Use This Blog Post Taxonomy to Build a Content Strategy

Use This Blog Post Taxonomy to Build a Content Strategy Header

Blogging can seem deceptively easy.  You write a blog post about whatever’s on your mind whenever you feel like it.  Then, you sit back and wait for the inbound marketing to happen to you. Heh, I wish. Instead, reality intrudes.  Writing about whatever you feel like (which is often yourself) doesn’t work very well for building an audience.  And even forming a mission and writing about what your readers care about is no guarantee.  Things can still go wrong.  You might write content that does a really good job of building an audience, but the wrong audience—an audience that won’t buy from you.  There are plenty of ways that you can gain traction without making money. So you can’t just write whatever you feel like.  And you can’t even just write whatever seems to get to eyeballs.  You need a content strategy. The Elements of a Content Strategy There are …

Custom Author Bylines For Non-Users in WordPress

Custom Author Bylines for Non-Users in WordPress

At Hit Subscribe, we’re facing a bit of a problem. Here’s some background. We have a team of authors who write for our growing number of clients. A few of our authors are specialists, and they pair well with clients who want their blog to focus on niche topics. But for clients who just want to pull in people doing Google searches on more generic technical topics…well, three, four, even five authors might regularly write for those clients. And both our number of authors and number of clients will likely hit double digits in 2018, making the possible author-client combinations pretty large. So what’s the problem? Well, our clients invite Erik as a user on their WordPress sites so we can swoop in and do all the prep work for their posts. But these clients aren’t going to want to invite five more users to their professional blog. So when we post for …

Attention New Bloggers: You’ve Got the Wrong Mental Model for Content

Attention New Bloggers You've Got the Wrong Mental Model for Content

I make an earnest effort to fight the curse of knowledge.  Truly, I do, because it’s essential for any decent blogger.  But I struggle with this when new bloggers and aspiring bloggers approach me with the following sentiment. I don’t know what to write about because bloggers I follow have already covered everything I know. This is a genuine absurdity.  But it’s not absurd in the “what kind of simpleminded human could think this” sense.  It’s absurd in a way that arises from a completely mismatched mental model. To understand what I mean, consider an example.  Imagine a child fishing from a pier that extends out into the ocean.  The child pulls a fish out of the ocean, and then another one.  But he stops before casting for a third fish, saying that he wants to leave some fish so that there will be enough when he fishes tomorrow. This …

A Mailing List: Why You Need One and How To Do It

Mailing list: why you need one and how to do it.

In this post about a mailing list, I’m going to depress you and then make you feel better.  And I’m going to depress you about how others consume your social media and blog posts. Don’t worry.  I’m not going to depress you in an existential, Kafkaesque kind of way.  Think more of a cognitive-bias-busting kind of way. Do You Suffer From the Spotlight Effect? The cognitive bias in question is the spotlight effect.  In defining it, the author from that link talks about spilling McRib sauce on himself and then assuming everyone around him at the DMV noticed.  I’m going to quote a different part of the post, however.  This is mainly because I find the prospect of staining myself with McDonald’s before heading to the DMV somehow as far from the natural course of my own life as I can possibly imagine.  YMMV.  Anyway. The “spotlight effect” refers to …

Should I Guest Post?

This is a question I’ve now received from a variety of parties, in a variety of circumstances.  Hit Subscribe clients with serious revenue, freelancers, and employed individual contributors have asked this.  Simply put, they want to know if they should guest post. First off, what is a guest post?  That’s pretty easy.  A guest post is original content that you write for someone else’s blog but with byline credit for yourself.  Instead of writing content for your own blog, you write for someone else’s — and often that someone else has a lot of traffic. So, should you guest post?  I can answer that really quickly: probably not. Now, when I say “probably not,” I don’t say that equally to everyone reading.  If you asked me whether or not you should drink battery acid, I would say “probably not” and mean it in a much different way.  In that case, …

