How to pause your business online in Google Search

Comments Off on How to pause your business online in Google Search

As the effects of the coronavirus grow, we’ve seen businesses around the world looking for ways to pause their activities online. With the outlook of coming back and being present for your customers, here’s an overview of our recommendations of how to pause your business online and minimize impacts with Google Search. These recommendations are applicable to any business with an online presence, but particularly for those who have paused the selling of their products or services online. For more detailed information, also check our developer documentation.

Recommended: limit site functionality

If your situation is temporary and you plan to reopen your online business, we recommend keeping your site online and limiting the functionality. For example, you might mark items as out of stock, or restrict the cart and checkout process. This is the recommended approach since it minimizes any negative effects on your site’s presence in Search. People can still find your products, read reviews, or add wishlists so they can purchase at a later time.

It’s also a good practice to:

  • Disable the cart functionality: Disabling the cart functionality is the simplest approach, and doesn’t change anything for your site’s visibility in Search.
  • Tell your customers what’s going on: Display a banner or popup div with appropriate information for your users, so that they’re aware of the business’s status. Mention any known and unusual delays, shipping times, pick-up or delivery options, etc. upfront, so that users continue with the right expectations. Make sure to follow our guidelines on popups and banners.
  • Update your structured data: If your site uses structured data (such as Products, Books, Events), make sure to adjust it appropriately (reflecting the current product availability, or changing events to cancelled). If your business has a physical storefront, update Local Business structured data to reflect current opening hours.
  • Check your Merchant Center feed: If you use Merchant Center, follow the best practices for the availability attribute.
  • Tell Google about your updates: To ask Google to recrawl a limited number of pages (for example, the homepage), use Search Console. For a larger number of pages (for example, all of your product pages), use sitemaps.

For more information, check our developers documentation.

Not recommended: disabling the whole website

As a last resort, you may decide to disable the whole website. This is an extreme measure that should only be taken for a very short period of time (a few days at most), as it will otherwise have significant effects on the website in Search, even when implemented properly. That’s why it’s highly recommended to only limit your site’s functionality instead. Keep in mind that your customers may also want to find information about your products, your services, and your company, even if you’re not selling anything right now.

If you decide that you need to do this (again, which we don’t recommend), here are some options:

  • If you need to urgently disable the site for 1-2 days, then return an informational error page with a 503 HTTP result code instead of all content. Make sure to follow the best practices for disabling a site.
  • If you need to disable the site for a longer time, then provide an indexable homepage as a placeholder for users to find in Search by using the 200 HTTP status code.
  • If you quickly need to hide your site in Search while you consider the options, you can temporarily remove it from Search.

For more information, check our developers documentation.

Proceed with caution: To elaborate why we don’t recommend disabling the whole website, here are some of the side effects:

  • Your customers won’t know what’s happening with your business if they can’t find your business online at all.
  • Your customers can’t find or read first-hand information about your business and its products & services. For example, reviews, specs, past orders, repair guides, or manuals won’t be findable. Third-party information may not be as correct or comprehensive as what you can provide. This often also affects future purchase decisions.
  • Knowledge Panels may lose information, like contact phone numbers and your site’s logo.
  • Search Console verification will fail, and you will lose all access to information about your business in Search. Aggregate reports in Search Console will lose data as pages are dropped from the index.
  • Ramping back up after a prolonged period of time will be significantly harder if your website needs to be reindexed first. Additionally, it’s uncertain how long this would take, and whether the site would appear similarly in Search afterwards.

Other things to consider

Beyond the operation of your web site, there are other actions you might want to take to pause your online business in Google Search:

Also be sure to keep up with the latest by following updates on Twitter from Google Webmasters at @GoogleWMC and Google My Business at @GoogleMyBiz.

FAQs

What if I only close the site for a few weeks?

Completely closing a site even for just a few weeks can have negative consequences on Google’s indexing of your site. We recommend limiting the site functionality instead. Keep in mind that users may also want to find information about your products, your services, and your company, even if you’re currently not selling anything.

What if I want to exclude all non-essential products?

That’s fine. Make sure that people can’t buy the non-essential products by limiting the site functionality.

Can I ask Google to crawl less during this time?

Yes, you can limit crawling with Search Console, though it’s not recommended for most cases. This may have some impact on the freshness of your results in Search. For example, it may take longer for Search to reflect that all of your products are currently not available. On the other hand, if Googlebot’s crawling causes critical server resource issues, this is a valid approach. We recommend setting a reminder for yourself to reset the crawl rate once you start planning to go back in business.

