How to Write a Paragraph in 2017 (Yes, the Rules Have Changed)

You want people to read your content, right?

That’s why you wrote it in the first place.

But getting people to read your content in today’s world of speedy news, food, and pleasure is a challenge. You’re not just competing with other writers, but with everything online — cat videos, Kardashian gossip, Game of Thrones, etc.

With all the available alternatives, your readers are easily distracted.

Most people who land on your page will scan it and decide, within seconds, to either leave or stay.

And one of the biggest turn-offs for online readers is poor paragraph structure.

That’s why you must master the art of writing paragraphs for today’s audience, and the first step to do so is to forget everything you learned about it in grade school.

Let me explain …

Why You Must Forget Everything School Taught You About Writing Paragraphs

The paragraph was born from a desire to topically organize long blocks of text. And for a long time, that worked.

“When the topic changes,” your grade school teacher said, “so does the paragraph.”

While that practice still mostly applies to print media — books, magazines, and sometimes newspapers — it’s an outdated rule of thumb for the larger rally of writers who spend the bulk of their time publishing online content.

Consider the drastic difference in paragraph length between this teacher-pleasing page from Habits of a Happy Brain and this online article by Tomas Laurinaricius that reviews the same book.

Contrast Paragraphs in a book vs. online article.

The difference in paragraph structure is obvious.

But why has the paragraph changed?

The main reason for the paragraph’s evolution is the way we consume media. Print publication is no longer top dog; online publication has become the primary media for consuming written content.

We read more from our screens than from the page, which completely changes how we approach the act of reading.

When we open a book or magazine, we’re usually at home or somewhere quiet and giving it our full attention. We usually set aside some time to dive into a book or magazine.

Online, a multitude of ads and pop-up notifications threaten that undying attention, especially when we’re reading on our mobiles.

The reading habits of our audience have changed, and we must change with them or risk being ignored.

So here are the rules for writing paragraphs that will be published online. Use them to your advantage the next time you sit down to create.

The Rules of the 2017 Paragraph

Rule #1. Short Paragraphs Are Mandatory


One of the best ways to instantly turn off your audience is to present them with a big wall of text that has few breaks and little white space. A visitor who looks at such a page will click the back button faster than you can cry, “Please give it a chance!”

We have adapted to expect and prefer paragraphs that are short because they look and feel easier to read. Short paragraphs are easier to scan, and they allow readers to consume the article in bite-sized chunks, which helps maintain their focus — and this is critical in this age of distraction.

Consider, for example, the ease with which you can read the introduction to this article by Mel Wicks.

Easy to read introductions

Yes, Mel Wicks uses empathetic language and easy-to-read prose, which no doubt enhances her clarity. But you can’t ignore the sense you get just by glancing at her article that it will be an easy read.

This is the effect that short paragraphs have on readers.

In her above article, there are ten paragraphs. The longest paragraph is 42 words, and seven of them have only 12 words or less.

The 100- to 200-word paragraph standard is crippling before our eyes.

So what’s the new standard? How short do you have to be?

Well, your average paragraph should be between two and four lines. You can go over and under — some paragraphs are just one word long — but stay close to that average and you should be fine.

Rule #2. Rhythm Dictates the Next Paragraph


Rhythm is the new arbiter of words. It determines where paragraphs end and where new ones begin.

Rhythm in writing is something that’s hard to teach. It’s not an exact science and doesn’t follow hard rules. It’s something that you mostly have to feel out.

The more experienced you become as a writer, the more you’ll develop your rhythm. But in the meantime, you can follow these basic guidelines:

1. Variation

As mentioned earlier, you want to keep your paragraphs short, but that doesn’t mean every paragraph has to be under 50 words.  In fact, switching between short and long paragraphs will make your writing sing.

Here are a few noteworthy rules of thumb. You don’t have to follow these perfectly, but they’re worth remembering.

  • If you just wrote one or two paragraphs that are four lines or more, shorten the next few paragraphs.
  • If you just wrote one or two paragraphs that are only one line, lengthen your next few paragraphs.
  • If you just wrote three to four paragraphs of similar length, shorten or lengthen your next paragraph.

Too many same-sized paragraphs in a row will bore your reader. It doesn’t matter if it’s too many small paragraphs or too many long paragraphs, the effect is similar.

Consider this excerpt from Jon Morrow’s post on earning passive income online:

Balance short and long paragraphs.

See how he perfectly balances between short and long paragraphs?

Now imagine if the same excerpt were structured this way:

The reason I put “passive income” in quotes is I think the term is a little misleading.

Almost nothing is totally passive.

While you may not personally be doing any work to receive the money, someone is.

And there’s usually at least a little bit of management overhead.

For instance, I’ve gone on record saying this blog averages over $100,000 per month.

From that total, about $60,000 of it is technically “passive income.”

Because I don’t have to do anything to generate it.

I could die, and the money would keep coming in month after month for years into the future.

But that doesn’t mean no one is working.

It also doesn’t mean I’m personally receiving the entire $60,000.

The truth is, most of that money goes to paying my team.

Even though all of these paragraphs are short, this text feels monotonous. Too many short paragraphs make a reader feel like they’re on a rollercoaster ride with no destination — they’re moving fast but they quickly get confused about where they’re going.

Similarly bothersome is if the excerpt were structured this way:

The reason I put “passive income” in quotes is I think the term is a little misleading. Almost nothing is totally passive. While you may not personally be doing any work to receive the money, someone is, and there’s usually at least a little bit of management overhead. For instance, I’ve gone on record saying this blog averages over $100,000 per month from selling online courses.

From that total, about $60,000 of it is technically “passive income” because I don’t have to do anything to generate it. I could die, and the money would keep coming in month after month for years into the future. But that doesn’t mean no one is working. It also doesn’t mean I’m personally receiving the entire $60,000.

The truth is, most of that money goes to paying my team. We have course instructors, customer support representatives, marketing specialists, and so on. All of them are working full-time to keep the “passive income” machine running, and they do it quite well. But somebody still has to be the boss.

While I don’t technically do any of the work necessary to generate that income, I do spend about 10 hours every week on phone calls and meetings. I also spend at least another 10-20 hours a week thinking about how to improve the business and make things run more efficiently. So, in reality, I’m working 20-30 hours per week for the “passive income.” In exchange, I receive a nice salary, plus the majority of the profits the business generates.

Visually, this looks dull (and somewhat daunting) to read, and a casual reader is likely to be turned off by it.

In the original, however, each paragraph is appropriately varied, which doesn’t just look but also feels pleasant to read.

Ultimately, you want to guide your reader. And the only way to do that effectively is to recognize when your reader needs a few short paragraphs, a long one, or a bit of both.

2. Topic

While topic was once the ultimate indicator of paragraph change, it is now one of many. Topic is still critical for clarity. If you change paragraphs at a topically awkward time, the split disturbs the reader.

Take, for example, this excerpt from Liz Longacre’s article:

Blogging is a battle.

A war to get your ideas the attention they deserve.

Your enemy? The dizzying array of online distractions that devour your readers.

This battle is not for the faint of heart.

There are so many learning curves. Plugins you’ll need to install. Social networks you’ll need to employ. Marketing techniques you’ll need to try.

Imagine these paragraphs were structured like this instead …

Blogging is a battle.

A war to get your ideas the attention they deserve.

Your enemy? The dizzying array of online distractions that devour your readers.

This battle is not for the faint of heart. There are so many learning curves.

Plugins you’ll need to install. Social networks you’ll need to employ. Marketing techniques you’ll need to try.

Notice the difference in how you read the original paragraph versus the variation.

