The Importance of Frequency for Blogs

BloggingRecently I’ve been experimenting with a new Website: Country Music Life.

You can see more about the transition from HBM to CML with HBM Introduces Country Music Life.

Over the first three and half months of working on CML I’ve noticed some interesting things. I thought I’d share some of the findings so you can take them and perhaps use them in your own blogging.

Some of the things I’ve learned that I didn’t really know or understand prior to working on CML include:

  • The importance of post frequency
  • The importance of linking out
  • The balance of traffic sources

I’ll also throw in a few other tips from CML. Let’s take a look…

Frequency Blog Posting

On HBM and previously on DayneShuda.com I would try to get about 5 posts on the blog each week. This took a lot of time since it took me a good two hours or sometimes more to research, write, and link each blog post. For HBM I like to have posts at or above about 1,000 words.

This frequency served HBM well. Traffic continued to grow and there was a good amount of search traffic coming to the site each day.

With CML I’ve been trying to post about 10 times per week. Sometimes I’m able to get more posts up and sometimes a bit less, but overall I think it averages out to about 10 per week. The posts I write for CML are a bit different however. I like to write Featured posts or ‘snack’ posts along with more in depth Heading posts.

Featured Posts

Featured posts are about 300 to 500 words long. I usually look for country music news like a new song, album or some interesting tidbits on today’s hottest country artists. I’ll link to the news stories and provide my own thoughts.

This format allows me to post more frequently and the result has been big search traffic on a few terms like ‘come back song darius rucker‘.

Heading Posts

Heading posts are where I’m able to get a bit more in depth than just interpreting country music news. For these posts I like to write list posts that cover some high trafficked search terms like ‘sad country songs’ or ‘country wedding songs’. I’ll compile a list of about 50 songs to fit each category and write a bit about each.

Higher Frequency

This posting strategy has been great for increasing traffic. The traffic at CML is already five times higher than traffic ever has been for HBM. I credit this to demand in the niche (marketing vs. country music) as well as post frequency.

If you’re able to I recommend a blog posting strategy that allows for higher frequency posting. The more posts you can write that are still quality will increase your traffic. You’ll have more content for the search engines to rank and you’ll also give people a reason to come back to your site more.

Linking Out To Other Blogs

Just as I do with HBM I link to other blogs with CML. For each of the Featured posts on CML I like to link to about 2-5 blog posts about the same subject. This has led to some good traffic from pingbacks on other blogs. Linking out also allows you to get introduced in a way to other bloggers. Editors of sites and blogs love getting links. It means traffic and anchor text for them along with some respect from newcomers in the industry.

I recommend linking out as much as you can. It’s beneficial for you on multiple levels.

Balance of Traffic Sources

One thing I’m currently monitoring for CML is the source of the traffic. Currently I have a high percentage of traffic coming from natural search via Google. While this is good I don’t want to have all my eggs in one basket. Google has bee known to cut traffic instantly for even popular blogs.

I’m working to get traffic from other sources:

  • Referring blogs
  • Pingbacks
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email newsletter

It’s important to diversify your site’s traffic. Don’t let it be the end of the world if one traffic source disappears completely. Right now I’m treading on thin ice with the way my traffic sources are spread out.

Summary

It’s been great working on a new site. I’ll try to keep up with HBM as it’s still one of my babies. I’m on the one post per month frequency right now and it’ll probably stay that way. There is still a bunch of stuff in the archives if you’re new to the site so be sure to check things out.

I’ll try to write mostly about what I see in the blogging world and interpret how it affects the hunting industry.

So stay tuned.

And if you’re interesting in country music please sign up for the CML Newsletter.

Bonus – Lists Are Still Big

I’ve continued to see the impact lists can have on a blog. My goal for CML is to interpret country music news with the Featured posts while providing more in depth articles with the Heading posts. These Heading posts frequently including lists of country songs country fans search for and find enjoyable.

Here are a couple examples:

So if you haven’t already made lists a part of your blog be sure to experiment with a few. They can lead to an increase in traffic and page views.

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Write About What Your Audience Finds Interesting

Writing

Image courtesy of lowjumpingfrog

A difficult thing for most bloggers is to write about what the target audience finds interesting…not what the writer finds interesting.

A lesson I’ve learned with blogging is there is a balance between writing about things that interest you and things that may interest your audience more. In the best case scenario you will find topics to write about that both you and your audience find interesting. It’s difficult to find topics that interest you and your audience.

The balance plays an important part because to have a successful blog you need to write about topics that keep you interested. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself getting bored or tired of writing. To have success, you need to cover topics that keep you interested. This is especially important when traffic has some down days and people don’t seem to have as much interest.

On the other hand, to build a strong following and to build up enough traffic to monetize a site you’re going to need to write about topics that have a passionate audience. Both on HBM and CML (Country Music Life) I’ve written posts that I was deeply interested and passionate about. These posts often fell on deaf ears. Readers simply didn’t have the same interest as I did. On other occasions I’d write about topics that I saw as throwaway or not as important and they would take off and traffic and interest would soar. Blogging is funny that way.