How do I get a page indexed or updated quickly?

To ask Google to recrawl a limited number of pages (for example, the homepage), use Search Console. For a larger number of pages (for example, all of your product pages), use sitemaps.

What if I block a specific region from accessing my site?

Google generally crawls from the US, so if you block the US, Google Search generally won’t be able to access your site at all. We don’t recommend that you block an entire region from temporarily accessing your site; instead, we recommend limiting your site’s functionality for that region.

Should I use the Removals Tool to remove out-of-stock products?

No. People won’t be able to find first-hand information about your products on Search, and there might still be third-party information for the product that may be incorrect or incomplete. It’s better to still allow that page, and mark it out of stock. That way people can still understand what’s going on, even if they can’t purchase the item. If you remove the product from Search, people don’t know why it’s not there.

——–

We realize that any business closure is a big and stressful step, and not everyone will know what to do. If you notice afterwards that you could have done something differently, everything’s not lost: we try to make our systems robust so that your site will be back in Search as quickly as possible. Like you, we’re hoping that this crisis finds an end as soon as possible. We hope that with this information, you’re able to have your online business up & running quickly when that time comes. Should you run into any problems or questions along the way, please don’t hesitate to use our public channels to get help.

March 27th 2020 Uncategorized

How to Get More Subscribers, Followers and Connections

Comments Off on How to Get More Subscribers, Followers and Connections

The post How to Get More Subscribers, Followers and Connections appeared first on ProBlogger.

How to get more subscribers, followers and connections

Over the past few weeks I’ve been talking about warming up your readers and turning them into raving fans. So far I’ve talked about getting the word out about your new blog, and getting those first-time visitors interested in your blog and what you have to say.

This week I want to talk about how to connect with them. That is, getting them to subscribe to your blog, connect with you, follow you, and give you the okay to contact them again. Because let’s face it: seeing how many people leave your blog as soon as they arrive without doing anything can get a little depressing.

What’s the best way to connect with you?

The first thing you should consider is how you want your visitors to connect with you. With so many options available days, you may find it hard choosing one over the others. I still believe (and so do many of the bloggers I’ve talked to) that email is the best option. For both of my blogs it’s the main driver of both traffic and sales. It’s also how our most loyal readers come to us.

Yes, social media is important. But for me, it’s secondary. I think it’s risky to build your primary point of connection on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. They can certainly help you build engagement with your readers. But they all have one big problem: you don’t have any control over them.

So make a point of asking for their email address wherever and whenever you can. And you can ask in various ways.

Get those all-important email addresses

To start, you should have a subscription form (or a call to action asking them to subscribe) in your navigation or sidebar. It’s not the best way to get someone’s email address, but it’s a good place to start while you’re working out other methods.

And what other methods can you use to get someone’s email address? By far the most effective ones for me have been pop-ups and welcome mats.

The first time I used a pop-up on Digital Photography School our subscriber numbers increased tenfold. Just as importantly, it didn’t lead to a decrease in engagement or an increase in our bounce rates.

Of course, this may annoy some of your readers, especially if they’re bombarded with pop-ups whenever they visit your site. But if you set it up so your readers only see it once, they can be very effective.

We also use a welcome mat where all the content on the screen slides down, effectively being replaced by a full-screen pop-up. That may seem a little over the top, but our subscriber numbers doubled when we started using it.

Offer a reward for subscribing

Another option is to use a lead magnet: “Give me your email address and I’ll give you this free e-book/checklist/exclusive content”. You could even have lead magnets on multiple pages of your blog, each with a different offer. Think about creating a library of lead magnets that relate to your blog’s main categories so you can offer them relevant rewards for subscribing based on where they are. You can also create ‘content upgrades’, which are lead magnets for specific items or posts on your blog.

Of course, the best places to put these incentives is on the pages/posts that are getting the most visits. Look at your Google Analytics data and see which pages/posts are getting the most traffic. Could you create a relevant lead magnet or content upgrade based on that page or post?

Be inspirational

I once did some analysis work on the traffic we were getting for Digital Photography School. Specifically, I looked at the pages people had viewed just before they subscribed to our blog. And I discovered something intriguing.

A lot of those pages didn’t have any prominent calls to action. But what they did have were images based around a photographic technique (e.g. using converging or leading lines) designed to inspire our readers and encourage to take their own photos using that same technique.