In the original, the last paragraph tactfully emphasizes the difficulty of learning how to blog. But in the variation, you take a mental pause between “There are so many learning curves” and “Plugins you’ll need to install.”

And it feels off, doesn’t it?

The last three sentences are examples of learning curves, which means they are topically linked to the phrase introducing them.

It reads even worse as follows:

This battle is not for the faint of heart.

There are so many learning curves. Plugins you’ll need to install.

Social networks you’ll need to employ. Marketing techniques you’ll need to try.

See what I mean?

Due to our topically-paragraphed past, readers still expect that topics will — for the most part — stick with each other. It still reads better that way.

Just avoid beating topics to death. Allow topics to change as they need to — which should be every few sentences.

3. Emphasis

Paragraphs of one short sentence naturally add emphasis.

This can be used to highlight ideas you want the reader to take note of, but it can also be used for dramatic effect.

For example, check my introduction to an article for Carrot — a SaaS company that caters to real estate investors.

Use paragraph structure to guide readers.

See how the introduction guides the reader through the feelings they experience regarding content marketing with a long paragraph, and then emphasizes, “So you quit producing”?

This phase conveys a dramatic turn of events. The shortness of the paragraph emphasizes this.

The longer paragraph that precedes this phrase preps the reader for the punch. The effect wouldn’t be quite the same if it was preceded by a paragraph that was similarly short.

But you don’t always have to go from a long paragraph straight to a short paragraph to create emphasis. You can also use a gradual decline in word count and finish with your main point. This builds the reader up to the punchline.

Here’s another example, taken from The Brutally Honest Guide To Being Brutally Honest. The author, Josh Tucker, decreases wordcount over three relatively short paragraphs to bring attention to his final sentence: “How you end the discussion can make all the difference.”

Use paragraph length as a tool in writing.

Think of paragraph length in the same way you think about the rest of your writing. Your word choice, sentence length and paragraph structure all have a massive impact on what your article communicates.

Ultimately, paragraph emphasis is up to the creativity of the writer. Paragraph length is simply another tool at your disposal.

Write Paragraphs for Today’s World and Readers Will Thank You

Yes, you want people to read your content.

And despite the difficulty in grabbing the attention of today’s readers, you can still turn visitors into content absorbers by crafting easy-to-read paragraphs — paragraphs that are short, rhythmic and varied.

Doing so is simply a matter of being aware of the way your paragraphs are structured. Once you’ve mastered the art of the paragraph, you’ll do much better at keeping your readers’ attention. People will crave your content and they’ll look forward to the next time you publish.

They’ll appreciate your courteous writing and — dare I say? — they’ll keep coming back for more.

About the Author: “Lover of all things communication — speaking, writing, and listening — Mike is currently the founder of MB Content where he helps businesses create significant, consistent and valuable pieces of content. You can see more of his work at Carrot, follow him on Twitter, or join his email list for entrepreneurs at Booktrep.”

Source: https://smartblogger.com/how-to-write-a-paragraph/

I’m Back and so Is the Podcast – An Official Update

Yes, it’s true. After a three-month hiatus, I’m back, and so is the podcast.

In this (somewhat abnormal) episode, I share what has happened over the last few months with my family and how that will influence what I do over the next few months and years.

Go ahead and listen.

The post I’m Back and so Is the Podcast – An Official Update appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.

Source: http://www.becomeablogger.com/25330/im-back-update/

What the Heck Is Ghostwriting? (And Why You Might Want to Do It)

You want to make money as a writer, right?

You’ve told everyone on Facebook (including your weird aunt) that you’re available to write. You’ve been writing guest post after guest post to showcase your talent and get your name out there. Maybe you’ve even landed a few jobs already. (Good for you!)

But then a potential client emails you with the question, “Do you offer ghostwriting services?”

And you’re stumped. Maybe you’ve heard of ghostwriting. Maybe you have some idea what it is. Or maybe you wonder if it involves ouija boards in some way.

You don’t want to look like an idiot by emailing back to say, “Err … what do you mean?”

That sounds like a good way to send your potential client running for the hills.

Well, look no further, because I’m about to tell you everything you need to know about ghostwriting, starting with …

What Exactly IS Ghostwriting?

You might already have some hazy ideas about ghostwriting, like I did … when I first heard of ghostwriting, I thought it was just used for celebrity memoirs.

It turns out such memoirs are just the tip of the iceberg. Ghostwriting is everywhere.

So what is it?

When you ghostwrite, you let someone else put their name on your work. That is, you don’t get any credit — at all.

Typically, the person who commissions the work will own the copyright, which also means they can modify or republish the work in any way they see fit.

So why would someone hire a ghostwriter? Are they too lazy to write their own stuff?

Not necessarily. People hire ghostwriters for many different reasons, but the most common ones are:

  • Their business has grown so much that they no longer have time to write (all) their own material.
  • They have a wealth of expertise or an exciting story to tell, but they don’t enjoy writing or they’re not that good at it.

It’s nothing new, either: ghostwriting has been around, in one form or another, for centuries.

To give you more idea of what it may involve, my own ghostwriting has included:

  • Taking a rough draft, editing it heavily, and expanding on it where necessary.
  • Taking a blogger’s rough notes and transcribing them.
  • Putting together short, functional blog posts (e.g., announcing a new podcast).
  • Taking an assigned topic and very brief outline, then writing a post.
  • Writing a post based on a title and nothing more.
  • Coming up with ideas, getting them approved, then ghostwriting the posts (though this is rare!).

As you can see, ghostwriting has a spectrum from something akin to an editing relationship to writing a piece from scratch.

Of course, I’ve only ghostwritten for blogs.

Authors like Roz Morris write whole books as ghostwriters, which is a far more involved process that includes extensive interviews with the client.

But Why Would You Let Someone Else Take Credit for YOUR Writing?

Assuming you also want to build up your own brand as a writer, why might you want to ghostwrite?

After all, you won’t get any of the credit. Your name won’t appear anywhere on the piece … and you probably can’t tell anyone you wrote it.

But you have plenty of good reasons to ghostwrite. Many writers do it, and many writers love it.

Here are two main benefits:

Benefit #1: Ghostwriting Pays Exceptionally Well


One huge reason to ghostwrite is for the money. It tends to pay better than regular freelancing.

After all, having your name attached to your words is valuable for you as a writer. When you have a byline, you can use that piece of work to showcase your talent, build your reputation, and potentially attract new clients. So it’s appropriate (and standard practice) to increase your fee to compensate for the loss of these advantages.

There’s no exact rule of thumb for how much extra you should charge for ghostwriting over regular freelancing. Personally, I tend to increase my fee by about 15%–20%.

On top of that, once you’ve established a ghostwriting relationship with someone, it often results in ongoing work for you. Most people want their writing to be consistent, so it makes sense to stick to the same writer.

In other words, you have consistent work at a higher rate than usual. That’s quite a plus, isn’t it?

Benefit #2: Develop Closer Relationships with Big Names in Your Field


As a ghostwriter, you’ll normally work quite closely with your client. You may be privy to their rough notes or mind maps, or you might interview them on the phone or in person.

Chances are, you’re also focusing your ghostwriting on a particular area of expertise (especially if you’re writing for a blog).

This means that you’ve got a brilliant opportunity to get to know someone well-established in your field.

You’ll find that you get valuable insights into the “behind the scenes” of a top blog, or you get a clearer idea of how a big-name author works and thinks.

This may be eye-opening! It could give you some ideas for how best to move forward with your own business.

And as you build up closer relationships, or even friendships, with your client, they may well share your other work on social media, bringing you a lot of extra traffic. (Several of the people I ghostwrite for have supported me in that way.)