The Ways Tech Blogs Make Money

Header with money image--The Ways Tech Blogs Make Money

We’ve arrived at a mission statement for the Hit Subscribe blog.  As an aside, I recommend this to all of our clients, our followers, and our authors — your blog should have a mission statement that explains who you’re helping and what you’re helping them do. Here’s the Hit Subscribe blog’s mission statement: We help techies use their blogs to generate more business. Pretty short, sweet, and simple, huh? Why We Want to Help You might wonder why we address any techie with our blog when Hit Subscribe only targets dev tools and SaaS companies as our clients.  Why would we help a salaried software engineer with a little side hustle when that engineer obviously wouldn’t hire us at four- or five-figure price points?  Why should we speak to just any old software developer? Well, two things.  First of all, we’re not actually speaking to any techie.  We’re only speaking to techies that want …

Blog Comments and How You Should Handle Them

Image with post title and chat bubbles representing blog comments

When people think of blog comments (or any comments) in the abstract, they tend to think of humanity’s worst offerings.  They think of a despicable YouTube comment troll or someone stalking a blog and endlessly nitpicking. But when it comes to our own blogs, we view the situation a bit differently.  Our blog comments are a critical means of engaging our reader.  Our commenters surely won’t be like the wider world of terrible people.  And we want to make sure to give folks a way to engage with us. So what is a blogger to do about comments?  Do you enable them or skip them?  And if you enable them, how do you moderate the comments and interact with your readers? We’ll take a look at that today. Understand Tech Blogger Commenters Against the Wider World of Commenters First of all, I’d like to speak briefly to something in order to frame …

Add Google Analytics to WordPress to Start Measuring What Matters

The mission today?  To teach you to add Google Analytics to WordPress.  In pursuit of that goal, I have a video below showing you exactly how to go about doing this.  But if you’d like a deeper understanding of all of the whys and wherefores, I’m going to cover some background as well. What Do You Use to Blog?  The Answer Should Probably be WordPress This particular claim might raise some eyebrows in the programming community.  But I’ll throw it out there anyway. If you have any tech cred and have thought of blogging, you’ve probably looked at Jekyll.  What’s not to love?  It checks a lot of boxes. Content creation uses markdown. Generates static sites, so performance is top-notch. You publish with the command line. It’s got the GitHub dude on the front page, and GitHub is the answer to all of the universe’s problems. I would dispute none of …

Flatter Your Vanity or Fascinate Your Readers: Pick One

Flatter Your Vanity or Fascinate Your Readers Pick One

I have a personal blog. It’s about literature, a lifelong love of mine and my main area of study. For many years, this blog was a geeksplosion of shop-talk, assumptions, and general thinking aloud in the area in which I’d consider myself an expert. Want posts about zines at the crossroads of art and craft? How about the dissipation of the aura via Google Image search, or structuralism in spoken language? Want to hear about Kant’s sublime or the omniscient first person? No? Welp. It’s what I wanted to talk about.  I figured anyone in my field worth their salt would be able to follow what I was saying. And anyone not in my field maybe wouldn’t love the posts, but if they read carefully enough, they’d learn something. So what if the paragraphs were 15 sentences long? So what if there were no subheads? The value here was my ideas. …

Why Your Blog Post Needs an Image

You’ve probably heard at some point or another that your blog post needs an image. But why? Google the question, and you’ll get a lot of wishy-washy reasons and unsubstantiated claims. This post’s number one reason you should include image is because “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Then, rather than explain why this is relevant, they give advice for how to pick images. This post claims to be about the benefits of using images in blogs. It opens with the fact that you can use the blog image as a thumbnail image too. (Sooooo…if I don’t know why I need a blog image, I probably also don’t know why I need a thumbnail.) It’s also full of weasel words that would earn you a big red “needs source” if used in a college English paper, like “Social networks are becoming increasingly visual” and “Images or posts with images achieve exponentially higher …