Build Your Blog Series: 5 Tips to Improve Your SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the process of getting "free" listings on search engine sites; like Google, Yahoo and Bing.  Every search engine lists results to a search ranked on what they feel is most relevant to readers.  The higher ranked you are on the search results page and more frequently your site appears in search results lists, and the more visitors you will receive.

When we first started our blog, we had no idea about SEO or how to improve it and drive more traffic to our blog.  When we decided to turn our blog into a business, our Dad gave us some tips that helped improve our SEO and increase our traffic.



Here are our 5 tips to improve your SEO:

1.  Use catchy titles.  Using a catchy title post will drive people to your site.  It is more interesting to people when they see the title "Gooey Caramel Chocolate Cake" rather than "Chocolate Cake".  When you are writing a title for a post, try to think of what readers would type into search engines when they are searching for something.

2.  Use images.  Using images in every post and naming them properly can help in SEO.  Some people use search engines to look solely for images.  By having an image on every post, you will improve your SEO.  When you save images, save them as the title of your post.  The more frequently you get that title out there, the higher your ranking will be with search engines.



3.  Use social media sites.  Social media sites are free and are a great way to improve your SEO.  Share every post on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and any other sites you use.  At the top of our blog, we show our readers all the different social media sites we use and give them a link to connect with us.  We share every post we publish on each social media outlet we use.



4.  Share high quality content.  Search engines also rank your site based on the quality of its contents.  Use content that is unique and informative.

5.  Link back to yourself. One of the easiest ways to improve SEO is to add internal links to your site.  Make a point to link back to your archives to show new readers content they may not see by simply looking at your blog.  Avoid excessive linking so your readers don't get annoyed.  At the bottom of each post, we share links to our older posts that would relate to that particular post.  This is a great way to draw people in and read more of your posts.  

Here is an example of how to internally link back to your site:

We would love to see you there!


Build Your Blog Series: Pinterest Tips




We LOVE Pinterest Logo here at Six Sisters' Stuff! Pinterest is where the majority of our page views come from.  When we first started figuring out Pinterest, we would only pin a couple things here or there. Now we pin EVERY post we write.

Once we started pinning more of our posts, our page views increased dramatically! Here are some Tips for when you Pin Your Items! 

Tips for Pinning
- Using Keywords in your Descriptions
Always write a description for your post. One Keyword we always make sure we add is our website. If I made Chocolate Chip Cookies my description would be something like "Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies by SixSistersStuff.com." That way they will know who it is from and it will make your website name more known.

- Use Hash tags in Your Descriptions
Hash tags are an important part of using Pinterest. By using Hash tags you will be able to widen the search for your pin. In the Chocolate Chip Cookie example above, I would use hash tags just like this: #recipe #chocolatechip #cookies. There is no right or wrong way to using hash tags. Here is an example of what we would write as a description.


Peanut Butter Chip Banana Bread. A quick and easy bread with amazing flavor! SixSistersStuff.com #bread #recipe #bananas #peanutbutter
Peanut Butter Chip Banana Bread. A quick and easy bread with amazing flavor! SixSistersStuff.com #bread#recipe#bananas#peanutbutter



- Post at the Right Time
People are on Pinterest all day long but there are certain parts of the day where the traffic is much greater. The best time to pin is between 2pm and 4pm EST and from 8pm to 1am EST. Many times we try and pin in those time slots and our numbers for the day grow drastically on our blog.

- Post about Popular Topics
This one is a little more difficult. How do you know what post will be popular and get a lot of repins? Well.... you just never know! One thing that does "repin" well is a good picture. (we will get to that in a second). After you have pinned a couple of your posts you will be able to see what has been repinned the most and you will have an idea of what your audience likes.

- Pictures Pictures Pictures! 
The better your picture, the more repins you will get. Take your pictures in the daylight, not at night. If you don't use your own picture make sure you give credit where credit is due. Because pictures are so easy to copy and paste these days we watermark our pictures with our website.

We also write a small title of our post and put it in the picture also. (The White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake)
We use www.picmonkey.com to place words on our pictures. It is very simple and easy to use!

Just doing these few tips with Pinterest Logo will help your numbers grow on your blog! Happy Pinning!


Funny Friendship Ecard: You can only stalk your friends on facebook for so long, but there is always new stuff on pinterest.