It made me realize that inspiring readers with images of what could be achieved in photography put them in a state of wanting to learn. And when they were in that state they were much more inclined to subscribe to our Digital Photography School site, which is all about help people improve their photography.

I went to those pages and started putting in stronger calls to action. And our subscriber numbers increased even more.

Set up a goal in Google Analytics to track when people subscribe. Then look at the pages they visited before they subscribed and add stronger calls to action to those pages – especially pages with inspirational content.

Create your own series

I’ve also noticed that more people subscribe to our content when we’re doing a series.

When I did the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog post series in 2005, our subscriber numbers really jumped. It happened again when I did it in 2007, and again in 2009. That series of blog posts really helped us to increase our subscriber numbers, not only to our email list but also our RSS feed and social media channels.

Think about how you might be able create a series based on your content. It could be a new post every day for a week or month. Or you might choose a particular day or the week or month where you write about a particular topic, or interview another blogger or influencer.

Your series doesn’t need to be long. But made it clear that it is a series, and that by subscribing your readers won’t miss any of it.

Don’t forget those other connection points

Earlier I said that e-mail was the best option for people to connect with me and my blogs. But that doesn’t mean I ignore those other connection points. And neither should you.

When I meet people in person who are fans of ProBlogger and Digital Photography School, they often tell me they not only subscribe to our email list but also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the other places we have a presence.

So how do you build up those secondary points of connection? You can promote them in:

  • your emails
  • your blog navigation
  • your sidebar
  • your hello bar (if you have one)
  • those other connection points (e.g. posting “I’m about to do a Facebook live here” message on Twitter, and including the link to Facebook).

Start making those connections

Those are just some of the ways you can make a connection with those first-time visitors before they disappear – possibly forever. Which ones are you going to try? Let us know in the comments.

Image credit: William White

The post How to Get More Subscribers, Followers and Connections appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

March 26th 2020 Uncategorized

281: Join our 7 Day Content Sprint

Comments Off on 281: Join our 7 Day Content Sprint

The post 281: Join our 7 Day Content Sprint appeared first on ProBlogger.

ProBlogger 7-Day FREE Content Sprint

More information and sign-up here https://problogger.com/contentsprint/

A Free 7-Day Course to Create New Content

Does your blog need a momentum boost? We’ve decided to run a LIVE 7-day Content Sprint to help support you create a plan and 6 new pieces of content for your blog in just 7 days.

Starting next week (Monday 23rd at 5pm PDT/8pm EDT / Tuesday 24th at 11AM AEDT) Darren will be teaching live daily on FB in our ProBlogger Community Facebook Group (join here). Each day for 7 days we’ll roll out supporting resources here in the course and add the video in case you can’t make it live.

Join us here: https://problogger.com/contentsprint/



Full Transcript
Expand to view full transcript
Compress to smaller transcript view
Hi there, friends. It’s Darren here from ProBlogger. Welcome to episode 281 of the ProBlogger Podcast. I’ve also got a live audience watching us today. They’ve been chiming in and saying good day. We’ve got people watching from Singapore, California, Adelaide, and all around Australia. It seems to be quite a few Aussies on due to the time of day that we’re going at the moment. I will explain to you I have my son playing trumpet in the background today and this is not to give you ambient music but because he’s got an online trumpet lesson today as part of his schooling.

Today, I want to give you a fun little opportunity. We have been hearing from a lot of ProBlogger readers, podcast listeners about their current situation and how they’re feeling about the Coronavirus, what’s been going on in their world, and how that’s impacting their blogging. We talked a little bit about that in the last episode, episode 280. I gave some suggestions on moving through it and blogging through this crisis. We also wanted to do something for you, and this is something that we want to offer to you for free, which will hopefully keep some momentum going in on your blog, and I hope this will help you. 

As I just said on the live video, we have created this on-the-fly, so it’s not polished by any means, but we think there’s some value in it. I’m going to share my screen for the live video viewers and I’ll pop this same graphic up in the show notes for those of you who will be listening to this on the ProBlogger Podcast.

This all comes out of us observing one of the big problems that a lot of our listeners have at the moment. That problem is that many people are really struggling right now with motivation for their blog, particularly with content at the moment. They have this big problem, that they’re feeling a lack of motivation, they’re feeling distracted by all the information that’s coming out at the moment about Coronavirus, and many are feeling fear and uncertainty about their businesses. 

Someone just in the live stream said that they’ve lost their job out of this and that has brought fear and uncertainty for many of our readers. We’re certainly hearing that increasingly, or at least people feeling like their work, their employment might be coming to an end. They’re looking to their blog for some income but not really knowing how to do that and feeling paralyzed by it. 