If you ever need a favor or need some advice, there’s a good chance they’ll be very happy to help.

So much of blogging success depends on getting a helping hand from other bloggers … particularly those with a large audience and a great reputation in their field. Ghostwriting brings you into close contact with exactly those people.

The Counterpoint: Why You Might NOT Want to Ghostwrite

There are a couple of big concerns that writers have about ghostwriting:

“But surely that’s not ethical?”

“But why should they benefit from my hard work?”

“But what about building my platform?”

These are real, valid concerns … and for you, they may be deal-breakers.

So let’s dig into them.

Objection #1: “You’re Helping Someone Fool Their Readers — That’s Unethical”


When you ghostwrite for someone, they pass your words off as their own.

Is that ethical?

The authors who hire ghostwriters certainly think it is! But not all writers or readers agree. Many feel that some types of ghostwriting are more ethical than others.

For instance, think about these two scenarios, which are on opposite ends of the ghostwriting spectrum:

  1. A big-name blogger hires a ghostwriter to write an ebook on their behalf. The blogger talks to the ghostwriter for an hour and provides a detailed outline. Once the ebook is complete, the big-name blogger reads it, edits it, and puts his name on it.
  2. A big-name blogger hires a ghostwriter to write an ebook on their behalf. They give the ghostwriter free rein to come up with the topic and outline, and they don’t supply any help. When it’s done, the blogger puts his name on it without giving it a second look.

Personally, as a reader, I’d feel comfortable with situation #1. The thoughts in the ebook belong to the blogger; the ghostwriter has helped shape those.

Situation #2, however, seems a lot thornier. As a reader, I’d feel cheated by that. I’m buying the ebook because I want the blogger’s expertise … not that of a ghostwriter I don’t know.

If you’re thinking of ghostwriting, you have to make up your own mind about what is — and isn’t — ethical. Where would you personally draw the line as a ghostwriter, if at all?

For more thoughts on the rights and wrongs of ghostwriting, check out Patty Podnar’s post Is Ghostwriting Ethical?

Amanda Montell’s Your Favorite Influencers Aren’t Writing Their Own Content—These Women Are is also quite eye-opening about some of the less ethical practices in the ghostwriting world.

Objection #2: “It’s Too Painful Watching Someone Else Get Praised for YOUR Work”


It may sound silly, but not getting recognition for your writing can be quite painful — unbearable to some.

I have to admit that, as a writer, it can sometimes sting a little to see a blogger receive lots of lovely praise for a post that I wrote every word of. And I’m not alone; many writers find themselves missing the attention and craving the recognition.

It’s no fun watching someone bask in glory that should be yours.

But think of it this way: All that praise is a sign you did a great job. You can be proud of that, and you can feel confident you’ll get hired again!

Also, as ghostwriter Roz Morris points out in an interview with whitefox, it’s not just ghostwriters who go unnoticed by readers:

There are many unsung heroes in the creative industries, and ghostwriters are only one of them. Editors can also make a huge difference to a book and are rarely credited.

So, if you can’t stand watching someone else take the praise, that’s okay. Many writers feel that way. But maybe we should also keep things in perspective.

Sidenote: If you think ghostwriting sounds like a perfect fit for you, and you’re a reasonably experienced writer, I recommend Roz’s course, Become a Ghost-Writer.

Objection #3: “Ghostwriting Keeps You from Building Your Platform”


Even if you’re okay with someone else getting the praise, you may still oppose the idea of letting them take credit.

Some writers feel that, for long-term success, you need to take credit for every word you write and create an impressive body of work with your name on it. They believe that ghostwriting is essentially a waste of time.

After all, when you’ve got a bio (or at least your name) on every blog post you write, each of those posts helps raise your profile. You’ll be bringing in new readers and potentially new clients through your work … without any additional marketing.

This is essentially the argument that Demian Farnworth puts forward in The Brutally Honest Truth About Ghostwriting:

The first thing every writer should ask is this: What do you want to accomplish as a writer? Is building a personal and visible platform important to you? Will it help you in the long run? If you have to ghostwrite to make ends meet, fine. But beat a hasty path out of the business as soon as possible. It’s your turn to run the show.

I certainly think it’s worth putting some serious thought into how best to make ghostwriting work for you. It might be that you want to solely focus on your own platform (heck, you might even hire ghostwriters of your own, some day down the line!)

But there’s no shame in taking ghostwriting jobs to generate a steady income while you build your platform. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. You can do both at the same time.

Ghostwriting takes some focus away, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.

ghostwriting infographic

Will You Give Ghostwriting a Try?

Ultimately, ghostwriting can be a little divisive.

Some writers feel — passionately — that readers deserve to know exactly who wrote the words they’re reading. Others feel building your platform is too important to let someone else take credit.

But ghostwriting is a good way to make money as a writer.

And it doesn’t mean your platform is off the table. You can ghostwrite and have a writing career under your own name. Many writers, including me, simply use ghostwriting as a way to supplement or support their writing passions.

Personally, I think it’s worth it.

Only you can decide whether it’s right for you.

About the Author: Ali Luke blogs about the art, craft, and business of writing at Aliventures. If you’re interested in going further with ghostwriting or any type of freelance writing, check out her epic post: Freelance Writing: Ten Steps, Tons of Resources.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/ghostwriting/

The Brutally Honest Guide to Being Brutally Honest

It’s scary, isn’t it?

Having to tell a truth to someone who may not want to hear it.

Whether you have to tell a friend they’ve been betrayed, inform a client that their ideas suck, or write a blog post to burst your reader’s bubble, hard truths can feel almost as painful to deliver as they are to receive.

Because just the thought of hurting someone is scary. You don’t want that.

And you don’t know how they’ll react. They might think you’re a jerk and cut all ties with you. You don’t want that either.

So sometimes you obfuscate the truth to spare them the pain of hearing it. Sometimes you even keep it to yourself or tell a white lie.

Well, I have to tell you something, and you may not like to hear it. But if you struggle with the art of being frank, you need to hear this. It will make you a better person, a better communicator and a better blogger.

So here it is …

You’re a coward.

If you can’t be brutally honest with people, especially when you know it’s in their best interest, you’re a coward.

Why You Can’t Be a Coward When It Comes to Hard Truths

You’re not doing anyone a favor by withholding a truth from them, even if it’s difficult for them to hear.

The only person you’re protecting is yourself. Because you’re afraid of the consequences to you.

But it’s not about you.

Being honest is about making sure your audience has the information they need to make good decisions. That includes information they may not like.

You may convince yourself it’s “nicer” to hide or obfuscate things that are difficult for them to hear, but it’s not.

Ignorance doesn’t lead to bliss, it leads to bad decision-making. There’s nothing “nice” about that.

And as a blogger trying to help your readers, honesty is that much more important.

Because readers rely on your expertise and your candor.  They rely on you to set them straight when they’re headed the wrong way. They rely on you to guide them in the right direction.

You may fear you’ll lose readers when you tell them a hard truth, but withholding it is far riskier. Because it will hurt your credibility in the long run.

When you’re honest at all times, whether in your writing or in your personal life, people will know what to expect from you. And when they need the truth, you’re the one they will come to.

Yes, you may lose some readers along the way, but you’ll gain the trust and respect of so many more.

The Big Mistake People Make While Being Brutally Honest

Brutal honesty is not about being cruel, rude, shocking, or harsh. That’s not brutal honesty. It’s just brutal.

If that’s what you’re going for, you’re doing it wrong.

