A Super Easy Way to Create Content for Your Blog

There are over sixty people involved in the 31 posts in 31 days blog challenge. As I look over the posts in the Facebook Group, one common theme is the difficulty in creating content for your blog.

One of the simplest ways to create blog posts is to “curate” content from other sites. To curate, you simply post links to information that you come across on the web with a short comment. In a way, you are shifting through all the crap you find online and presenting your readers with some of the best info and resources you’ve come across in your travels.

There are many sites that are strictly curation sites. One of my favorite is Like Cool.

I use this technique occasionally on my BodyworkBiz blog and here are some examples of different kinds of curation so you can see how easy it can be…

Here is an interesting image that I’ve posted. It’s just like posting a picture to your Facebook Page:

http://eric.bodyworkbiz.com/2012/05/if-life-gives-you-lemons/

In this case, I’ve shared a picture, but have taken a few minutes to mark up the picture to make a point:

http://eric.bodyworkbiz.com/2012/08/proof-that-education-has-not-changed/

You can share articles. This article just happens to be mine, but you can share others:

http://eric.bodyworkbiz.com/2011/10/6-steps-to-build-a-better-practice/

You can post a YouTube video by embedding it in your post:

http://eric.bodyworkbiz.com/2011/03/is-massage-a-dream-job/

Here’s a link to an entertaining blog post about man hugs:

http://eric.bodyworkbiz.com/2010/06/its-okay-to-be-hugged/

You may have a favorite product that you use and that you’d like to share (I pay for this service and this post also contains an affiliate link):

http://eric.bodyworkbiz.com/2011/01/a-fantastic-online-service/

You can also collect a series of blog posts (either your own or others) to create a guide of sorts:

http://eric.bodyworkbiz.com/2012/08/free-massage-blog-guide/

Or you can simply list a series of posts around a theme. That’s exactly what I’m doing with this post that you are reading right now on the topic of curation. You can see another example here:

http://eric.bodyworkbiz.com/2012/08/top-5-bodyworkbiz-blog-posts/

When new research comes out, summarize the study briefly and share your opinion. Here’s a very popular blog post that does that:

http://eric.bodyworkbiz.com/2012/04/can-chair-massage-replace-psychotherapy/

So the next time you come across an interesting site or resource, create a draft post in your blog with the link and when you find yourself pressed to come up with content for your blog, then simply write a couple sentences about that resource and post. Easy peasy blog content.

Top 5 BodyworkBiz Blog Posts

As I’ve been talking about blogging over the past month, I’ve been taking a look back at my own blog over the past year. In my last post I started my countdown of the top ten. You can see number 10 to 6 here.

Here is a countdown of the remaining five most popular blog posts on the BodyworkBiz blog over the past year as determined by number of page views.

 5. Can Chair Massage Replace Psychotherapy? Here is a summary of what I think is one of the most important massage studies of the past decade. This may be the most shared and talked about post on my blog.

4.  Push Your Limits – Grow Your PracticeIf you’ve been reading my newsletters or my blog you may have seen videos or pictures of me doing rock climbing and some of the climbs seem a little extreme. However, I’m far from fearless and the lessons learned in the process of doing these things applies directly to the success of your practice. (You also get to see me challenge myself physically and mentally in a workout.)

3. A massage logo: Is it really necessary? Apparently developing a logo is a big concern for massage therapists.

2. How Did This Man Eat an Airplane? It’s really quite a remarkable story of a guy that ate a plane. The moral: You can do anything if you do it one bite at a time.

And the number one most popular post of the past year…. (drum roll, please)….

1. The Importance of Failing: A quote by Michael Jordan. I don’t know why exactly why this page ranks so highly in Google for the search term “Michael Jordan”, but apparently it does.

 

Top 10 BodyworkBiz Blog Posts

As I’ve been talking about blogging over the past month, I’ve been taking a look back at my own blog over the past year.