So the key with blogging is to research and write about the topics that interest your audience. This is essential for building a successful blog. But also throw in a few topics every once and awhile you find interesting. Write those articles for yourself and don’t expect much. On the special occasions you’ll find that you and your audience both find something interesting. This is when blogging is most rewarding.

Building the Right Audience

Building the right audience for your blog takes time and it can be a tricky process. The lure to seek out any able person to read or simply just open a page on your blog or site is so tempting. Numbers and money talk and in blogging it’s all about how many visitors and page views you can get. That’s what impresses advertisers, potential publishers, and even search engines.

However, when it comes to building a sustainable blog and Website, building the right kind of audience is important. The right kind of audience means finding the people that are truly passionate about the topics you write as well as being passionate about the way you cover those topics. These are long time readers. These are subscribers. These are people that check your site frequently each day for updates. These are people that share your content with their friends.

It’s tough to find these people, but the lifetime value of a reader like this is much higher than 10 or even 100 one-time visitors.

Conclusion

For a successful blog, you need to find your balance of topics that interest your target audience and you. The mix should be heavily skewed toward your audience with the occasional topic that keeps your interest.

To reach your target audience you’ll have to do research. You need to find the sites your audience already reads. What articles to they love the most on these sites? What articles does your audience comment on the most? Where is the most interaction and sharing?

It takes time to build a sustainable blog and most give up before reaching their potential. Keep the balance of interest for your target readers as well as yourself and don’t give up. Take the time to build the right audience.

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HBM Introduces Country Music Life

Introducing my latest venture: Country Music Life.

Guitar

Image courtesy of keela84

With $75 and 2-months I was able to create a site around one of my passions: country music.

If you’ve been following Hunting Business Marketing for awhile now you’ve probably realized my passion for country music.

As a reminder, here are a few posts I’ve written that have included a country music twist:

Don’t Rock The Blog Title

What Do Hunting, Country Music, and Your Hunting Blog have in Common?

10 Inspiring Country Music Videos for Hunting Businesses

Lessons From Crazy Heart

10 Country Song Lyrics to Inspire Your Hunting Business

Staying Power – Why Some Businesses (Like Classic Country Songs) Have It and Some Don’t

The Best Country Songs You’ve Never Heard – A Lesson in Marketing

The Merle Haggard Guide to Everlasting Success

The George Jones Successful Career Guide

The George Strait Guide to a Lifelong, Fulfilling, and Successful Career

Red Light! Something Different, Second Chances and Persistence

Albert of The Rasch Chronicles correctly noted my music passion as he mentioned that I must be an audiophile.

Well, after some thinking and encouragement from those close to me I decided to start experimenting with a country music site.

Country Music Life

Country Music Life

Country Music Life provides the products country music fans need to live a quality life.

My vision for CML is to write about the news and happenings in country music and relate it to the everyday lives of country music fans.

The categories you’ll notice on CML are:

1) Music

2) Shoes & Clothes

3) Home Décor

4) Electronics

These are the basic categories any country music fans needs in their lives – music being one of the most important.

To start, the individual category stores are setup through Amazon Associates. In the long run, if traffic grows and demand for sales grows, I’d look to move into drop shipping, fulfillment, and warehousing inventory to sell.

That’s an extremely long-term vision and lots can happen and change on the site in the meantime.

Strategy

The strategy for CML is to build an audience of dedicated country music fans that are seeking quality content relating to their favorite passion: country music.

As a way to connect their lives with country music – the music and the artists – CML will provide the products necessary for a quality country music life.

The blog posts on the Country Music Life Blog will be either Latest News or Top Stories. The latest news posts will be short highlights of news from around the Web. Top stories will be in-depth articles covering various topics including new music, music reviews, lists, and artist exclusive stories.

This strategy is built on providing quality long-form content to please the most passionate country music fans while providing the latest news for fans seeking quick content throughout the day.

Traffic

In the coming months, I’ll continue posting articles on CML while also looking for opportunities to guest post on complementary blogs.

Any traffic from search engines usually takes 3-6 months (probably closer to 6) to start for a brand new site.

A few of the terms I’ll be targeting include:

Country Music Life

Country Music

Jason Aldean (other artist names as well…)

Country Merchandise

Country Music Blog

Along with the blog posts, I’ve also setup a format for Country Artists pages. Take a look at the page for Jason Aldean. The page includes a short biography, music info (with links to Amazon), and a few of his most popular videos.

Design

The design of the site is a work in progress.

To allow for ease of launch, I used the same free template I use for HBM and made a few slight modifications to the CSS and PHP.

The logo was made courtesy of the wonderful Sarah of Sarah Lynn Design.

I’m still working on adding an introductory image to the home page while cleaning up a few other things, but for the most part I’m happy with where CML is at right now.

Summary

It’s been two weeks and $75 since I decided to start Country Music Life.

I’ve been working hard to get some content created to make the site presentable and I’m excited to share it with you.

Note: The $75 was for domain and hosting expenses.

I’ll continue to write about the progress of CML as it pertains to the interests of you at HBM: Marketing, SEO, Blogging, etc.