One of the results of this is a lack of content on many of our reader’s blogs or at least some blockages when it comes to creating content. If that’s you, then you’re not alone. If you’re watching the live video, let us know if that’s something that you do feel. If you’ve got a reason for that, if it’s fear, uncertainty, or it’s just distraction, let us know about that. I have felt that myself even over the last week.

A week ago, I remember sitting for almost a full day, just consuming the news about coronavirus, and I realized that I really wasn’t any more informed at the end of the day than I was at the start. The next I got up and I decided I was going to do something positive instead of just consuming uncertainty around us.

What we want to do on ProBlogger is to help you through the challenge of creating content at this time. The solution that we’ve come up with—again, this is on the fly, it’s not overly polished—is we want to do a seven-day content sprint. A seven-day sprint where, as bloggers, podcasters, YouTube creators, and whatever content creator you are, together, we’re going to move through seven days of creating content together.

We want to call it a sprint because we’re going to do it for a defined period of time. We want to invite you to participate in it and to participate to the level that you feel comfortable in doing that. We’re calling it ProBlogger seven-day content sprint, and it’s going to happen next week. We’re going to start it on Tuesday Australian time, which is Monday US time, so this is the 23rd of March. I’ve said April on the screenshot there, but it’s actually the 23rd of March. That’s US time and the 24th of March is Australian time, Tuesday the 24th. It’s going to start that day, run for a week.

Now, I know some of you right up-front are going to say, “Well, that’s not a good week for me.” I still want to encourage you to sign up for it, and then you can do it at your own pace if you choose to do that as well. It’s the type of thing that you can have, you continue to have access to after because the sprint is over and you can run it at your own pace as well. You might want to take two weeks to do it, that’s totally fine.

What do you need to know about this sprint? Firstly, the cost is free. This is something we want to give you as bloggers, as readers of ProBlogger. It’s going to take a little bit of time for us but it’s something that we want to give because it’s definitely a need that we see in our community at the moment, one of the needs.

You can sign up to be a part of the sprint at problogger.com/contentsprint, and if you’re watching live, you can go there right now pop in your email address and your details. We will let you know when things are kicking off and how they’re kicking off. At the moment there’s not a lot there once you’ve signed up to look at, but you’ll see there a bit of the format for the time that we want to go through as well.

“Who is it for and what is it?” is one of the questions, actually, I got on my screen here. “What is it?” is another question. Basically, over the seven days, I don’t want to overwhelm you with content. I don’t want to overwhelm you with things that you need to do, listen to, or watch. I want to provide you with a short video every day, five or ten minutes. In that video, we’ll deliver it to our Facebook group in the ProBlogger community area. We’ll give you a little bit of further viewing or further teaching on that particular topic if you want it, but the main thing each day is that we’re going to give you a challenge to create a piece of content on that day.

The content may not be a big one. I’ve mixed up the types of content that I’m going to challenge you to create. Some of them are quite easy to do, some of them are a little bit more involved. As I said before, you may choose to do this over seven days, or you may want to spread it out a little bit more. On day one, I’m going to take you through a bit of a planning exercise, and by the end of day one, you should know what your next six pieces of content are going to be on your blog, and then over the next six days, I want you to create those pieces of content. It’s going to be as simple as possible. I’m going to give you a new type of content for each day.

I’ve tried to choose types of content that I think you could do on a blog, a podcast. You could do these on Instagram, you could do these on YouTube, you could do them on live video. I think all of these types of content could be done in lots of different formats. You might choose to do this in any of those formats.

Day one, we’ll be planning to come up with six pieces of content for the rest of the week, and then over the next six days, you’ll create that content. You will need a little bit of time every day or as much as you’ve got on your hands to create content. For some of you, that’s going to be easy because you’re in lockdown or you’re in self-isolation at the moment; you’ve got lots of extra time on your hands. For some of you, you might need to put aside a little extra time before or after the rest of your day.

Again, you can sign up for the sprint at problogger.com/contentsprint, pop in your email addresses there. The last thing I already had a couple of people asking is who’s this for. It’s anyone who’s struggling to create content right now, either because of the Coronavirus and feeling fear, uncertainty, and paralysis, or for anyone whose blogs just been dormant for a while. 

So, whether you are a blogger, podcaster, YouTuber, Instagramer, live streamer, or influencer, you are welcome to join. We’re going to have a daily piece of content for you to watch just to give you some ideas, and then the challenge is for you to go away and create that content. Then we’re going to have an opportunity for you to come back and share that content with the rest of the group.

