot of similarities to this common pastime. Most bloggers can learn to write fairly easily, perhaps stumbling and falling over a few difficult patches here and there until they get the hang of it. Then, they can sail along fairly smoothly for awhile with a couple of hundred followers, but it’s hardly a career. Moreover, if they hit roadblocks, such as issues with ranking, lack of motivation, and other things that get in the way of a successful blog, they’ll be thrown from their seat, and will have to do some repair work to fix their platform.

Other bloggers are like professional bikers who take their talent and love of the activity to the next level. These bloggers practice and enhance their talents, developing new niches, unique catchphrases, trendy blog posts, and hot products that fly off their virtual shelves. They’ve learned to make a career out of it.

Most first time bloggers jump into the practice hoping to immediately be like the latter class of bloggers, but that’s rarely reality. The majority of successful bloggers today didn’t make it big quickly, nor did they make it big with their first blog. Oftentimes, they had to change niches, tactics, and writing styles, just to get noticed.

This shouldn’t discourage you, however. In fact, it should encourage you to know that the most successful of bloggers started where you are today. As they worked to build their fame and enhance their craft, here are some of the tips they employed.

1. Choose a Niche

Most blogs only perform well if they’re written on a specific niche. Home crafts, cooking, marketing, blogging, exercise—it doesn’t matter which niche you choose as long as you choose something you’re an authority on. Blogs that speak in generalizations or cover a random group of topics are hard to classify, and therefore find it difficult to stand out.

This is because people who read blogs are looking for experts on a specific topic. Someone who spends time covering a hundred different topics doesn’t have enough time or energy to become an expert on anything. People read blogs because they find the author credible, and blogs that don’t hone in on a certain niche will lack that authoritative aspect that’s important for impressing visitors.

2. Choose a Good Name and Domain

The name of a good blog is more important than many bloggers realize, as is the domain name. The best blog names are memorable, uncomplicated, reflect the tone and message of your blog, and appeal to your target audience. You might come up with some good name ideas by considering the names of blogs you like. Obviously, you won’t want to use the same name, but it will help you analyze your target audience and choose something that pairs well with your industry.

Your domain name is almost as important as the name of your blog. Many people choose to use their name in the domain, but that’s generally a big no-no unless you’re already well known. When you’re starting out, it’s best to choose a domain name that reflects the title of your blog as well as a keyword that users may search when looking for content that your blog offers.

3. Know Your Target Audience

The first rule of writing is always that you must write to your audience. That’s an essential part of your blog taking off. It’s your readers that will keep you in business, but if you ignore them, you’ll struggle to appeal to any readers.

One of the best ways to understand your target audience is to study blogs in your industry. From there, you’ll see the kinds of information your target audience reads, what problems they want solved, what style of writing they respond to, and what articles haven’t been written in your industry.

4. Overcome Your Fear

For most beginning bloggers, it takes quite a while for them to get up the nerve to write their first blog post. Fear of failure, rejection, and mediocrity keep some of the best writers from beginning their dream.

The word fear must be moved from your vocabulary. If you indulge in your fears, they’ll keep you from achieving your blogging dreams, and therefore hinder your success in this area. You have to learn to face your fears and hurdle your challenges to begin blogging.

Tackle your fears head on. If you’re afraid of choosing a bad topic, do some research to find blog ideas that have performed well in the past. If you’re afraid of engaging on social media, make that the first thing you do every morning until you get used to the practice. Pretty soon, you’ll discover that there’s nothing to be afraid of with your blogging career.

5. Decide on a Stellar First Topic

The first blog post is arguably the most important. It doesn’t necessarily seal your fate as a good or bad blogger, but it can impact readers first impression of you.

It’s tempting to settle on a mediocre idea. Self-conscious writers will hem and haw over a variety of ideas, trying to choose the perfect topic. Overly confident writers might choose the first topic that comes into their head without a second thought. Successful bloggers take time to brainstorm and thoroughly consider their options before diving in. These topics tend to be better developed and focused, which leads to a much better first impression.

6. Improve Your Writing

Anyone can start a blog, which makes many people think that anyone can also write. But amateur writing won’t cut it in today’s competitive market. Despite what you thought in your high school English class, the world does care about complete sentences, punctuation, and capitalization.