Maybe that seems obvious to you, but many people mistake brutal honesty for honest brutality. You’ve probably experienced more than your share. So if it’s that obvious, why do so many people make this mistake?

Because it’s not obvious. In fact, it’s almost counterintuitive.

Many people think that the point of brutal honesty is to shock someone into hearing you. They think that the point is to be so harsh that the other person can’t help but hear the truth.

But that’s not really how it works. Treating people harshly will only make them less receptive to what you have to say, not more.

The point of brutal honesty is to be completely honest and let the truth speak for itself. It’s about not holding anything back — about not telling white lies to make a person feel better, or withholding information they might find hurtful. Those are things we do on a regular basis, and the point of brutal honesty is to stop doing that.

You see, the emphasis in brutal honesty should be on the honesty, not on the brutality.

It is the truth that you need to deliver, and not your delivery itself, that needs to be brutally unrestrained.

Of course, the problem is that being brutally honest isn’t just hard to do—it’s hard to do well. That’s because it’s not just about what you say; it’s also about why, when, and how.

brutal honesty is not about being cruel

3 Common Situations That Call for Brutal Honesty

Honesty is always a good policy, but not every situation calls for brutal honesty. So how do you know when it’s time to hold nothing back?

At the end of the day, it’s about assessing the situation, being clear about your purpose, and using your judgment.

But here are three common scenarios that often call for brutal truth:

#1. When They Want Your Help in Deluding Themselves


Whenever someone comes to you to confirm their delusions, you need to do the exact opposite.

For example, many bloggers might love to hear that all they need to do to make money is write posts and slap ads on them. They might want to hear that riches are right around the corner, even if they only just got started. But what they need to hear is that there’s no such thing as easy success, that it takes time, and that they must adjust their expectations.

Trying to sugar-coat this reality wouldn’t help them.

#2. When They’re Making a Dreadful Mistake


You wouldn’t let a friend walk blindly into traffic without reaching out a hand to pull them back. Hell, you wouldn’t even be so inconsiderate to a stranger.

So why would you let them make a harmful decision without trying to save them from it?

Sure, walking into traffic is likely to cause them serious harm — but so is making a decision that would ruin their career, blow their life savings, or land them in jail.

If they’re about to make a big mistake — or even if they’ve already made the mistake — your willingness to be brutally honest with them might just be the thing that saves them from future pain.

#3. When Subtlety Has Failed


How do you know when brutal honesty is called for?

When nothing else has worked. By all means, try a subtler, gentler approach first—but when nothing seems to get through to them, it’s time to take off the kid gloves and tell them what they need to hear, without holding back.

Situations That Call for Brutal Honesty

These aren’t the only circumstances which call for brutal honesty, but they are frequent ones, and they have two basic principles in common: the hearer badly needs to be told the truth, and yet it is very difficult for them to discover or receive it.

And that’s where you come in.

8 Steps to Being Brutally Honest Without Crushing Anyone’s Spirit

Great. So you understand what brutal honesty is, and what it is not. You know why brutal honesty is sometimes necessary, and when it is appropriate.

Now comes the hard part: How do you actually do it?

Here is an eight-step process to help you deliver that hard truth.

#1. Be Brutally Honest with Yourself


Brutal honesty begins with yourself. If you’re hesitant and tend to shy away from bluntly honest conversations, then the first step is to acknowledge why you hesitate.

Are you afraid of offending people? Ask yourself whether allowing them to continue on a harmful path is kinder than having an uncomfortable conversation with them.

Are you afraid that people will get mad at you, and perhaps cut ties with you? Do you worry about losing readers, subscribers, or clients?

As I mentioned above, ask yourself whether they’re better off not knowing, or whether you just don’t want to be the one to tell them.

Remind yourself that this is about doing what is best for them, not what is easiest on you.

#2. Check Your Motives


In the first step, you checked your motives for not wanting to be brutally honest with someone. In this step, flip that around—ask yourself if being honest with them is really about their well-being, or if it’s about you.

Yeah, that happens, too.

If it’s more about your desire to speak your mind than about what they need to hear, you’re likely to end up falling into that trap of being more brutal than honest.

So ask yourself this classic trio of questions about your message:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it necessary?
  3. Is it kind (or helpful)?

If the answer to all three isn’t yes, it’s time to reevaluate.

#3. Be More Honest than Brutal


Remember, the point is always honesty, not brutality.

You can tell the brutal truth without being brutal yourself. Let the truth be merciless on its own. It is hard enough for many to hear and face. So don’t add to it. Be kind.

Let me say that again: Tell them the whole truth, no matter how brutal it may be, but do it with kindness and empathy.

Be more honest than brutal

#4. Prepare Them for What’s Coming


Don’t just launch straight into the tough love. Give them the opportunity to prepare themselves for it.

Explain that you care about them. Explain that you have to tell them something you believe they need to hear, and prepare them for the degree of honesty they’re about to get from you.

For an example, look no further than what I did in the intro to this post:

Well, I have to tell you something, and you may not like to hear it. But if you struggle with the art of being frank, you need to hear this.

It doesn’t take much. Just a heads-up about what’s coming, so that your audience can put themselves in the right frame of mind for it. Blindsiding them won’t make them more receptive to hearing a brutal truth.

#5. Reveal Your Intentions


Why are you telling them this difficult truth? What do you want to come of it? How is hearing it worthwhile to them?

Understanding what they have to gain from it will make the other person much more receptive to the harsh truth. It will be much easier for them to hear and accept if they genuinely believe that you’re trying to help them.

So take a moment to tell them why you think what you’re about to tell them is the best thing for them.

Again, you can see how I did that in this post. Before I hit you with the brutal truth, I first told you how I thought it would benefit you:

… if you struggle with the art of being frank, you need to hear this. It will make you a better person, a better communicator and a better blogger.

And then, with the benefit still fresh in your mind, I took off the gloves and told you the blunt truth.

#6. Be Short and Sweet


It’s never a good idea to beat a dead horse. As a writer, it’s a great way to get people to stop reading.

But this is even more true when your reader is taking a beating, too. Being told a hard truth is never fun. Sometimes it’s necessary. But having it thrown in your face over and over is something few people react well to.

So get to the point. Make it clearly and succinctly, and move on.

Anything more, and you’re heading back toward being more brutal than honest.

You’re a coward.

If you can’t be brutally honest with people, especially when you know it’s in their best interest, you’re a coward.

Notice how I don’t dwell on the cowardice for too long? Instead, I quickly move on to explaining the reasons behind my remarks.

Keep brutal honesty short and sweet

#7. Stick to the Facts


This is easier for some topics than it is for others. Sometimes the facts are clear, measurable, and objective. You’ve got actual data, research — cold, hard facts. Other times, the issue at hand is a subjective assessment.

But even when the subject matter is wholly subjective, you can keep the discussion focused on the relevant issues.

Be as objective as you can, given the subject matter. Avoid emotional observations. Focus on actions — things the other person has done, or things they need to do — rather than on character and personality.

Most of all, focus on problems that can be solved.

Again, you can see that in my approach to this post. I didn’t dwell on negatives or beat you over the head with character flaws. As you can see below, I focused on the facts — which, in this case, meant explaining why I had just called you a coward by emphasizing things I knew you’d agree with:

“Being honest is about making sure your audience has the information they need to make good decisions. That includes information they may not like.

You may convince yourself it’s “nicer” to hide or obfuscate things that are difficult for them to hear, but it’s not.

Ignorance doesn’t lead to bliss, it leads to bad decision-making. There’s nothing “nice” about that.”

#8. Conclude with a Solution


Don’t leave them feeling bad because of the truth bomb you just dropped on them. Help them figure out a solution. Give them a way forward.

