Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Happy New Year!
And welcome to a special edition of Tips Tuesday!
Tips this week include trends and predictions and what I believe will lead to site success for you in 2018.
Listen to the Podcast
But, I decided to extend the discount on the DIY SEO course and Workshops until Jan 8.
We’re starting the second series of our Jumpstart Challenge today to ensure the SEO foundation of your site is all good with your Google Connections and Yoast SEO settings.
You still have time to catch up!
Then you’ll be all ready for our first live Workshop begins Jan 9.
If you are playing catch up on the DIY SEO Jumpstart Challenge, and especially if you’re not in our Facebook group, you’ll want to see the replay of our first bonus chat that we had on Sunday.
We discussed all of the questions that were reported in each day’s challenge.
It will be a quick way for you to get up to speed and maybe even get answers to your questions.
I updated the tutorials in the member sites.
But of course I can’t update the daily emails that have already gone out, and many of you are working off them.
Below the video replay you’ll find notes of everything that was in my slides, for quick reference too.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into 2018!
My 2018 Plan for Success
In this first podcast for 2018, I thought I’d take a moment to share with you my plans for success with BlogAid this year, mainly because it happens to coincide with the programs and offers I’ll have available for you in 2018 too.
We’re in all in the same boat when it comes to the changes that will happen this year, so I’m right there with you.
And, how I’m navigating the changes may inspire you to make similar plans for your site and business as well.
I used to be able to map out a business plan every year.
But everything connected to running a site started changing so fast that for the last 3 years it became more like navigating the rapids and going with the flow rather than following a 12 month plan of my choosing.
This year is different, though.
It’s my job to keep webmasters and site owners as far ahead of the curve as possible.
I can clearly see the writing on the wall for what’s coming for 2018 and into 2019 and I’m already busy developing the map of the programs and classes and training and products that will help keep site owners and webmasters on top of those incoming waves and ahead of the pack.
It’s also why we started the DIY SEO Workshops in January instead of March. We need to get where we’re going with that wrapped up by end of March so you will already be on track for what’s coming by the fall. It’s all in an effort to diversify our traffic streams.
The Top Changes for 2018
This year, it’s all about getting better at diversification of traffic streams.
Platforms that were hot for us over the past couple of years are changing, radically.
That may be true for folks who have relied solely on Pinterest more than any other type of site owner.
The writing is already on the wall and that bubble is beginning to pop.
Same is true of Facebook.
And both platforms are starting to take a super hard look at the speed of the sites linking from them.
That, coupled with Google’s Mobile First Initiative makes speed a big site success factor for 2018.
Security and performance go hand and hand. So that factors into speed too.
Plus, we’re already seeing the new hack attack vectors of going after mother companies and gaining access to millions of sites at once. Remember the Equifax hack, and the BlogVault hack last year?
So, it’s time to get super serious about not only your site security, but cyber security in general and ensuring that all of your online accounts are safe.
For your site, better security also means saving money on hosting resources and kicking more bad bots to the curb so that those resources will be available for your increased human traffic.
Successful diversification of traffic sources also means getting serious about analytics everywhere, not just on Google Analytics.
It means digging into what content is working best on what platform and getting in on the trends more.
My Goals for 2018
The biggest goal for BlogAid in 2018 is setting up a better strategy for repurposing my content in multiple formats and on multiple platforms in an effort to get more eyeballs and further diversify my traffic streams.
I’ve been following visibility expert Denise Wakeman for years and every time she runs one of her challenges, I add a new way to repurpose my content.
FYI, she has a free 7 Day Visibility Challenge that you can get into at any time to see just how good her tips are.
My big issue with putting those tips into place has been coming up with a good rotation strategy.
Much of the content on BlogAid is not evergreen. So, I need a short-term repurposing strategy for that.
For the content that is more evergreen, I need a long-term repurposing strategy.
So, I’m working out rotation calendars for both.
The other big project I’m getting underway this week is a spreadsheet to do deeper tracking of my analytics everywhere.
Just like you, I’ve gotten into a habit with my marketing in the past couple of years.
But now I’m finding that some of that effort isn’t even paying off any more.
Like Twitter – it sends almost no traffic to my site now, and my posts are not being retweeted often. Now, that may be because of how I’m using it, or the lack thereof, but I’m just not seeing the same ROI on it as I used to.
And then YouTube – which is one of the biggest ROI bangs for the buck I can do, and I know I’m not taking full advantage of it. Video is the hottest marketing ticket in town too.