I hope you take the chance to visit the new site and share it with your friends that enjoy country music.

It’s expected that CML will take time away from HBM, but my hope is to continue providing valuable content on HBM while providing marketing consulting as well.

Take care and thanks for continuing to support HBM. J

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10 Awesome Hunting Blog Designs

Design is important for success.

I’ll often write about design and inspiring images, art, and photography here at HBM and try to relate it to success in the hunting industry. I’m a big fan of interesting design that captures attention.

Looking at collections of photographs or Website designs helps to inspire new ideas and to continue to strive for improvement.

I think the visual aspect of hunting blogs is just as important as the content included on the site. Your readers not only want to take in the content, but they want what they’re looking at to be visually appealing as well. It’s an important part of Website development.

I won’t say that design is lacking in the outdoor blog world, but let’s just say that there is always room for improvement.

Here are 10 of my favorite hunting blog designs…

10) Wildlife Callers

Wildlife Callers Blog

Website: Wildlife Callers Blog

The subscribe call-outs are right at the top right to put importance on acquiring new names for the list. The text is black and the background is white. A great design for a store blog.

9) Hunting Life

Hunting Life Blog

Website: Hunting Life Blog

The page is simple in design and not busy. There isn’t much distraction from the content in each post. Images are used to enhance almost every post. I also love the rotating images at the top of the site.

8) Bowhunting.com

Bowhunting Blog

Website: Bowhunting Blog

The entire Bowhunting.com site is one of my favorites. The stuff surrounding the blog content gets a little busy, but that doesn’t take away from the good use of red, black, and gray in the blog design. It’s easy to read and comprehend.

7) Bulls and Beavers

Bulls and Beavers

Website: Bulls and Beavers

I really like the big image that previews the headline story on Bulls and Beavers. Using images is a great way to encourage visitors to your home page to visit your individual blog posts.

6) Wired to Hunt

Wired to Hunt

Website: Wired to Hunt

A great use of white space on this site (which I love). The main focus is the content. The search is also visible and easy to use at the top right.

5) Native Hunt Blog

Native Hunt Blog

Website: Native Hunt Blog

The site has a wide format with an appealing, outdoor feeling look. The design matches the business site – Native Hunt. This is a great way to allow readers to visit the two sites seamlessly.

4) Whitetail 365

Whitetail 365

Website: Whitetail 365

A classic hunting and outdoor publication gets it right with the design of their site and blogs. I love the use of white space on this blog. The three-column layout highlights all of the important content above the fold while allowing the main blog content to take center stage.

3) Muskoka Outdoors

Muskoka Outdoors

Website: Muskoka Outdoors

I’ve always loved the design of this site. A nice, big picture promo area on the home page to highlight the top or most recent posts. The whitespace is great. It’s a clean and crisp site that is all about focusing on the ease of absorbing the content.

2) Michael Waddell’s Blog

Michael Waddell's Blog

Website: Michael Waddell’s Blog

This is a great contrasting color blog and site design. It seems like a lot of outdoor-related sites like to use dark and bold colors in some way. I prefer white space with some dark, gradient colors. Michael’s blog uses a black border/background, but utilizes whitespace effectively for the blog. It’s easy to read and comfortable for the eyes.

1) New Archery Products

New Archery Blog

Website: New Archery Blog

This is a favorite design of mine overall for hunting sites and the blog matches the site so I had to include it. It has a nice wide format. The font is read to read against the white background.

Blog Design

If your blog is need of a design tune-up, there is no better place to turn to than Sarah Lynn Design.

Sarah and her team will create a customized blog design to match your needs and the visual needs of your readers.

Website: Sarah Lynn Design and Sarah Lynn Design Portfolio

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Write Blog Posts for One Person

It can be difficult to focus on your exact target audience.

Yellow Flower

I advocate blogging to just about every person I encounter.

Please see:

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There are many reasons blogs are a beneficial way to spend time for various people in various professions.

Business professionals can grow a following of folks that share interests in various products and services.

Community leaders and non-profits can grow a following of folks with similar demographics to foster understanding and tolerance.

Newly graduated college students can create a blog that demonstrates their worth vs. the other recent graduates as well as their worth against experienced workers. (This is vital in today’s employment environment).

The biggest reason, I feel, blogs are beneficial for most everyone is the ability to regular, relevant content to an audience. The nature of blogging fosters a following or community with specific interests. Blogging creates a type of list – a term used frequently in the direct mailing and email industry. And most professionals in those industries will tell you, “The money is in the list”.

After most folks realize the benefits of creating a blog, they begin writing content and experimenting with their posts to find out who their audience is. This is a great learning experience for most, but something that is difficult for bloggers both new and experienced is determining the single target audience member.

Single Target Audience Member

Often when I read blogs that are right on the cusp of breaking out with great traffic and attention, I’ll see posts that seem to target different audiences.

One post may cover how to use food plots to attract deer while the next may cover how to blog about deer.

It’s an easy mistake to make (I’ve done it) to blog about something not on topic with what you’re building your audience around. There will probably be some readers that want to read about how to blog about deer, but for the most part, in this example, the readers want to know how to hunt deer.