Even more than that, they want sentences that flow, paragraphs that stay focused, organization that carries you through the post, and content that adds value. Furthermore, it’s always wise to include links to authority websites and use quotes where relevant.

If you’re not a naturally good writer, this doesn’t mean you can’t be a blogger. Like riding a bike, good writing can be learned, but it must be practiced, and you should avoid publishing anything online until someone besides your mom has read your article and approves. Good writing is imperative to building a loyal readership and getting recurring visitors, not to mention building links to your website to help it perform better in organic search results, which brings more visitors to your blog.

7. Focus On Design

Just as your blog needs a niche to stand out among its competitors, it also needs a solid theme and a great design to match. This can be a really entertaining part of developing your first blog if you let yourself enjoy it. Surfing through templates on your chosen blogging platform can be engaging, and it will lead you to a theme that you feel best matches your tone and message.

There are thousands of free themes available, but free isn’t always best. Remember that your blog is an investment, and you may need to purchase a premium or even custom theme to do your blog justice. Hundreds of bloggers get by just fine with free themes, but the majority of writers with thousands of followers have discovered that a premium or custom theme was much better equipped to handle the mass of readers.

8. Utilize Plugins

Plugins take a basic blogging template and turn it into something that allows comments, advertisements, metric tracking, and a number of other useful tools for bloggers. Every blog should include plugins for SEO to improve rankings and make sure readers can find the information based on their keyword searches.

There should also be plugins that connect blogs to social media so you and your readers can easily share posts via social media. Comment features are also essential for letting readers engage, and a calendar plugin will allow you to put your posts on an editorial calendar so that you keep up with your posting and don’t lose motivation.

9. Learn to Be Social

Blogs won’t develop traffic on their own. It’s pretty rare that someone comes across a blog post from a brand new blog and makes it go viral on their own. Usually, a blogger has to take the initiative to begin with and share the post on social media first.

Even then, you can’t expect your posts to go viral. It takes a strong social foundation with hundreds of followers, multiple platforms, and even paid traffic to get most blog posts noticed. As you build your social media profiles, you can begin to see your posts becoming more popular, but it has to start with you.

10. Be Prepared to Pay

Blogging, unfortunately, is not free. On the surface, it seems like an affordable way to earn an income or drive traffic to your website, but affordable isn’t the right word. It might be cheaper than other marketing strategies, but there are plenty of things to pay for in order to carry out a successful blog.

Of course, you can start a blog for free using most blogging platforms, but if you want to remove the blogging platform from your domain (which you do), you must pay a yearly fee. There’s also the design, coding, emails, plugin development, and other marketing strategies to consider. It’s wise to have a solid business plan in place before beginning your blog to make sure you can pay for all your expenses and receive profits.

11. Track Analytics

If you closely monitor the analytics from your blog, you can develop new strategies to retain the information. Analytics can show you where the traffic is hottest and where it’s cooled off considerably. You’ll see which blog posts were most effective, and from there discover what works and what’s lacking.

One thing you’ll likely find is that it’s fairly easy to get new traffic, but much more difficult to retain it. Through surveys, community building, and email collection, you’ll have an easier time retaining visitors.

Another thing you’ll probably find is that content length greatly affects traffic. Google sees content as king when it comes to rankings, and the longer the article, the more likely it is to see the top of the search results. Longer posts typically perform better, but remember that Google is a very smart machine. It can tell the difference between useful, user-generated content and useless fluff words that are derived only to create length.

12. Engage with Readers

Readers love to spend time online, but most are not looking for a solitary experience. They crave human interaction, and being noticed by the author of their favorite blog is a big part of that. It’s paramount that bloggers interact with their readers regularly in order to develop a strong relationship that will retain customers.

Some of the most important forms of engagement include social media interactions. When you make posts to market your article, ask questions to get readers to engage. Then, respond to those questions as a beginning of a good relationship. It’s not enough to simply write your post and leave it alone. Interacting with your readers is essential to growing your following and earning profits.

Blogging is a much harder career path than many people realize, but that doesn’t make it any less rewarding for those who succeed. If you’re able to create your strategy, define your niche, and get started, you’ll see all the benefits of being your own boss, choosing your own hours, and making money.

Original post: 12 Tips for Starting Your Very First Blog