5 Reasons to Attend Blog Conferences and Online BlogCon

We get asked all the time: what is so great about attending a blog conference? Is it really worth the time and money? A lot of these conferences are super expensive and last for a couple of days!
We have now attended a couple of conferences and at first we were very skeptical of paying that much money and arranging babysitters for our kids, but I promise you that the benefits of attending a conference far outweigh everything else!

Here are my 5 Reasons to Attend a Blog Conference:

1. Networking with other Bloggers
This is hands-down the best reason to attend a blog conference. We learned so much more from talking to other bloggers than we ever could have learned from any class or workshop. We have also made some great friends at the different conferences that we have attended. At these conferences, we have formed some Pinterest, Facebook, and Skype groups so that we can stay in touch, bounce ideas off each other, help each other grow, and help promote each others blogs. This reason alone is enough to attend as many conferences as you can!

2. You get to meet IN REAL LIFE!
A lot of times you will know names and maybe even recognize pictures from the blogging world, but it is so fun to actually meet in real life! Let's be honest- we all have that blog that we love to stalk and follow along faithfully. Meeting that blogger in person and talking face-to-face is such an incredible experience! Making those connections with people that you admire and look up to are priceless.

3. Get the word out about your blog
There is seriously no better way to connect with other bloggers and businesses than at a blog conference. Some of our largest sponsors and investors were people that we met at a blog conference; even our book publisher was someone that we just happened to sit by at dinner at a blog conference and we started telling them about our blog! Next thing we knew, we scored a sweet book deal. You just never know who you will meet and how they will help grow, promote, or add to your blog. It's absolutely amazing.

4. You are surrounded by people who understand "blogging"
During my first year of blogging, my husband thought that I was absolutely insane! He couldn't understand why I would spend so much time doing "link parties" or connecting with other blogs on Facebook. During dinner, he would ask me to please stop telling him about the new blog that I found that day or my latest find on Pinterest. However, at a blog conference, everyone there loves to talk blog! They all share your same passion and understand all that blogging "lingo".

5. They are FUN!
Spending time with people who love the same things that you do, eating delicious food, collecting amazing swag, and learning about how to be a better blogger make conferences so much fun! Bloggers are some of the funnest people I have ever met. I always come away from a conference with sore ab muscles from laughing so hard and exhaustion from getting little to no sleep. It is always a good time!

Looking for a great conference to attend?
We will be speaking at NMX in Las Vegas in January, plus hosting our own Build Your Blog Conference in Salt Lake City in February.

We also are part of Online BlogCon, which starts next week!


What is Online BlogCon?
Let me introduce you to one of the coolest blog conferences out there- one you can attend from the comfort of your own home!

Blog conferences are awesome. Have you ever been to one? There's tons of fun people, networking, workshops, swag, and all-around blogger fun.

There's also a huge price tag and time commitment, two things that many of us can't manage. And that's where Online BlogCon comes in.

Online BlogCon 2012 is going to be a 3 day online blog conference taking place from October 22-24, 2012. Yes, we said online. No airfare needed!

Online BlogCon has gathered some of your favorite bloggers to be "speakers" at the conference. They've written blog posts for you, exclusive to Online BlogCon, about a range of topics from photography, working with sponsors, networking, blog/life balance, and more. Check out our Speakers page for more information on the bloggers you'll find at Online BlogCon 2012.

Registration for Online BlogCon is now open! Your $15 registration fee includes access to the conference site and all that Onlince BlogCon has to offer: speakers, giveaways, and networking. For all the details, please check the info page, and registration is now open!!

We are so excited to bring you Online BlogCon 2012. We hope that you are excited as us!
 





Build Your Blog Series: Great Pictures Matter


Build Your Blog Series: Great Pictures Matter


You have heard and we have learned that a picture says a thousand words.  In the blogging world, the opportunity to get your blog in front of many people is often times based upon how good your picture turned out.  So here are a few ideas we have gathered to take a better picture.



1.  Use natural light.  Natural light almost always works best, but you shouldn't necessarily go outside to get pictures of your food or craft.  Use a well lit place that gets natural light from one angle.  This will cast some minor shadows, which tends to create depth in your picture.  For food, flash pictures usually doesn't work as well, but you just have to try a few things and see what works for your environment.