The key to successful blogging is determining the one person you’re writing your posts for.

With each post you write, think about your audience and get it down to one person. The person can be fictional, but I like using actual folks when I’m crafting a post. It seems to help with the words I use, the tone I use, and the way I cover a topic. It also helps me keep posting somewhat regularly, which is important for maintaining loyalty and repetitive visits from your core audience.

I stray sometimes for the sake of shaking things up – for my own sake to keep things fresh and for the sake of the readers. There is always the temptation to expand the audience and grow in scale, which is usually a good thing – having more readers. It’s a balancing act – writing quality, focused content while growing your audience as large as you can.

Multiple Target Audience Members

As I just mentioned, writing to multiple audiences can work for some bloggers if done correctly. And there is no, one way to do it correctly.

A situation where writing to a different audience may work:

Blog: Dave’s Hunting Blog – Deer hunting tips

Normal Post: How to Use Food Plots to Attract Deer

Multiple Audience Post: What Hunting Companies Are Doing Wrong

The multiple audience post will cover the things hunting companies are doing wrong in serving their customers: hunters. This post has the potential to both generate discussion amongst the hunters that agree with Dave and the companies that may stumble upon the blog post and realize there is an audience on the blog they can connect with while improving their service.

Summary

This post is mostly a reminder to me that my single target audience member for this blog is hunting bloggers. There are other folks that read this blog and that is wonderful, but for the most part, I try to write every post with a single person in mind as the audience: a dedicated blogger in the hunting industry. Sometimes I forget and you’ll see posts that are irrelevant to this person, but I try to stay on task.

What are your thoughts on writing for a single person?

Have you had success with a different strategy?

Please share your observations in the comments.

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15+ Hunting Companies Connecting With Bloggers

Quality hunting companies have shown eagerness to connect with bloggers

The Sportsman Channel

After writing How to Connect with Bloggers, I realized that it might be valuable to list hunting companies I’ve come across that have shown a willingness to reach out and connect with bloggers for mutual benefit.

Although there are instances of great relationships amongst bloggers and hunting businesses, it still seems like there is a disconnect existing between the two sets of passionate folks.

As Ben of Ben G. Outdoors said in the comments, “I’m not sure why some [companies] don’t respond [to blogger outreach], but I feel they are missing free marketing.”

Ben is exactly right.

Hunting Companies Need to Reach Out and Respond

It’s amazing that some companies will ignore emails from bloggers that are eager to write about them and their company.

Who turns down free, positive press?

Some companies even pay top dollar for the kind of media write-ups bloggers actively engage in.

In my experience, there are a number of quality companies that are willing to connect and engage with bloggers. These companies aren’t looking at the connection as a one-way street either. They are willing to offer value to bloggers (in various forms).

Bloggers Need to Reach Out and Respond

Even the content and ideas a company can provide seems like something bloggers should be willing to accept. Access to companies and people in the hunting industry that are seen as authorities in the hunting world should get bloggers excited.

There is value in a relationship for both bloggers and hunting companies. With little effort on both sides there can be value served to the audiences of both parties and each can grow over time as they share content and media.

Let’s take a look at companies willing to connect with bloggers…

Hunting Companies

Bowhunting.com

Website: Bowhunting.com

I like writing about Bowhunting.com. They are a unique retailer in the way they acquire sales through trust and authority by blogging, creating video, and sharing other content. They have written to thank me in the past for blogging about them. Even a simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way.

The Sportsman Channel

Website: The Sportsman Channel

Michelle is a member of HBM and is actively seeking out interaction with bloggers.

Sportsmen of North America

Website: Sportsmen of North America

It’s been a little while, but I received an email from a staff member here and we tried to work out a connection.

Outdoors International

Website: Outdoors International

Cory is very active in the blogging community and other social sharing sites with outdoor folks.

Native Hunt

Website: Native Hunt

Michael has been active with commenting on my blog for awhile. He love the interaction and working with hunting bloggers.

Dry Creek Goose Camp

Website: Dry Creek Goose Camp

Rick is taking big advantage of commenting on blogs and connecting on Twitter.

New Archery Products

Website: New Archery Products

These guys have started a blog and are willing to link to reviews bloggers are doing with their products. It’s showing an open mind to partnerships.

Trophy Score

Website: Trophy Score

Review: Trophy Score Business Review

Chip (a blogger himself) reached out to me about his innovative scoring software.

TNT Outdoor Explosion

Website: TNT Outdoor Explosion

I saw that Todd Cast of TNT Outdoor Explosion did an interview – Interview with Todd Cast, host of TNT Outdoor Explosion – with Mark at Wired to Hunt. Interviews are a great way for bloggers and outdoor businesses to connect.

Heartland Bowhunter

Website: Heartland Bowhunter

More from Mark at Wired to Hunt. Interview with New Member of Heartland Bowhunter, Matt White and Introducing Our New Wired to Hunt Contributor Matt White.

Stedi-Stock

Website: Stedi-Stock

Kevin at Hunting Life has a great series of interviews and podcasts. Here is The Hunting Life – Steadi-Stock.