Here is a countdown of the ten most popular blog posts on the BodyworkBiz blog over the past year as determined by number of page views.

10. Back Pain Flowchart. I often share resources and tools in my blog, much like others share links on Facebook. I loved this flowchart and apparently so did a lot of massage therapists making this the 10th most popular post of the past year.

9. Free Chair Massage Course. I love chair massage. Massage therapists love “free”. The two combined in perfect harmony in this post announcing the re-release of this meaty little e-course. (It’s still available at no cost.)

8. Stop Giving Referrals. Sometimes a small shift in your point of view can dramatically alter the way you run your business and ultimately your success. Here’s a shift in thinking on the topic of referrals.

7. In Defense of the Leadership Summit. I try my best to stay out of the politics of massage, but there is so much misinformation and derisive trash talking going on over a project started by the leaders of the top seven massage organizations in the USA that I had to say something.

 6. Six Steps to Build a Better Practice: Here’s a link to a popular article that was featured in Massage & Bodywork magazine. The article should have been called “Six things you can do this week to increase your income immediately”

I’ll continue the countdown tomorrow. Be sure to subscribe to this blog to get notifications of new posts sent directly to your inbox. 

Making Blog Comments Meaningful

The Comments section is NOT the place to promote your business. If you do that you’re comment will probably be nixed and you’ve just wasted your time. Although some people may occasionally click the link on your comment, it’s not likely to provide you with any significant traffic.

As with the discussion list or forum postings, be sure to add some value to the conversation. For example, don’t simply comment by saying, “Nice post.”

Here’s an example of a comment from a real blog post about procrastination. You can see it’s just a couple of sentences and only took two minutes to write, but it adds to the conversation:

Linda P. [Note: In the real post this links to Linda’s website]
February 25, 2012 at 8:22 am
I’m a procrastinator so this is something I always need reminders of. Also I think I am a perfectionist so it is hard to start something that I know I might not finish completely or perfectly. Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks.

A few suggestions for this type of comment:

  • Keep it short and sweet. Just add one piece of useful information or one idea.
  • Don’t be afraid to add a personal story or anecdote.
  • Play devil’s advocate. This is much more likely to get people’s attention (and the blogger’s attention).
  • Only include links if the page you are linking to is highly relevant to the post topic.

Honestly, trying to get direct traffic from posting like this is probably not the best use of your time, but if the opportunity arises, take advantage of it.

The Value of Blog Commenting

So you certainly want to activate the comments feature on your blog. This will allow readers to post a comment on any one of your blog posts.

Make sure that you set up your blog so that you get notifications when someone posts. That way you can reply to the comment immediately if a response is required.

Spammers will use blog commenting to get links back to their own site, so I suggest youdo not auto-approve comments. Instead manually approve each one. My blog is set up so that I approve the first post from a new commenter, after which all subsequent comments from that person are auto-approved.

Using comments to get backlinks and visitors

You can use commenting to get backlinks to your own site, but you should never do this in a spammy way. Make sure you are always providing value to the other blog readers.

How does commenting on other people’s blogs get you banklinks?

Typically when you leave a blog comment you will be asked to enter in your name, your website URL and your email address. Your email address is not displayed, so don’t be too concerned about giving it up.

Typically, what you enter as your name is hyperlinked with the website URL you provide. This allows you to add some relevant anchor text to your link. So instead of signing the blog post with your given name, use keywords related to your website, i.e. Toronto Massage Guy.

Not all comment links are equally useful. Although some blogs put no conditions on site links, most blogs insert a “nofollow” tag in each post that tells the search engines not to follow the links on the page (the comment links). However, it is still a backlink and still has value.

Personally I’m not a fan of commenting for the sole purpose of getting traffic to your site or blog. I’d rather participate in discussions in a meaningful ways and see the back links as a side benefit.

So subscribe to some blogs that you enjoy. Set aside some time to comment on posts that interest you from week to week.