Most of all, tell them how you’re going to help them, and commit to helping them tackle the issue.

How you end the discussion can make all the difference.

Do you want them to feel defeated, beat down, and discouraged? Or do you want them to feel hopeful that there are concrete ways that they can address the issue?

Imagine if I ended this post after calling you a coward, without offering any advice on how to deliver brutal truths. That would make the overall message feel far less benevolent and far more antagonistic, wouldn’t it?

Have the Courage to Tell the Unvarnished Truth and You’ll Win People’s Respect

Telling someone a hard truth can be scary.

Because you don’t know how people will react.

And I won’t lie. Some people won’t like it. Even if you take all the right steps, you may still offend them, and you may still lose them.

But you’ll also gain others who recognize the value of someone they can trust to be honest — the type of people who may never have paid attention to you while you were busy telling everyone what they wanted to hear.

And as you develop a reputation as a person who tells it straight, you will gain people’s respect. You will gain credibility and authority. People will seek out your advice, value your perspective, and appreciate your honesty.

And you will help people—far more than when you were telling them whatever they wanted to hear.

And isn’t that the point?

About the Author: Josh Tucker is the founder of The New Progressive. As a race and social justice writer, he’s no stranger to telling hard truths.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/brutally-honest/

Advice to Writers Who Feel Like a Fraud (from a Writer Who Feels Like a Fraud)

Let me guess …

Every success in your writing career has been a fluke.

When people praise your work, they don’t know what they’re talking about.

You’ll never measure up. You’re not a real writer. And any day now, everyone will see you for the fraud that you are.

That’s how you feel, anyway.

You read other blogs and feel crushed at how little you know and how little you have to offer. You wonder why you even bother with your own blog when so many great writers do it way better than you ever could.

Well, here’s a secret …

Those writers you admire probably feel the exact same way.

Even famous writers like Neil Gaiman, Tina Fey, and Seth Godin are on record that they still feel like frauds — like they don’t deserve their success and they’re getting away with something.

We all do.

The Voice Inside My Head That Tells Me I’m Unworthy

I have been a freelance writer for over three years, but I still feel I have no right to claim that title — writer.

I have a nagging voice inside my head that constantly reminds me of my unworthiness. It tells me to give up before I’m laughed off the Internet. That I’ll never compare to other writers — the real ones.

It provides a symphony of thoughts like:

“Who do you think you are?”

“Why would anyone care what you have to say?”

“Sooner or later, they’ll find out you have no clue what you’re doing.”

I call this voice the “Imp.” Her full name is Imposter Syndrome, and chances are you’ve already met. If you’ve ever had that dread of being outed as a fraud because you don’t stack up to other writers, you’ve experienced Imposter Syndrome, and you have an Imp of your own.

Imposter Syndrome is common across industries, but writers are especially susceptible.

Why is that?

Why Do We Feel Like Frauds All the Frickin’ Time?

Writing is a peculiar profession.

One thing that sets us apart is that we work in isolation.

That means nobody’s around  to tell us we’re doing a great job until we put it out there for total strangers to judge. We’ll often work for a while on a project with no direct feedback, so it’s easy to start second-guessing our ability.

We have nobody to discuss our doubts with, so we are locked into internal conversations, which makes the Imp’s voice sound all the louder.

Working in isolation also means we don’t have any peers around to compare ourselves with, which leads us to compare ourselves with industry giants. No wonder we feel like we don’t measure up!

This also leads to us to create standards for ourselves that don’t exist. After all, you don’t see the time and effort other writers put in. You just see the result. That blog post that seems so effortless could be the result of weeks of work. But when you fail to churn out a perfect first draft, it means you’re an amateur.

The writing profession becomes even more dangerous when you step outside your comfort zone. You may have pitched an article to a large publication, and to your horror, they actually said yes. Then the insecurity takes hold and the fear of being exposed as an imposter rears its familiar head.

Sigh …

So are we doomed to deal with this nagging voice throughout our profession?

I’ll be honest; you may never fully get rid of it.

But you can learn to live with it.

How to Beat Imposter Syndrome: 4 Tips from a Writer Who Knows How You Feel

The first step on your road to recovery is to be aware that isolation, new challenges, and pointless comparisons are common causes of Imposter Syndrome. You may not always be able to avoid them, but if you are mindful of their effect, it will help you wrestle your Imp to the ground when needed.

And here’s how to do it.

#1. End the Isolation and Surround Yourself with Writers


The first step to beating Imposter Syndrome is to tackle one of its main causes: isolation.

You need to make friends with other writers who are at the same stage in their careers. You need to have people around you who understand you, who make you feel part of the writing community instead of an intruder.

Here are a few ways to meet other writers:

  • Join online writing communities (forums, Facebook groups, etc.)
  • Find local writing meetups on meetup.com.
  • Attend writing or blogging conferences.

Meet writers who are your peers, see who you get along with, and then join or start a mastermind group. Get together every week with a small group of people (around 4–6) and discuss what you’ve been up to and what’s been on your mind.

Share your fears and frustrations, and find comfort and reassurance in your similar experiences. You’ll inspire and encourage each other to grow as writers.

And as you grow, give back to the community by mentoring less experienced writers. Not only will you be helping others, your confidence will strengthen as you prove to yourself you do know what you’re doing and people do care what you have to say.

It’s rewarding and empowering at the same time.

Imposter Syndrome Advice #1

#2. Prepare for Failure AND Success (Because Both Can Be Crippling)


The Imp comes with a cruel twist. It won’t just berate you for failures; it will berate you for successes as well.

When a pitch is rejected or an article bombs, your Imp will use it to convince you that you don’t have what it takes.  Having a few failures in a row can make you want to curl up in a ball of despair.

On the other hand, when your writing is successful and gets glowing responses, your Imp will convince you it was a fluke. It will make you feel like you’ve now set expectations you’ll never be able to meet again.

The effect is the same. You procrastinate.

Because no idea feels good enough. You never feel prepared enough. And nothing you write feels like it stacks up.

You get stuck over-analyzing and don’t start anything new.

But the trick to beating your Imp is to keep yourself busy. Because the more you have on your mind, the less time you have to listen to that debilitating inner voice.

So prepare for these situations by creating an action plan. Have a list of tasks ready for whenever they come up, so you won’t have time to drive yourself crazy.

For example, when a pitch is rejected, you might make a point to ask for feedback, find different sites to pitch, or come up with 20 new headlines.

When a post takes off, you might make a point to read all the comments, identify what connected with readers, and see if you can find ideas for a follow-up post.

Whatever you do, stay active, and end each plan with you writing your next post.

Imposter Syndrome Advice #2

#3. Log Your Victories to Reinforce Your Self-Esteem


Most of us have an instinct to devalue our talent. When a post does well, we think we got lucky. When someone compliments our work, we shrug it off.

But those are terrible habits.

You need to take responsibility for your victories.

When a post does well, you did that. When you get a compliment, you earned that.

And you should never forget it.

So log your victories in a “nice things” file. Log accomplishments big and small. Log every compliment you receive. Print them out or store them in Evernote.

Then read them on a regular basis. It will banish your Imp and reinforce your belief that you have talent. It will reinforce your belief that people value your work. Plus, it just feels good.

It’s okay to bask in your own glory from time to time.

Imposter Syndrome Advice #3

#4. Remember That Nobody Expects You to Be Perfect (Except You)


As writers, we put ourselves out there as experts, which can feel intimidating.

You feel pressured to put forth a veneer of perfection. You don’t want to show the cracks in your knowledge, as that would show everyone you’re not an expert at all.