The always helpful Ileane Smith showed me the light on how much TubeBuddy can help me do better on YouTube and track analytics there, so I got a trial version and wow, she was right. Then the day they ran a super duper special offer on it, I pounced.
That, and a consult with my webmaster buddy and fellow YouTuber Larry Snow has really helped me see what’s working, and that definitely impacted the types of videos I’ll be doing more of. Details on that in a moment.
And there’s Medium – until the most recent challenge from Denise, I had no idea that I already had 1,000 followers there, even though I had never posted anything. And Denise showed us that repurposing content on Medium is just about the easiest thing in the world to do. So, I’ve got that on my calendar and I’ll be monitoring the ROI of branching out into a new platform to see how worthwhile it is.
Content Audit for 2018
Like many of you, I’ve been blogging for years now and have a lot of either dead weight or buried gems piling up on my site.
In our SEO Workshops this year, we’ll be going through a full content audit.
We’ll also be going deep into the best ways to delete, update, or redirect old content.
That’s going to lead into a discussion about ways to restructure and repurpose content too.
And that’s not just repurposing on social media and other platforms.
It’s about repurposing the content directly on your site.
We’ll cover content repurposing topics like:
- How to bring older content back to the home page and send out on the RSS feed again.
- How to collect content into helpful resource pages.
- How to gather content into giveaways and lead funnels.
And we’ll be doing these things in such a way that both Google and readers will be delighted with us.
More Plugin Tutorials Coming
My other big goal is to create way more content that has longer evergreen potential, and the kind that is already doing very well for me on both Google search and YouTube.
I have a whole list of tutorials to make on the plugins I use and recommend.
At the top of that list is the last of the three Comment Reply Notification plugins that did well in my head-to-head tests a few months ago. It will be on wpDiscuz. You can check out the post to see the other two.
And then I have tutorials to make for my webmasters on WP Rocket, and a public post for end users.
And then tutorials for all of the plugins on my recommended list, which I’ll also be updating the look of this month.
So, watch for more of those tutorial posts and videos in the coming months.
And be sure to subscribe to the BlogAid YouTube Channel as that’s where I’ll be posting the video tutorials even before the written post on BlogAid goes live.
Going Deeper with Analytics
I watch my Google Analytics.
But I haven’t been setting goals or tracking my marketing there as well as I want to.
I can see what’s driving traffic to my site, but I can’t see exactly which posts or campaigns are working best on which platform.
So, for 2018, I’ll be digging into UTM tracking codes and Google Tag Manager. Those will allow me to track specific posts each place I share it so I’ll know for sure what’s performing well on each of them. And that will allow me to focus my efforts a lot better for each one.
I’ve also got spreadsheets set up for tracking analytics on YouTube and my social media platforms too.
It’s all about gathering the invaluable feedback of knowing what’s working and where so that I can do more of it and adjust my content strategy as needed based on real data.
BlogAid Theme Revamp
Here’s my last big goal for 2018.
My offers and programs, and even target clients, have changed radically over the past 4 years. But my theme design really hasn’t.
Even though I’ve been tweaking on it all this time, it’s just starting to look old.
But the biggest issue is, it doesn’t really highlight my content and conversion points well anymore.
Plus, I had a whole lot of custom coding added in back when it was first designed that I honestly just don’t use anymore. And that’s causing bloat that I don’t need.
So, I will be revamping with a new theme this year to clean out all of that bloat and dead weight and make all that I offer easier for folks to find.
Plus, doing that clean out, will make it easier for me to move to a Gutenberg theme in 2019 or 2020, whenever that becomes viable to do.
So, the focus for this theme design is to simplify in every way possible.
Site Predictions and Trends for 2018
Torque published a couple of super articles last month on the trends they see coming for both WordPress and design.
I want to go over them with you so you’ll have the big picture of where things are headed for all of us in 2018.
This is a must-read post from the nice folks at Torque.
I’m going to give you the top 5 here, but you really need to read it on the post for more info too.
These are becoming more important to catch a visitor’s attention, or get a feel for a product.
The things to be careful with when using video headers are speed and conversion.
Just like sliders, they are a novelty. And I’m betting that just like sliders, we will see that they drop your conversion rate by 75%, proving that all that glitters is indeed not gold.
VR Ready Themes
AR (Augmented Reality) will likely take over before VR (Virtual Reality) does. But, VR equipment is already here. It’s just bulky right now, but that will change.