Submitting Your Blog to Directories

Previously we talked about RSS Feeds. By listing your blog URL and RSS feed in directories you can get backlinks and expose your site to potential visitors and the search engines. This is just another part of your off-page search engine optimization.

Here are some of the top blog directories you should consider listing in. These are  listed roughly in order of importance, so if you only have time to do three, list in the first three listed below:

www.bloglines.com
www.technorati.com
www.blogarama.com
www.blawg.com
www.blogcatalog.com
www.blogexplosion.com
www.blogflux.com
www.feeds4all.com
www.feedcat.net
www.chordata.info
www.lsblogs.com
www.plazoo.com

Of course it takes some time to do this (probably several hours to post to the ones mentioned above). So why not have someone do it for you. I’ve mentioned Fiverr in a previous post. There are a lot of people on Fiverr who will submit your RSS feed to a number of blog directories for just five bucks.

I think this is now post 19 of 31.

Google Doesn’t Rank Websites

This is Part 4 in a series of posts on getting your massage blog ranked in Google. You can read the other posts starting here.

It may come as a surprise that Google doesn’t rank your website, but it’s true…

Google and the other search engines don’t rank your website as a whole, but rather rank individual pages within your website, or in this case your blog.

So it may not always be the home page of your blog that shows up in search results. In fact, it will likely be a specific blog post that shows up in the results.

What does that mean to you? It means that you can increase your chances of catching Google’s eyes dramatically by creating a variety of pages on your site each with a different focus. It’s also important to have backlinks, not just to your home page, but to other site pages as well. Let me give you an example to make this more concrete…

If have one page that lists all modalities I use in my practice (including reflexology), It would be difficult for Google to consider that page important if someone went online and searched for “Dallas reflexology” because all modalities have equal billing.

However… if I create a page about “Dallas reflexology” and have other posts on my site that look at various facets of reflexology and reference my “Dallas reflexology” page with a link,  then suddenly my page has a very clear focus for people searching for “Dallas reflexology”. Google sees that as being relevant information for searchers and will likely rank that page highly in the search results when someone types that term into the search box.

Now that you have an basic understanding how Google is going to rank your blog pages, start your list of terms that people are likely to type when looking for your services and every once and a while use one of those terms as the theme for a blog post.

Subscribe to the BodyworkBiz blog to get more posts like this sent directly to your inbox and save yourself the time of logging into this blog daily.

Basic Blog SEO – Part 3

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) to get your blog pages ranked, Google looks at two things to determine how high it will rank your blog pages in the search results:

  1. The content of your page (called on-page factors)
  2. What others are saying about your website (off-page factors)

In my last post we looked at the on-page factors, that is, the words on the page. (If you haven’t read it yet, it might be a good idea to look it over before reading this post.) Today we’ll look at the off-page stuff…

Off page stuff

Now let’s look at the stuff that’s not on your site and that Google factors into their ranking. These factors could account for 60% to 70% of your ranking.

The guys that developed the Google search algorithm had a simple idea that they took from the field of research. When you look at a scientific research paper you’ll find that the writers will cite information from other researchers. The more a researcher is cited in these papers, the more important she is considered to be. The most frequently cited researchers are considered experts or authorities in the field. That’s the same principle that Google uses to determine the real value of a site.

If lots of other sites are making references to your site by publishing links to your website, then Google makes the assumption that your site must be important and one that should be ranked more highly in the search engines.

Google looks for and keeps a record of how many links there are to your site (called back links). It also considers the source of those links, (i.e. do they come from other reputable sites?) and looks at the words that are used to link to your site (called the anchor text) to get additional clues as to what kind of content those links point to.

The Real You…

After all this analysis Google has essentially two snapshots of your site, one that shows what your site looks like from your perspective (on-page factors) and one that shows what your site looks like to the outside world (off-page factors).