Because you don’t feel like one. You’re certainly not as much of an expert as those other guys, right? Because they know more than you?

So what if someone asks a question you don’t have the answer to?  What if your post doesn’t include everything an expert would know? What if everyone realizes you don’t know everything?

Well, relax. Because readers aren’t looking for the holes and imperfections in your posts. They’re more interested in what you do know than what you don’t. The only one who’s worried about the latter is you.

Readers only care whether your knowledge and experience can help them reach their goals. You may not know as much as that other expert, but if you can do that, you’re expert enough for them.

Remember that.

Imposter Syndrome Advice #4

You Are Not a Fraud, You Are a Writer

Your successes aren’t flukes.

You deserve all the praise you get.

And you are a writer — a real one.

So it’s time you finally convince yourself.

It’s time you fight back, wrestle your Imp to the ground and say, “Enough! I am smart, I am brave, and I earned everything I’ve worked for. I AM NOT A FRAUD!”

I’m right by your side, my fellow writer friend.  Let’s do this together.

Let’s tear down the walls of isolation and surround ourselves with writers. Let’s stop feeling intimidated by success. Let’s stop expecting nothing but perfection from ourselves.

Let’s promise to keep writing no matter what, and let’s take responsibility for all the victories along the way.

Are you with me?

About the Author: Mel Wicks is a freelance copywriter and content marketer. Download her free bonus ‘7 Golden Writing Rules — A No-Fluff, Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Quality Blog Posts’ and be one of the first to hear when her new blog, The Craft of Copywriting, goes live in August 2017.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/imposter-syndrome/

10 Things You Need to Do After You Publish Your Blog Post

Can I ask you a question?

What do you do after you hit the “Publish” button?

If your blog isn’t getting any traction, you probably aren’t doing the right things.

Let’s be real. You can’t just post to social media a few times and move on to the next post. That’s not going to cut it.

You can’t spend all your time writing new posts and then neglect those posts once they’re published.

In fact, you should spend only 20% of your time writing, and 80% getting people to read what you wrote.

But how, you ask?

This post will tell you 10 things you need to do after publishing your post.

It contains an after-publish task list you can use to take your blog from barren wasteland to popular tourist attraction. Follow these recommendations, and you’ll stand to 10X your results from every blog post you publish!

Ready?

Great, then let’s start.

#1. Jumpstart Traffic with a Teaser Email


Your first order of business is to get some immediate traffic to the blog post. The most obvious way to do that is by promoting the post to your own email list.

Now, many people like to include the entire blog post in their emails, but you shouldn’t do that.

Why?

Because that doesn’t get you any traffic! When your subscribers get your full post in their inbox, they don’t need to visit your blog to get the content. Plus, it also makes them less likely to share, comment or read other posts on your blog.

Instead, use a brief “teaser email” that entices your subscribers to click through to your blog and share the post with their friends. This gets the ball rolling so that even people outside of your email list can find your post.

Here’s an example:

Send a teaser email.

Without giving away too much, I linked to the blog post using an enticing call-to-action. I’ve also included a P.S. that invites subscribers to share on social media, including an easy link to share the post on Twitter.

Bonus tip: I used ClickToTweet to create the link.

#2. Deploy a Never-Ending Social Media Campaign


Average bloggers share their posts on social media. Smart bloggers create “evergreen” social media campaigns.

An evergreen campaign is a series of social media updates that constantly recycle themselves. So instead of just sharing your post a few times and calling it a day, your post gets promoted over and over again, on autopilot.

You can set this up by using a tool called MeetEdgar. This tool allows you to create a library of social media updates and a queue that automatically fills itself using the updates in your library.

Here are some ideas for social media updates to add to your evergreen campaign:

  • Share the headline, or a variation of the headline for your post
  • Share a quote or excerpt from your post
  • Share an infographic or image from your post
  • Tag an influencer who you featured in the post

If you can’t afford the $79/month for MeetEdgar, then MissingLettr is a similar product (albeit with more limited features) for only $15/month.

#3. Persuade Influencers to Spread the Word


Reaching out to influencers is a great activity to focus on after publishing. One influencer sharing your post on social media can make the difference between a couple views versus several hundred, or even thousands!

So how do you find these influencers?

One way to find them is by using BuzzSumo. Just go to the Influencers tab, and search for the topic of your blog post. It will show you a list of the top influencers who share content related to that topic.

Use Buzzsumo promote your post.

To see if they are a good influencer to approach, click on the “View Links Shared” button to the right of their name and description. This will show you a list of recent links they shared. Look at the URLs of the links to see whether they commonly share other people’s content.

Use Buzzsumo to find influencers.

I should note that Buzzsumo does cost $99/month. If you’re not already using it and that’s not something you can afford, use their 14-day free trial to search for several niche-related keywords and find as many influencers as you can. (Categorize them by topic so you know for which posts you should reach out to them.)

When your trial runs out, you can google your topic and find high-ranking blogs. Then, find the people behind them on social media and check whether they are good influencers to approach. It may take more time to find good influencers, but it gets the job done.

Once you’ve collected a solid list of influencers, let them know that you have a blog post that they might be interested to share with their audience. (You can either reach out to them via social media, or send them a cold email.)

To learn how to actually persuade influencers to share your post, check out Brian Dean’s guide on how to get influencers to promote your content for free.

#4. Go Hunting for Juicy Backlinks


If you want to get as many eyeballs on your content as you can, you have to help it rise in Google’s ranks.

But you have to provide some hard evidence to show Google your post is worthy of their elusive page one — specifically, you’ll need to get backlinks from high-quality sources in your niche. This shows search engines that your post is also high-quality by association.

To find other blog owners who might want to link to you, do a series of Google searches on your topic. You are especially looking for list posts and resource posts that have lots of links to other blog posts like yours.

Google phrases like:

  • “[your topic] tips”
  • “[your topic] ways”
  • “[your topic] resources”
  • “[your topic] links”

Make a list of blogs that you want to reach out to and then find the contact info of the people in charge. Send them an email explaining that you enjoyed reading their post and that you wrote one on a related topic. Tell them you’d love to know what they think. Then, if you get a positive response, ask whether they’d consider adding the line to their post, if they think their audience would be interested.

Not everyone will say yes, but you should shoot for a 10% success rate or higher (i.e. you should get one backlink for every ten bloggers you ask.)

Bonus tip: Check out Dan Ray’s process for getting 50+ high-quality backlinks per month.

#5. Perform a 10-Minute Internal Link Audit


Speaking of links, that’s something you should take care off on your own blog as well.

Interlinking your blog posts with each other makes them easier for Google to index, helps you rank in search engines, and it keeps readers browsing your blog!

So set 10 minutes aside to do an internal link audit. Take a look at other posts you’ve written and see if you can add any links to them that point to your newly published post.

Add internal blog links.

Make a game of it, and see how many internal links you can add in just 10 minutes!

#6. Answer the Burning Questions on Quora


Another great way to promote your blog post is by answering questions on Quora.

Just search for your topic, and see what questions come up.

Use Quora to promote your blog post.

Then, compose a thoughtful answer (like this one by Ryan Robinson), and link to your related blog post.

Use backlinks from Quora to promote your content.

The key with Quora is to make your answers as helpful and informative as possible. Don’t just drop your link and run … it won’t work.

Quora uses a voting process to display the best answers at the top. Make sure that you are providing value first, and that your answer is worthy of being featured as the top answer!

#7. Repurpose Your Post


Don’t forget that content can take on many different forms other than written blog posts. Repurposing your posts by leveraging different types of content is a very smart (and efficient) way to attract new audiences!