And websites will most definitely change radically to take advantage of it. In fact, this is what Gutenberg is all about and will help keep WordPress on the bleeding edge.
Torque predicts we’ll be seeing VR sites by the end of the year, and I agree with them. I think we’ll be seeing fully Gutenberg optimized themes by then too.
Now, whether either of these will be suitable for serious bloggers is another story. We’ll see when we get closer to 2019.
Shift to Mobile
This has already been in the works for the past 2 years. Desktop viewing of websites isn’t going to die in 2018, but Google’s Mobile First Initiative is going to continue to push theme designers to think either mobile-first or mobile-only.
I don’t see the majority of sites turning themselves into apps, but I do see more themes dropping sidebars and other weight that just ends up at the bottom of the page when viewing on mobile and no one much sees those elements anyway.
That change is going to force bloggers to include even more of their CTAs and money makers directly in the content.
We’re already seeing ads in the middle of YouTube videos and on the Facebook and Pinterest News streams. I wouldn’t be surprised if Twitter and other social platforms started showing ads in their streams too.
WordPress will be the Ecomm Top Choice
For me, the jury is still out on this. Automattic, the parent company of WordPress, purchased Woocommerce. And they intend to make it the Ecomm platform of choice. But, until we see what Gutenberg will look like with that, 3rd party stores like Shopify are still going to be a viable choice.
You’ll run your main site and blog on WP, but may keep your store elsewhere in 2018.
Security will be a top priority
Amen!!! It already is a top priority, especially when you consider that it and performance go hand in hand. If you haven’t gotten a site audit yet, you really should. On average, I find 26 security and performance holes on a site that no plugin can find or fix.
The folks at Torque didn’t include this in their top 5, at least not directly. With the focus shifting to mobile, speed will be everything. And it’s just one more reason why you need a site audit.
You’ll see just how much those caching and image optimization plugins you’ve thrown at the site aren’t working. And, you’ll see the real drags on your page load time and know exactly what to do to get them fixed.
We’ve already covered a lot of the site trends for 2018, but Torque has another article specifically for the design trends we may see.
Designers, this is a must-read post for you.
Site owners, if you’re contemplating a theme revamp, this post will definitely give you ideas not only for design, but for conversion points on mobile too.
Sticky Bottom on Mobile
Since site navigation on mobile is usually hidden away behind a hamburger icon, some themes have taken to displaying sticky icons at the bottom of the screen on mobile.
It definitely cuts into the content reading area, but I bet it’s great for conversion. So, it’s a super place to stick your CTAs.
You’ll want to visit the Torque post for a screenshot of what those sticky icons look like.
I’ve been seeing more sites with a little gray pop up box at the top that asks if I want to allow the site to instantly notify me when a new post appears.
While Torque predicts this will be a growing trend, I’ve heard mixed results from site owners who are already using them.
They are getting more subscribers, but they don’t own the optin list. That info is held by the service providing the pop up.
And since the site owner doesn’t have permission to put those folks on an email list, they are kind of losing out on a golden opportunity. Plus, with the free services offering the pop ups, some don’t allow you to download any of the analytics or list or anything. So, you lose some valuable info there too.
And then there is the lack of styling options, especially on the free services. Personally, I think those things are pretty ugly.
Custom Graphics in Demand
Brands are doing everything they can to separate themselves from the competition. And one of the ways they are doing that is by hiring designers and graphic artists to create custom illustrations and images for their site. It’s more expensive, but it does get a reaction because the site looks more personal with those handmade looking drawings instead of slick graphics.
This is sort of the same trend as video headers, and a way to put motion on the site to be eye catching. To me, if feels like stepping backwards a bit to those blinking borders and fonts we saw in the 90s. I think they are distracting.
But, I’ve seen more ad networks are including animation and video ads, so it must be working.
So, designers, maybe it’s time to hone your animation skills.
Vibrant Color Schemes
We’ve been in the minimalist phase of theme design now for about 4 years. You know, the white backgrounds with a splash of brand color on heading fonts and widget titles and links and such.
The folks at Torque are predicting that bolder colors in more places are going to be the trend for 2018.
Bigger, Bolder Fonts
These will go with the extra colors. I see this happening too, but for the life of me, I can’t see how this will play out well on mobile. Seems like a whole lot more scrolling for folks to me.
What are your 2018 Goals?
What big goals and plans do you have for 2018?
Do any of these trends or predictions strike a chord with you?
Leave a comment here on the blog or anywhere you see this post online.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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