Pheasant Phun

Website: Pheasant Phun

Dave is very involved with bloggers. He’s a great guy to know.

Team Huntress

Website: Team Huntress

Review: Sponsorship Case Study | Team Huntress

Jane is active on Twitter and always willing to share content with bloggers.

Wildlife Callers

Website: Wildlife Callers

Mark and Marc are building a great site and company by blogging and sharing content with bloggers. They also work on guest posting.

Camofire

Website: Camofire

Review: Successful Hunting Business Highlight | Camofire

Kendall has a unique business and comments on lots of blogs including HBM. This business is great to write about due to its unique nature.

Companies added by readers

Dream Pursuit

Website: Dream Pursuit

Short Bio: A non-profit organization providing hunting and fishing adventures for children and young adults.

Africa Hunting

Website: African Hunting

Short Bio: Your source for all things hunting in Africa.

Ghillie Suit Source

Website: Ghillie Suit Source

Short Bio: The name says it all.

Fish Creek Spinners

Website: Fish Creek Spinners

Short Bio: Trout, salmon and other fish species lures and spinners.

Land and Game

Website: Land and Game

Short Bio: The best selection of market value property in the industry. Period.

Bear Archery

Website: Bear Archery

Short Bio: Hunting and Archery Products.

Warrior Outdoors

Website: Warrior Outdoors

Short Bio: In relentless pursuit of the moment of truth.

My Buck Story

Website: My Buck Story

Short Bio: Share your stories from the field.

Marauder Outdoors

Website: Marauder Outdoors

Short Bio: West Virginia Hunting Adventures

Camo Vision

Website: Camo Vision

Short Bio: Camo eye wear to keep you covered.

Magnet Gun Caddy

Website: Magnet Gun Caddy

Short Bio: Easy place to store your gun.

Speedy Sharp

Website: Speedy Sharp

Short Bio: Quick, universal knife sharpener.

Hunting Life

Website: Hunting Life

Short Bio: A great resource for hunters on the Web. Directories for bloggers and hunting companies. Also a source of the latest conservation news.

Share Hunting Companies

If you are aware of other companies that are willing to connect with bloggers, please share them in the comments and I’ll add them to the list.

If your company is willing to connect with bloggers, please share in the comments…and pay attention for the next post.

I’ll keep adding to the list as I come across more as well. 🙂

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Archery Report | Business Review

With a solid, consistent focus, Archery Report is seeing strong growth

I came across a blog post from New Archery Products today in my RSS feed and stopped by the NAP Blog to read about their Quiktune Sizzor arrow rest. Check out the post The Sleeper for a great product review of the arrow rest. NAP does a great job of using high quality photos in their posts. The photos make for a better experience for visitors and although they don’t post often, I find myself always checking for the latest from NAP.

Quiktune Sizzor

At the bottom of the post, NAP left a link to another review for the Sizzor, Review: NAP Quicktune Sizzor Rest. The URL in the link was interesting so I followed it.

Archery Report

Archery Report

Archery Report is a blog and Website operated by Michael Larsen.

The report covers news views and reviews of all things affecting the world of archery. From reading a few of the posts, it is obvious that Michael has a healthy (probably depends who you ask) 🙂 obsession with archery. See 300 days to 300 for some insight. I love the passion.

I became more intrigued with Archery Report after checking out the stats on Compete (a habit of mine). It looks like the site was launched in July of 2009 and the pace of growth has been strong every since.

Michael discusses new archery products, news affecting the archery industry, and technique for shooting effectively. It’s quite the extensive archive of information if you’re an archery enthusiast.

Michael provides his own thoughts on news articles, which is something readers often seek from bloggers. News publications simply report the news, but one of the most sought after elements of the news is interpretation so bloggers can grow their audience by providing insight into the daily happenings in niches.

Also found on the site are extensive product reviews. Michael lays out tons of content including insight and photographs to create some of the best reviews I’ve read. For example, Hoyt Maxxis 31 and 35 Review and Spotlight.

The strategy for posting on Archery Report is effective and the growth in traffic proves that archers are connecting with the site and with Michael.

Consistency

Consistently adding new posts and staying consistent with focus are two extremely important elements of successful blogs.

Too often (including myself) bloggers will struggle to keep adding new content to their blogs. As you develop a following, it’s important to continually feed new and interesting content to visitors. When they become hooked on your writing they’ll continue coming back repeatedly (even many times a day) if you provide them with content.

Search engines realize the important of consistency with post frequency as well. They realize how important frequent posting is to readers and reward sites that post quality content often with high authority in the search rankings.

For new blogs, it’s best to default at a high frequency (5-7 times a week or even more than once daily), but don’t forget to test different variations. Find out what your audience wants and provide the appropriate amount of content.

Quality and quantity are both important.

Effective Writing Style

After reading a few of Michael’s posts it’s safe to say that he has a unique voice in the outdoor industry and in the blogosphere. He has a technical side to his descriptions, but he has a way of describing situations like tuning with simplicity that makes it easy to understand.