2.  Upgrade your camera.  If you are getting serious, it is worth spending a few hundred dollars to purchase a better camera.  Point and shoot cameras usually can't add depth to your pictures or capture high quality pictures.  That said, simple cameras with practice can produce very good pictures.  Its not the pixels, its the lighting and focus.  Learn terms like ISO, f-stop and shutter speed and then use them to your advantage.

3.  Show the details.  For food, get up close.  Show how good it looks.  Zoom in and get closeup shots of the details that make up the photograph.  Get to know your camera and how you can get enough light to get the textured closeups.

4.  Mark your pictures.  Put your blog name on every picture.  Pictures tend to get shared more than the text of your blog.  Let your pictures be an advertising piece for your blog, wherever they go.  Putting the title of the recipe or project on the picture is also good idea.  (See #7 to find a tool to add words, etc).

5.  Control the background.  Get rid of any distractions in your backgrounds.  Using an upgraded camera will allow you to blur the background by using a low f-stop, so you can focus on the main item.  Use different backgrounds to add variety to your work.

6.  Change your perspective.  Instead of always shooting at eye level, try changing your perspective by taking higher or lower angles....from crouching low to up on your toes.  Try different angles, try horizontal and vertical pictures.

7.  Use photo tools to clean them up.  To clean up your pictures use photoshop or online tools like www.picmonkey.com or www.ipiccy.com.  You can round the corners, lighten up the shading, add words and borders.  These are easy to learn and can make a big difference.

After you have taken your picture(s), view them on your computer in the same size that you will post them on  your blog.  Eliminate any pictures that are too dark or too light.  With practice you will be taking great looking pictures every time!


I hope that this helps you increase your page views! Good luck with your blog!

Looking for some ways to make money on your blog?
Check out our latest eBook:
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Build Your Blog Series: Selling Ad Space {For Beginners}

Like we've mentioned before, blogging for us started out as a hobby, and has now grown into a business that provides work for our whole family.  One of the first ways we started to make money was by selling ad space.  Here are just a few suggestions that we have when you're starting out:

1. Don't Be Afraid
Starting out, we were a little nervous to start contacting people, but confidence is key.  You know what kind of posts you produce, so take some pride in them! Don't be afraid to let people know how wonderful you really are. The worst thing they can say is no, right? :)

2. Decide on Prices
One thing is for sure - never sell yourself short! You can check with other blogs in your niche and see what they are charging, and gauge your prices from theirs.  Consider your monthly page views and your other statistics. You should also be clear on what is included for the price.  Are you willing to tweet or pin it in addition to the ad? The clearer you are, the less people will try to take advantage of you (which we had to learn the hard way!). You can be flexible, or you can be a stickler - the great thing is, you get to decide! 

3. Create a Media Kit
This is like a blog's resume.  If you've got a great media kit to send out to sponsors, the more likely they will advertise with you. Include your statistics, your demographics, a short biography, your current projects or places you've been featured, and contact information.  You'll also want to include what types of ad sizes you offer (we currently only offer 150x150 ad spaces to simplify things), and your prices. Media kits are a great way to show people the highlights of your blog quickly and to draw people in to get more info about your company. So, pitch yourself! Make them realize that your blog is exactly what they are looking for. If you need some help getting started, these two sites have great examples of media kits:
http://uppercasewoman.com/media-kit-creation/
http://katywidrick.com/2012/06/13/best-blogger-media-kits/

4. Start Contacting
We first started out contacting smaller, non-competing blogs and Etsy shops letting them know we had advertising space available.  Send out friendly, personalized emails.  Advertisers are more likely to respond to a personalized email, rather than one that is mass produced. Contact those businesses and people you have a personal connection with, too. Be sure to include your new media kit as well. ;)

5. Post It
Let all your followers and visitors know that you offer advertising.  Whether you put it on a tab at the top or a button or link on the side, make sure it is in plain site. In addition, you can dedicate a post to it.  Make sure you let those who follow you on all your social media outlets know, too. Offer special prices to the first advertisers, or occasionally have a sale on your advertising to get people initially interested, and then go from there.  You can always test the waters with a few ads, and if all goes well, you can add a few more.





Looking for more great ways to Make Money Blogging? Check out our newest eBook for more tips and tricks!

Build Your Blog 2013
Build Your Blog Conference
Don't forget to register!

 There are only a limited number of spots available, so you will want to be sure you get in.
Connect with us on FacebookTwitterGoogle +, and Pinterest for all the latest info about this conference.