Advertising
Advertising

The Essential Beginners Guide to Blogging

The Essential Beginners Guide to Blogging

From personal to corporate, a blog is a must-have when it comes to your online presence. They help create visibility, awareness and a touchpoint for customers, fans, fellow hobbyists, whoever you chose to address. Blogs can turn into a day-to-day lifelong commitment to prose, or a random visual record of events and achievements. Whatever your blogging style of choice, there are several rules and best practices that everyone should follow.

1. Choose the Best Platform For You

The word blog means so much more than just a stream of text these days, WordPress and Blogger are leading platforms that can help you craft well-designed sites or pages. Pinterest lets you take a photographic lead to your blog, while Periscope is the new way to share your live video, or you can host shows on YouTube and Facebook.

Advertising

These and many other niche services are all viable. Consider how you can best present yourself, your company or products to the world and go for broke with the most appropriate platform, or play safe and stick with a standard blog you can add many types of media to. Go for an appropriate style and design to attract users

2. Find A Voice For Your Blog

How you address your audience depends on what you want to say and who you wish to appeal to. Personal blogs should reflect your own voice, while a company voice can be narrated by a “persona”, with whoever updates the blog taking on that role. Alternatively, blogs updated by a range of people can have many voices to lend variety and unique perspectives to the mix.

Advertising

Over time, you will discover what sort of content attracts an audience. Keep mixing that in with new ideas and vibrant images, riveting information and exciting content to keep people coming back for more. Any content that you can provide, either a unique insight or a useful collection of statistics or facts will always be eagerly sought out. Infographics are very popular and easy to create, but don’t go overboard.

3. Get More Insight Into Your Followers

However you track your followers, be it the number of subscribers, clicks or comments, you will want a useful way to be able to contact them. The best way to capture that information is through a contact form. By gathering useful information, even if it is just a name and email address, you can use it to send out regular updates or newsletters. Entice them to sign up, with offers for exclusive content or information and keep in touch as you cultivate a relationship with your followers to find out what they want from you.

Advertising

4. Build A Reputation

Blogs rarely grow a massive following instantly. Instead, they generally develop slowly until established, and then pick up the pace as more people share news about them, be prepared to put in the hard yards on your blog. No matter how niche, or how small the audience, they will come, as long as you keep at it and provide a genuine voice. Stay true to that tone, and don’t go for gimmicks or pad your blog out with dubious content, users can spot fakes and fakers, and will turn away instantly.

5. Link and Be Linked To

The key to any degree of success is the use of web links. Linking to other blogs and sites will help your ranking. Getting people to link to you, or adding relevant links in forums, discussions and across social media will also help people discover your blog. Paying for links, comments, reviews or followers falls under the faking it category and will be immediately obvious to real followers. There is endless discussion of link types, but don’t let that drive the direction of your blog.

Advertising

6. Protect Your Blog

Successful blogs are prone to be cloned or have their content being ripped off. Ensure you patrol the web for plagiarists. Also, ensure that your blog text and images are backed up somewhere safe, in case your blog is hacked, the server if corrupted or the host fails. Ensure you only allow trusted contributors access and safeguard passwords and use two-factor authentication to make certain no one else can take control of the site.

More by this author

9 Things You Need To Stop Doing After College The Essential Beginners Guide to Blogging How to Train Your Kids to be Smarter How Can You Help Your Kids Become Smarter? 3 Brain Hacks for Becoming an Eloquent Public Speaker 3 Brain Hacks For Becoming An Eloquent Public Speaker

Trending in Technology

1 11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity 2 To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System 3 7 Best Project Management Apps to Boost Productivity 4 10 Smartest Productivity Software to Improve Your Work Performance 5 16 Less Known Gmail Hacks That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 16, 2019

11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

1. ScheduleOnce

    ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

    ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

    ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

    Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

    Available on Web

    2. Calendly

      Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

      You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

      Advertising

      Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

      3. Assistant.to

        For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

        From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

        While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

        Available on Web

        4. Acuityscheduling

          Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

          It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

          Available on Web | iOS | Android

          5. Pick

            Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

            At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

            Advertising

            Available on Web

            6. X.ai

              For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

              This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

              Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

              Available on Web

              7. YouCanBook.me

                is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                Available on Web

                8. Doodle

                  Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                  It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

                  Advertising

                  You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                  While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                  Available on Web | iOS | Android

                  9. WhenAvailable

                    WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                    Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                    Available on Web

                    10. Rally

                      Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                      Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                      Available on Web

                      11. NeedtoMeet

                        Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

                        Advertising

                        NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                        While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                        Available on Web

                        Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                        In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                        To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                        Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                        A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                        Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                        If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                        Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                        With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                        The Bottom Line

                        Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                        Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                        Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                        Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

                        Read Next