Personally, I like the way he organizes his posts, especially his reviews. He uses headings, images, video, bulleted lists, summaries/conclusions, and other tools well. It makes for great reading when authors take the time to organize things so their readers can scan articles and dive deeper into the content when they choose.

SEO

Highlighted on the Archery Report Advertise page are a few statistics including some impressive search rankings. The site is ranking for relevant terms. Terms like 2010 bows, archery reviews, and 2010 bow reviews are competitive and have a good amount of traffic. It’s impressive that the site is ranking ahead of well-known archery sites for these terms.

It’s proof that Michael’s writing style, the site’s popularity, and the site’s technical layout make for a winning SEO combination.

Monetizing Archery Report

From my review, it appears that Archery Report is going about monetizing in the traditional ways: affiliate program and ads.

These are two viable options. I explained another option for bloggers in Profit from Your Blog.

For his book reviews, Michael is using an affiliate program to link to the books on Barnes & Nobles – a strong strategy that can be very effective if the reviews are valuable and plentiful.

Also on the site is the opportunity for advertising. It’s a strong possibility that with continued traffic growth that Archery Report will gain some advertising clients that will provide fixed revenue each month.

A final interesting aspect of Archery Report is the opportunity for hunting product manufacturers to send Michael their products for review. Michael provides the benefits to having Archery Report Review Your Product.

If this program gains enough traction, Michael could begin charging for the reviews as a way to provide further revenue.

Summary

Archery Report is an excellent example of a start-up blog that can see successful growth right from the beginning with the right formula of focus, consistency, writing style, and monetizing.

As the site sees more quality content regarding archery, I suspect it will continue to build its audience and become a strong player in the online archery world.

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The Beautiful Outdoors: 50 Amazing Photos

Inspiring outdoor imagery shared through the amazing Flickr Creative Commons Collection

Farm Rolling Hills

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

I came across an amazing post on Smashing Magazine, The Beauty of India: 50 Amazing Photos. The images are truly amazing.

I realized I haven’t done a collection of images from Flickr in some time and thought it would be fun to do another.

I like to use Flickr for just about every post on HBM. I feel that images add some depth to the experience with each post. And you know I love hunting pictures.

Here are the previous collections from the Flickr Creative Commons Series on HBM:

I chose images from the outdoors. Even though most of us realize the beauty in the outdoors already, I thought it would be great to collect some of the fine examples from the best photographers in the business.

These images are from fields, streams, and woods.