We want to encourage each of you to also visit a few other participant’s contents as well, maybe even share that. My hope is that you’ll come out of this seven days with six new pieces of content, that you will have interacted with some other bloggers, had some fun along the way, and hopefully even has some extra traffic along with that.

Again, you can go at problogger.com/contentsprint and hopefully, we’ll see you next Monday/Tuesday, depending on where you are in the world. If you’re watching the live video, if you’ve got any questions, please pop them into the comments now, I will answer as many of them as I can.

Keep in mind we are creating this on the fly. We decided to do this about an hour ago, two hours ago at the most, and my team has done an amazing job to get a landing page up and to start setting up the course content behind the scenes as well. Grove, Lainey, Mario, thank you so much for responding so quickly. If you want to join us, please do that.

I might be in the podcast there, but if you’re on the live video, ask any questions. Those of you on the podcast, we’ve gone from having no episodes for a long time to two in a week. There you go. I know many of you have been waiting for something more. We’re going to be getting into more content over the coming weeks. We’ve actually decided on the podcast to see what we’re doing at the moment as a bit of a series. We might call it the Coronavirus series on ProBlogger Podcast, but we want to create a series of content that’s particularly targeted to helping us all navigate through this tricky time, so tune in to the podcast on that. Thanks for listening.

Before I go, I want to give a big shout out and say thank you to Craig Hewitt and the team at Podcast Motor who’ve been editing all of our podcasts for some time now. Podcast Motor has a great range of services for podcasters at all levels. They can help you to set up your podcast but also offer a couple of excellent services to help you to edit your shows and get them up with great show notes. Check them out podcastsmotor.com.

The post 281: Join our 7 Day Content Sprint appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

March 24th 2020 Uncategorized

How Facebook Marketing Can Transform Your Financial Business

Comments Off on How Facebook Marketing Can Transform Your Financial Business

by Robert Clough

People can’t stop using Facebook. 74% of Facebook users log in daily. 51% even log in several times a day. If you want a new way to engage your target audience and build your bank’s brand, it’s time to head online.

Facebook marketing allows you to compete with top financial companies around the world. With these six tips, you can reach your target audience and get them interested in your bank. As you build brand awareness and strengthen your online reputation, you can stand out from the competition.

Ready to get started? Use these Facebook marketing tips to compete with the top financial services companies in the world today!

topfinancialcompanies.jpg

Engage Millennials

Banking can seem like a very boring topic, especially to younger audiences. However, you’re going to want to engage those younger audiences if you intend on building your brand. Otherwise, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of possible customers. 

One of the best ways to engage millennials online is to cover a range of topics using social media. For example, you can offer financial tips, post quotes, or offer fun facts. 

Social media allows you to connect with your audience where they’re spending the bulk of their time. Make sure you know who your target audience is and what channels they’re using. If you’re targeting millennials, you might want to focus on removing banking jargon.

Instead, focus on the help you can offer them. 

A consumer’s attention span lasts shorter than a goldfish’s–approximately eight seconds. If you want to use social media to your advantage, start using chatbots.

When people have questions, they want clear, concise, and immediate answers. Chatbots allow you to keep your followers engaged regardless of the time of day. You can use chatbots on your Facebook page as well as on your website, giving yourself more opportunities to reach your target audience.

Use Visuals

Another way to get your audience engaged is by using visuals. Your visual content can help showcase your brand. A strong, cohesive brand can make you look like one of the top financial companies in the world.

Make sure your brand communicates your value. Why should consumers choose your bank over another?

As you start creating visuals, make sure your brand imagery is cohesive. A brand that lacks cohesiveness could confuse customers. A cohesive brand, on the other hand, improves brand recognition on every marketing channel.

To use Facebook marketing to your advantage, create unique visuals for your Facebook audience. For example, you might want to use a mix of images and videos. Videos are a great way to communicate your brand while engaging views.

Finish your videos off with a call-to-action. For example, you might want to encourage people to fill out a form or visit a landing page.

Finishing your visual content with a strong call-to-action will help you generate more conversions. 

Focus on Customer Service

The top financial services company all focus on customer service. When your customers are happy, they’re more likely to stick around. They’re also more likely to talk about their happy experience with friends and family.

That can help you reach more customers through word of mouth. 

You can use chatbots to improve your current customer service strategy. Make sure to respond to your customers promptly. If they have a problem, help them discover an easy solution. 