For example, you could record yourself reading your blog post, and turn the recording into a podcast episode. User Experience designer Paul Boag does this for each of his blog posts (and he also embeds the recording at the top of the blog post itself, for visitors who would rather listen than read).

Repurpose your content.

But that’s just one idea. You could also …

  • Turn your post into a slide presentation and offer it as a webinar.
  • Turn it into a video.
  • Create a downloadable PDF version.
  • Take multiple related posts and turn them into an ebook.

You have many options, so use them.

#8. Turn Your Post into a Facebook Ad


Did you know that top blogs will actually turn their posts into Facebook ads to drive more traffic to them?

Well, Facebook ads aren’t just for large blogs with huge advertising budgets … you don’t need to spend more than a few bucks per day.

In fact, I used Facebook ads to grow my email list by 532 subscribers in just 43 days, and for the price of a cup of coffee!

The beauty of Facebook ads is that you can target specific groups of people with them. For instance, you could show your ad to people who like other Facebook pages in your niche. Or you could target people who have an interest in specific topics.

The opportunity that Facebook presents to advertise your blog would be foolish to ignore. The fact is, there are over 1.9 billion monthly users on Facebook. So chances are, your target audience is there! Why not send them to your best content?

#9. Dig Deep Into the Data


This activity is one of the most overlooked, but also one of the most important. If you don’t analyze your post’s performance, how will you ever know what’s working and what’s not?

Set up a Google Analytics account to see whether your promotion strategies are working.

Look at the data a week after your post to see how well it did immediately after publication.

Use Google Analytics to check blog post performance,

Did it get as much traffic to your post as you were expecting?

How long did visitors stick around to read your post, and did they convert to subscribers?

How much of your existing traffic is from social vs. referrals (people linking to your post) vs. direct channels (your teaser email)?

For example, if you have lots of direct but no social traffic, that could mean that you’re doing a great job with your teaser email, but it underperformed in the social arena.

Then, make sure you check the post’s data periodically to see how it’s doing traffic-wise. (More on that in a second.)

To learn more about how to use Google Analytics, check out this crash course.

#10. Remind Yourself to Refresh Regularly


Did you know that “freshness” is an important factor that Google takes into account when deciding whether or not to display your post in the search results?

You should update your best-performing blog posts with new information on a regular basis. Your posts will continue to provide the best content for your readers, and you boost your chances of keeping your rank in the search engines.

The problem is, this is a task that is easily neglected.

So after you click publish, set a reminder for yourself to go check on your post in a year and see whether it warrants refreshment. (I recommend creating a single event for a number of posts, so you don’t drive your future self crazy with weekly reminders.)

Make sure you set the event to repeat every year and set the notification to “email.”

Refresh your blog posts regularly.

Then, when you get a reminder, first check how your post is performing. If it barely gets traffic, it’s not worth your time to refresh. (Though, if you think the post is worth giving a second chance, you could try targeting a new keyword and/or republishing it under a new headline.)

If it is performing well, see if you can refresh your post by:

  • Adding new tips, examples or insights you’ve gained since publication
  • Checking the comments for questions you could address in the post
  • Revising outdated information
  • Checking whether all the links still work
  • Checking whether the resources or tools you recommend are still the best
  • Removing or replacing methods you no longer support
  • Adding or updating images, screenshots, graphs, etc.

Once you’ve made the improvements to your post, mark it as updated. You can either add (Updated) to the end of your headline, or add a message at the top of your post.

Give Every Post the Best Chance You Can

If you think your work is over as soon as you click “publish,” it’s time to think again.

Because what you do once your post is live is even more important than what you do before. Taking your foot off the gas can mean that all the effort you spent writing your post goes to waste.

So instead of writing post after post, spend some time getting people to read the ones you’ve already written. Try some of the above tasks on your older posts, and keep them in mind for your next ones.

Stop neglecting your posts after you publish them and get them the attention they deserve.

And before you know it, you’ll see your traffic soar.

About the Author: Mary Fernandez the founder of Persuasion Nation and the co-founder of AwesomeGuests: a tool that connects you with the top blogs and podcasts seeking guests just like you. Click here to access our fully-vetted database of guest blogging and podcast interview opportunities (plus SmartBlogger-only deals and bonuses)!

Source: https://smartblogger.com/after-publish-blog-post/

13 WordPress Plugins That’ll Save You a Ton of Time

Running a blog requires an insane amount of time.

In fact, there’s not enough time in your day to do everything (especially if you have a full-time job, too).

From learning new ways to get traffic and scheduling social media posts to building your email list and managing comments, you feel stretched to your limit.

And the more you learn and grow, the more you have to keep up with — it’s exhausting.

So what if I told you that you can add a squad of tools to your toolbox that will eliminate a ton of time spent on the more tedious aspects of blogging?

These 13 WordPress plugins are like having a full-time employee that shaves hours off of your blogging work week, so you can get back to doing the important things: writing and connecting with your audience.

Plugin #1: Beacon


If you’re committed to building your email list, content upgrades can increase your subscribers substantially.

My sitewide opt-in offer converts at a rate of around 10% while my content upgrades convert at closer to 25%-30%.

That means that for every 100 visitors to my blog, I can collect 15-20 more emails.

Impressive, right?

But adding content upgrades to every article you publish seems like a daunting task, right?

Not if you use Beacon.

Beacon allows you to create ebooks from your existing articles automatically, right on your WordPress dashboard:

WordPress - Beacon Plugin

If you have several blog posts that could go together in one cohesive ebook, or if you have a long piece of content that could do the same, Beacon can do that for you …

Without having to fiddle around with designing it yourself.

I made an ebook with Beacon for my guide on Instagram marketing in five minutes flat, and it converted at over 20% of visitors.

Massive results in a quarter of the time.

Plugin #2: Pretty Link


With Pretty Link, you can create shorter, more memorable links to any page you refer to a lot. This keeps you from having to hunt down their URLs all the time.

For example, affiliate links can be quite complicated and contain random sequences of numbers that are hard to remember. So if you refer to the same affiliate product a lot, you can create a simpler link like “http://yourdomain.com/productname.”

And you can do the same for any post or page to which you refer often. You can bring each URL down to a memorable keyword and won’t have to spend any time hunting down links.

Just compare:

WordPress - Pretty Link Target URL
WordPress - Pretty Link URL

You can see how the second URL would be easier to remember, can’t you?

And that’s not all. Pretty Link also saves time whenever you have to replace a link you’ve used a lot.

Say you were to change your username on Twitter. You’d have to hunt down every link to your Twitter account and replace them …

Unless you created a Pretty Link that says “http://yourdomain.com/twitter.” You can just go into your dashboard, edit the target URL, and you’re done.

WordPress - Edit Target URL in Dashboard

Plugin #3: SEO Smart Links


When you publish a new article on your blog, do you visit all your previous articles and link them to the new one?

It’s good for SEO and will boost your page views by helping more readers find your content.

But it’s way too time-consuming, right?

Enter SEO Smart Links, which is a plugin that automatically links keywords or phrases in your articles based on rules you set.

For example, I have an article about one of my coaching clients who built a $10,000/month business through one method I teach of finding clients. I set it up so every time phrases like “freelancing clients” or “find freelancing clients”  come up on my blog, they’re automatically linked to this article.

This makes it so I’ll never have to dig through my older posts to create internal links.

Note: This also comes in handy with affiliate links. You can make sure you never miss an opportunity to earn affiliate income by setting an SEO Smart Link.

Plugin #4: Yoast SEO


Let me guess …

When somebody says “SEO,” you want to run for the hills.