Hopefully these images can inspire you today…

Fields

Abandoned Barn in a Field

Abandoned Barn in a Field

Courtesy of Robb North

Spring Sunset Magic

Spring Sunset Magic

Courtesy of See1,Do1,Teach1

Coming Home to the Farm

Farm Road Field

Courtesy of Jody McNary Photography

Jody McNary Photography

Little Road to the Farm

Little Road to the Farm

Courtesy of tipiro

Green and Gold Farm Field

Green and Gold Farm Field

Courtesy of tipiro

Auto Graveyard

Auto Graveyard

Courtesy of seanmcgrath

Tulip Field and Hot Air Balloons

Tulip Field and Hot Air Balloons

Courtesy of jesse.milan

White Horse

White Horse Field

Courtesy of Wolfgang Staudt

Rusty Barn in Autumn

Rusty Barn in Autumn

Courtesy of jsorbieus

Cactus Field

Cactus Field

Courtesy of kevindooley

Yellow and Pink Flowers

Yellow and Pink Flowers

Courtesy of Per Ola Wiberg

Hay Bales Harvest Time

Hay Bales Harvest Time

Courtesy of pdam2

Old Farm and Truck

Old Farm and Truck

Courtesy of Grantsviews

Vintage Fence

Fencing Materials

Courtesy of Robb North

Bikes and Farm Fields

Bikes and Farm Fields

Courtesy of ClickFlashPhotos / Nicki Varkevissor

Lilac Tree

Courtesy of Robb North

Blue Flower Field

Blue Flower Field

Courtesy of Per Ola Wiberg

Streams

Backyard Stream

Backyard Stream

Courtesy of bslmmr

Stepping Stone Bridge

Stepping Stone Bridge

Courtesy of Johan J.Ingles-Le Nobel

Gray Sky Stream

Gray Sky Stream

Courtesy of Richard0

Mexico Waterfall

Mexico Waterfall

Courtesy of zoutedrop

Hidden Falls

Hidden Falls

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Shallow Stream and Falls

Small Stream After Rain

Courtesy of NeilsPhotography

Chirkhuwaa Khola at Baaluwani

Chirkhuwaa Khola

Courtesy of ` TheDreamSky 꿈꾸는 하늘

Winter Stream

Winter Stream

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Forest Waterfall

Forest Waterfall

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Cold Winter Stream

Cold Winter Stream

Courtesy of nagillum

Stream Under Bridge

Stream Under Bridge

Courtesy of paul (dex) busy @ work

Light Shining on Stream

Light Shining on Stream

Courtesy of eye of einstein

Shaky Bridge

Shaky Bridge

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Vintage Dry Creek

Vintage Dry Creek

Courtesy of Robb North

Canada Mountain Stream

Canada Mountain Stream

Courtesy of *~Dawn~*

Woods

Rusty Car in the Woods

Rusty Car in the Woods

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Forest Ablaze

Forest Ablaze

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Sun Shining in the Forest

Sun Shining in the Forest

Courtesy of josef.stuefer

Green Glow Forest

Green Glow Forest

Courtesy of mindfulness

Rolling Hills and Trees

Rolling Trees

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Falling Leaf

Falling Leaf

Courtesy of Memotion

Golden Autumn

Golden Autumn

Courtesy of Reinante El Pintor de Fuego

Narrow Road Through the Woods

Narrow Road in the Woods

Courtesy of Per Ola Wiberg

Abstract Woods

Abstract Woods

Courtesy of Reinante El Pintor de Fuego

Bright Green

Bright Green Forest

Courtesy of tipiro

Rock Path Golden Forest

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Deer in the Woods

Deer in the Woods

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Shadowy Path

Shadowy Path

Courtesy of GotMeAMuse

Snowy Forest

Snowy Forest

Courtesy of Vince Algoni

Autumn Morning

Autumn Morning

Courtesy of bslmmr

Colorful Woods

Colorful Woods

Courtesy of Problemkind

Repeating Forest

Repeating Forest

Courtesy of Wolfgang Staudt

Old Tree

Old Tree

Courtesy of gumuz

The Hunter

The Hunter

Courtesy of MysticMoon14

A Different Way to Profit From Your Blog

Have you thought about making profits from your blog?

Most folks that write to me asking for advice on blogging are looking for ways to make a little money for their hard efforts with writing, networking, and growing their blog.

It makes sense; we all want a little in return for the hard work that goes into blogging. However, profits are difficult to come by regarding the two forms of revenue most think of with blogging:

1) Ads

2) Affiliates.

It’s difficult for 99% of bloggers to make money this way. Obtaining the traffic bloggers use as justification for ad revenue takes lots of time and effort and most bloggers simply give up before reaching that level.

Ad revenue to support blogging can be done, but there is another option you can consider…

You can focus on obtaining freelance, part-time, or even full-time work as a writer for major publications.

Your Blog as a Resume

I agree with Adam Singer that your resume is meaningless.

While you probably need some kind of short list of accomplishments and certifications or the like, an actual resume is no longer important when it comes to finding a meaningful job.

The work you do online will be what defines you if you’re looking for quality work in the online world. If you’re writing a blog then your posts are your resume. The way your blog looks represents you and the quality of work you share with your audience.

What Publishers Want

The ability to steadily grow an audience that cares about what you have to say is huge when it comes to publishers that are looking for quality writers. They want to build their own audience as large as possible since their revenue is built on advertising and subscribers (which compete against each other in my opinion).

Prove that you can consistently write interesting content while steadily growing a loyal audience and you’ll be a prime candidate for publishers – online and offline.

What Publishers’ Readers Want

As a way to focus your writing for the publisher audience it would make sense to pick out a handful of publications you would imagine working for and write your content with their readers in mind.

Say for example you choose Field & Stream as a place where you could blog.

Figure out what the readers of Field & Stream are interested in reading. Go beyond the obvious (they like fishing and hunting). Think about the details they like reading.

Look at the articles already being published in the print magazine and on the online blogs. What are the most popular articles on the Field & Stream Website? Learn what their audience is already craving regarding online content and write some posts using their successful patterns.

The most popular articles from my own quick look at the site points to lists, how-to articles, and good stories about hunting and fishing that strike an emotional nerve with readers.

Figure out the publications you’d like to write for and work to find the article formulas that will attract the attention of their readers. The publication’s decision makers will take notice if you’re attracting their audience.

And also link to their articles and mention the publication’s name…the decision makers will get notices if they’re apt at the online world and they’ll check you out.

Reality of Profits

Now, before getting all excited about the prospects of a new writing job for Field & Stream please remember that most writers don’t become millionaires.

However, it’s possible to turn your love of writing about the outdoors into a decent secondary source or in the best case a primary source of income for a comfortable lifestyle.

Other Opportunities

Writing and publishing articles on your own blog is a great way to build your archives and build you understanding of the type of content people are interested in. As a result of this knowledge, you’ll be able to potentially land some writing jobs that can lead to some good secondary income.

If you wish, there are also opportunities to write content that people are willing to purchase. You could write a how-to book and share the profits with a major publisher. You can use their clout to help you promote the content (say for example a book) while giving them some of the revenue in return.

Deer & Deer Hunting has a great collection of how-to books on deer hunting. They do research and analyses on everything to do with deer hunting and avid hunters pay a good deal of money to read what their writers have to say.

You can take a similar approach as your grow you audience and begin understanding the type of content they would be willing purchase.

Summary

Making profits online is difficult in the sense of advertising and affiliate revenue.

And while making secondary income by becoming employed as a writer for other publishers is difficult as well, it may be a more obtainable goal for most bloggers.

Growing an audience takes time and ad and affiliate revenue require large audiences. Most bloggers will simply give up and not be willing to put in the time and effort to grow a huge audience that can generate substantial secondary income.