Just as in real life, the way we see ourselves and the way others see us don’t always match. So Google combines these different viewpoints to get a more accurate idea as to what your site is about and the value of your pages. Then the Google engineers add some other secret special ingredients and come up with a ranking for each of your pages.

This is the third of four posts on optimizing your massage blog for Google. Subscribe to the BodyworkBiz blog to get new posts sent to your inbox automatically.

Getting Ranked in Google – Part 2

Be sure to read Part 1 before reading today’s post.

Part of getting a top ranking page in Google is providing content related to what searchers are looking for. This on-page stuff is responsible for 20% to 30% of your ranking. So it’s extremely important that the content is relevant to a searcher’s query.

I’ve talked about “search intent” in an earlier post. Providing valuable information and viewpoints is an excellent way to showcase your expertise. Ideally, however, you want to connect with people who are wanting to purchase massage, so at least some of your pages should have commercial intent. That is, you want people who are looking to spend their money on massage to find you.

So if you are a massage therapist in Dallas, what are searchers in Dallas going to be typing into the search box when they want a massage?

You don’t need to be a genius to figure out that they will likely type “massage Dallas”or if they are an informed consumer, “massage therapy Dallas” into the Google search box.

So at least some of your blog pages should have “Dallas massage” or “Dallas massage therapy” as a topic or theme.

What else might they type into the search box that has commercial intent?

How about “massage therapist Dallas” (title search) or “reflexology Dallas” (modality or service type search) or “massage downtown Dallas” or “hotel massage Dallas” (location-specific searches)?

So compile a list of some of the most likely search terms and create a blog post using those words as the theme of your post. Try to use them in the post title, headline, and once or twice in the body of the post.

For example, you may want to have a separate page with some information on each modality you offer (Dallas reflexology, Dallas facials). Again, Google will see each of these pages as being very much related to the searcher’s request when they type in those particular terms into the search box and will rank that specific page high in the search results when someone has a specific need they are looking to fill.

Matching words in your blog post with search terms is extremely important. If you type the words “massage and sleep disorders” into Google, you’re likely to see this page of the ABCs of Massage Therapy blog in the first page of search results because it was optimized for that term. Type in “massage and insomnia” and it’s unlikely to show up.

In terms of getting ranked at the top of Google, it doesn’t really matter to Google that your site looks beautiful. What matters most is that your site is relevant to what the searcher is looking for.

So it’s our job that we help Google identify what you do and how you can help the searchers who use their search engine. That’s what makes our website super sexy in Google’s eyes and is the basis of Search Engine Optimization for you blog.

This is the second of four posts on optimizing your massage blog for Google. Subscribe to the BodyworkBiz blog to get new posts sent to your inbox automatically.

What’s an RSS Feed

One of the unique features of a blog is what’s called an “RSS feed”. The RRS stands for “really simple syndication”. Without getting technical, an RSS feed is really just a easy way to publish or share your blog content.

For example, if you go here: http://www.squidoo.com/massage-therapy-logos and scroll down to the part that says “More Business Tips” you’ll see how I’ve inserted my RSS feed into this page so that my blog posts are updated automatically.

You may find opportunities to use your RSS feed in this way and some people may want to subscribe to your blog using an “RSS reader”.

What’s also interesting is that many website owners will look for RSS feeds to publish (or syndicate) on their own sites. So it makes sense to list your blog URL and RSS feed in various blog directories to make your blog easier to find.

An RSS feed is a link. The BodyworkBiz Blog RSS link looks like this: http://feeds.feedburner.com/EricBrownBlog. You may need to go into the settings of your blog to find your RSS feed.

If you are using blogger your RSS feed should be:

http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss (replace blogname with the name of your blog)

If you’ve installed WordPress on your site the RSS feed is usually:

http://yourdomain.com/wp-feed.php (replace yourdomain.com with your own domain name)

Tomorrow we’ll look at submitting your blog URL and RSS feed to directories for higher rankings and more traffic.