For new and even experienced bloggers, search engine optimization is like Mount Everest for beginner climbers. It’s the “holy grail” of traffic generation strategies, yet it’s daunting to execute.

So you could spend the next several months learning about SEO.

Or, you could save yourself hundreds of hours reading case study after case study, researching best SEO practices, and trying to decipher Google-ese by installing Yoast SEO.

Yoast SEO is a WordPress plugin that guides you through optimizing each of your posts through a handy checklist to “grade” how well you’ve optimized your post:

WordPress - Yoast SEO Plugin

You should know the basics of SEO (so you don’t piss Google off), but with Yoast SEO, you don’t need to spend hours studying.

Plugin #5: MonsterInsights


Checking stats is as addictive as Candy Crush and just as unproductive too. When you break your focus from what you’re working on (i.e., important things like writing articles), you sacrifice about 20 minutes of productivity — even if you were only distracted for two minutes.

This is called “task switching” and it’s a huge time suck.

Cutting back on obsessive stat-checking is difficult once you’re hooked, but you can reduce the time you waste with MonsterInsights.

It’s a Google Analytics plugin for WordPress that shows you the most important stats right on your dashboard.

WordPress - Monster Insights Plugin

You’ll no longer have to leave your site to check analytics (and get drowned in the ocean of distracting figures). You can stay inside WordPress, get your quick fix, and move on to writing your post.

Plugin #6: WP Performance Profiler


The speed of your website directly impacts your search engine results.

Meaning that if your blog is slow, Google will penalize you. And often, when your blog is slow, it’s one or more of your plugins that causes the issue.

This is a huge pain to fix.

First, you have to pull up Google’s PageSpeed tester. Then you have to begin disabling your plugins one-by-one. And after every plugin you disable, you have to test the speed again to see if you found the culprit.

That is, unless you let WP Performance Profiler do all the heavy lifting for you.

This nifty plugin costs less than ten bucks and saves you having to dig for problem plugins by reporting the activated plugins that are making your blog lag the most.

It even tells you the impact your plugins have on your site’s front end, which affects how speedy it seems for your readers:

WordPress - WP Performance Profiler

This saves you the time of having to test your site to try and find the offending plugins.

So activate WP Performance Profiler on your blog, deactivate those problem plugins, and get back to doing the important work of a blogger.

Plugin #7: UpdraftPlus


If your blog has never gone down, it probably will at some point, whether it’s because of hosting issues or a broken plugin or theme.

These issues can often be fixed quite quickly, but sometimes it’s not that simple and it wipes some of your blog’s history clean. Worst case scenario: You lose a ton of content.

Unless you install UpdraftPlus, a WordPress plugin that backs up your blog and stores your backup files in DropBox, Google Drive, or whatever remote storage solution you use.

WordPress - UpDraft Plus

This essential plugin will save you time in two ways:

  1. You won’t have to spend hours on the phone or in online chat with your web host trying to restore the last backup of your site.
  2. You won’t have to backup your blog manually. UpdraftPlus will run automated backups on a schedule, so you don’t have to remember to do so yourself.

Trust me, when your website does inevitably break, you’ll be glad you had the foresight to install this plugin.

Plugin #8: Akismet


Have you ever logged onto your blog’s WordPress dashboard and seen comments like this?:

WordPress - Akismet Spam Plugin

Thanks for the compliment, “Petite Clothing.”

These are spam comments that are a huge time waste.

There’s nothing quite as mind-numbing as sorting through comments to identify what’s real and what’s left by robots.

Which is why all bloggers must use Akismet – WordPress’s most popular anti-spam plugin which filters out all spam comments with remarkable accuracy:

WordPress - Akismet Spam Plugin - v2

Plugin #9: WP Broken Link Status Checker


Broken links hurt your SEO and your reader’s experience of your site.

So you need to make sure your links are all in good order, right?

Except that would take hours upon hours. You’d have to go through your posts periodically to check for broken links, testing each one as if you were a reader.

Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Instead, use WP Broken Link Status Checker.

This plugin runs scans which will check all of the links on your website on autopilot based on your own parameters. You can check for internal links, or make sure that your reader won’t bottom out when they click on a link you placed to another blogger.

WordPress - Broken Link Status Checker Plugin

Plugin #10: ManageWP


When you have more than one blog, you can get even more overwhelmed keeping track of everything.

You have a million tabs open on Google Chrome, you waste a ton of time each day flitting between each tab (often to bring up the wrong one), and you can hardly keep up.

Well, look no further, because ManageWP will make your life a whole lot easier.

ManageWP is a WordPress management system that connects your blogs to a single dashboard.

I have three blogs, and this plugin saves me a ton of time going from one to the other. It provides me easy access to each one with a single click, and also provides an easy overview of the security, performance, and analytics of each one.

ManageWP is a must-have for anyone who manages multiple blogs.

WordPress - Manage WP Plugin

Plugin #11: Enable Media Replace


About a year ago, I hired a web designer to overhaul my blog, Unsettle.

When the design was finally done and pushed out to the world, I began to notice little problems:

I needed to replace my old logo on all of the pages it still showed up on. My headshots were out of date on my old content and pages, and a lot of the blog images I had created were no longer relevant.

I had some work to do.

First, I had to upload the new logo, headshots, and blog images to WordPress.

Then, I had to comb through the pages of my blog to update these images, eating up hours of time (and a lot of patience, too).

But then I stumbled across Enable Media Replace: a WordPress plugin that lets you replace the piece of media (in my case, the images) rather than uploading new ones and hunting them down.

WordPress - Enable Media Replace Plugin

Plugin #12: Appointments+


You’ve been there.

You’re trying to book a coaching call, or a time to meet with a potential freelancing client, or maybe just trying to set up a call with a reader, but you can’t find a time that works for you both.

So you spend what feels like hours in your email inbox proposing, rejecting, and rescheduling.

If this sounds familiar, this plugin will give you huge relief. Appointments+ is a plugin that allows you and your clients or readers to book appointments right on your WordPress website …

WordPress - Appointments+ Plugin

Allowing you to get out of your email inbox and save time, frustration, and back and forth.

Note: This plugin is only available as part of a larger package which costs $49/month. On the other hand, you won’t need this plugin until you have enough clients to afford it. (And the package includes other useful plugins as well!)

Plugin #13: CoSchedule


You know the feeling …

You have a million ideas for blog posts (or maybe, like me, you have a million half-written drafts), and you’re overwhelmed. It’s hard to keep everything organized and keep yourself focused.

Sound familiar?

Then try CoSchedule. It will help you manage your editorial calendar and your social media promotions all in one spot, saving you the time of having to flit between different apps.

Plus, you can post to your Facebook Group right from your WordPress dashboard, and it shows how well your social media posts did, saving you from having to find your analytics in a different app.

CoSchedule is another paid plugin, but it’s a huge time-saver that will leave you feeling far more organized and put together.

Get Off the Blogging Hamster Wheel


Sometimes, blogging feels like you’re on a hamster wheel.

You’re busy all the time, but you’re not getting anywhere fast.

My guess is that’s because you’re spending time on some tasks that, while crucial, won’t propel you forward.

So get off the blogging hamster wheel. Automate the boring stuff with these 13 WordPress plugins so you can get back to the meaningful work: the work you thought you were getting into when you started your blog.

And watch your productivity soar.

Sarah Peterson writes insanely useful guides on marketing and entrepreneurship at Unsettle.org. Get her report, 10 Free Tools That Reveal the Product Your Audience Is Begging For to finally start making money from your blog … the right way.

 

Source: https://smartblogger.com/time-saving-wordpress-plugins/