Try focusing on a gaining some income from writing for other publishers and you might be able to turn your hobby into a real source of secondary income sooner.

What are your thoughts?

Do you have experience with writing for other publishers?

Please share in the comments.

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10 Free Tips to Grow Your Blog

10 action steps for growing your blog right away

Great folks in the outdoor industry contact me regularly usually to say hello and sometimes to discuss blogging and business strategy. Some of these folks – being the savvy business folks they are – usually like to find some simple things they’re simply overlooking.

Most folks that inquire about information ask for pricing on the Hunting Business Marketing Services. I share the prices for the various services up front and then give a few tips on the subject specifically referred to in the inquiry. Most folks like the free tip and advice and it hopefully helps them with their current strategies.

For folks interesting in something more detailed and specific to their needs, we move onto specific strategies and planning with the paid services offered such as Marketing Consulting, SEO, and Copywriting.

In terms of blogging, I usually share some basic things as advice up front with folks. These can often be the most helpful for those in the beginning stages of blogging.

Since I repeat these tips often I thought it would make sense to share them in a post (head slap moment).

Here are 10 Free Tips to Grow Your Blog…

1| Guest Post

Guest posting is the number one way for bloggers to grow their audience and increase traffic (after writing your own great content of course). Writing guest posts puts you in front of audiences that are already established readers of the blogs. By offering to write guest posts on popular blogs you’re providing the blog editors with quality content and in return you get exposure and increase traffic for your site or blog.

Start seeking out blogs in your niche and outside of your niche and offer to write guest posts. Make sure the people that visit your blog can subscribe to your posts so you capture them as readers.

2| Determine Goals

When starting a blog as a stand-alone entity or when adding a blog to your existing site, it’s important to determine the goals up front. While there is always going to be a point where you have to just let go and go for it, you want to make sure that the focus of the blog aligns with the goals of the business.

For example, are you starting a blog with the goal of gaining attention of major publications for a potential job?

Are you starting a blog as a way to drive traffic and interest for your e-commerce store?

Determine the goals for your blog and create content with that goal as the focus.

3| Read Other Blogs

Reading other blogs is a great way to gain inspiration for your own writing. It’s also important for finding great content to build on and to link to with your own posts. Reading other blogs will allow you to determine the type of content that you enjoy and the content your readers enjoy. Also, read the comments to see how people react to certain kinds of posts. Try to copy successful patterns for your own posts.

4| Comment and Post

When you are reading blog posts and forum posts, be sure to leave your insight by commenting and posting. As a blog owner, you’ll realize that receiving a comment is a great reward. Comments validate the content a writer is writing and lets them know they’re connecting with readers.

Commenting and sharing your thoughts off your site is another way to build your audience through exposure just like guest posting.

5| Write Catchy Headlines

Headlines are the first thing potential readers see regarding the content on your site. Write your headlines after your write your content and make sure you address the interests and desires of the people you’re targeting.

You can come up with ideas for posts (which can be seen as a headline), but be sure to adjust the headline accordingly once you’ve written the post.

A great way to come up with ideas for headlines is The Cosmo Guide to Writing Effective Headlines.

6| Post Regularly

Writing your posts regularly is good for two reasons:

1) Your readers crave consistency just like they crave the news every night.

2) Search engines crave consistency as well. They will crawl your site more and increase your authority the more often you post quality content.

7| Structure Your Blog Posts

Your readers (and search engines) will love your content more if you make your posts easy to read and easy to scan.

Use headings, lists, bolding, and other structure methods when writing your posts so the content is easily digestible for readers and search engines.

8| Link to Other Sites

A way that gains attention from other bloggers in a positive way is to use your site and blog to link to the quality posts of others. Just as receiving comments on a site is rewarding for blog writers, receiving links and mentions on other blogs is validation for their hard work.

Don’t expect it in return, but most times when you link to other blogs you’ll find the other folks visiting your site to check you out and in wonderful cases even sharing your content and linking to you when appropriate.

9| Link to Your Own Content

When writing posts (and I forget this discipline sometimes) remember to link to your own content using relevant anchor text. Search engines use your internal links to determine your important content and your readers follow the links as they look to digest more of your insight.

Ex: Hunting Pictures, Hunting Resources, and Web Conversion Tips

10| Ad Revenue is Tough

When starting blogs folks will often look at ad revenue and affiliate revenue for ways to make money to support their work. This is a tough road to take since it requires a lot of traffic to generate enough revenue to make the effort worthwhile.

Something I often suggest for outdoor bloggers is to focus on writing quality material while making connections in the hunting industry that can lead to writing jobs with major publications.

Show that you’re an expert in your field and others will take notice and seek out your insight. Some will be willing to pay you for content.

With the focus on your content, you can also take advantages of other opportunities for revenue that may come about besides ads and affiliates.

Summary

These 10 tips are the ones I share the most often with folks asking about blogging. They’re very basic, but I think most find them useful nonetheless.

I hope they will help you.

What other tips can you add to the list?

Please share your thoughts in the comments (See Tip #4).

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Image courtesy of Sam Ilić