Strong customer service will help set you apart as one of the top financial companies. If you neglect your customers and their needs, however, customers won’t likely forgive you for it. 

Invite Influencers

Many of the top financial services companies use influencers to boost their brand. For example, you might have seen Serena Williams complete an ad for Chase. Chase has also used other popular athletes in their brands to attract attention to their services. 

If you want your Facebook marketing strategy to reach more people, consider using an influencer.

Influencers already have a strong social media following. You can leverage their existing brand to strengthen your own. Your influencer’s support can help highlight the benefits of choosing your bank from another. 

If you can’t snag a big-time celebrity, focus on locals. For example, you might look for a local retired athlete who calls your city their hometown. Using an influencer in your social media content will help you stand out from the crowd.

Educate Your Audience

One of the best ways to show your target audience the value of choosing your bank is to educate them. What information can you provide about finances? Make sure to consider your target audience and their unique needs.

For example, if you’re targeting a younger audience, maybe you want to talk about debt financing.

You can create videos, infographics, and how-to guides to cover a range of topics. Consider using Google Trends and Keyword Planner to research what your audience is searching about. Then, cover those topics in your content to show them you’re there to help. 

Try using an education, analytical tone in your social media posts. Show you’re followers that you have industry insights and helpful suggestions regarding their banking. By educating your audience, you can become a go-to resource for all of their banking needs.

Use Interactive Content

Facebook marketing allows you to get followers engaged with your brand. One way to boost engagement is to use fun, interactive pieces of content.

For example, you might consider creating a quiz to test their banking expertise. You can also create caption contests and encourage people to comment on your posts.

Contests, giveaways, and challenges are all fun ways to boost your brand. At the same time, you’re standing out from the crowd and connecting with your audience. Try different forms of interactive content to see what they love most!

Bank on It: Facebook Marketing Tips to Help You Join Top Financial Companies in the Industry

Bank on the success of your Facebook marketing. With these tips, you can join the top financial companies in your industry and stand out from the pack.

Searching for more Facebook marketing tips for your bank? Check out the Facebook section of the blog today!

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

March 24th 2020 Facebook

Grow your games business with a player-first approach

Comments Off on Grow your games business with a player-first approach

As an avid gamer, every year I look forward to spending time with developers at GDC to celebrate together and learn from their successes. We are all disappointed that this year’s conference was postponed, but we applaud the organizers for taking steps to protect our global community. 

Although we won’t be gathering in person this year, the Google team is hosting the Google for Games Developer Summit, a free, digital-only experience where developers can watch the announcements and session content that was planned for GDC. We still wanted to share these updates with you because we think these new products will help developers succeed and are a direct response to feedback from our developer community. 

As we study emerging gaming trends one of the most consistent things we’ve noticed over the years is that those who build a strong games business always put players first. That means deeply understanding players at every stage of their app journey. Today, we’re announcing new solutions that help you launch a game people love, improve it based on player insights, and earn more during the time that someone is engaged with your game. 

Launch a game players love with scaled user testing

Appealing to players at launch is essential to the success of your game. Based on recent Google internal data, more than half of installs come within the first 8 weeks of an app’s release. To make the most of this influx of users, leading developers like Big Fish Games test their apps in beta before releasing them publicly.  That’s why last year we introduced open testing in the Google Play Console to help you get early feedback from real users before your full release. 

To get even more testers into your app, you’ll soon be able to promote Android games with open testing in Google Ads as well. By running open testing ads in App campaigns, you can drive early users to your app to test things like app stability, user retention, monetization, and effectiveness of ad creatives—then use the learning to improve your results when you launch. 

In one example, Chinese developer NetEase used open testing ads to reach more beta users that helped them optimize in-app purchase behavior based on open testing data.  For their new game, Dawn of Isles, Netease was able to double in-app purchases which ultimately led to higher lifetime value (LTV) at launch.

E02526911 Google Ads PAM Mobile Phone Mock GIF Feb20-GDC_v03.gif

Improve your game by learning from your players

Many developers use Google Analytics to understand how people are playing their game. Now, we’re taking it a step further by introducing a gaming-specific Analytics experience to help you get relevant insights even faster. Starting today, App + Web properties in Google Analytics will proactively surface gaming-specific user funnel metrics like acquisition, retention, engagement, and monetization in one place.

Engagement_report_w_laptop@2x.png

With games reporting, you can see how players move through the lifecycle. Then, you can use that insight to improve the game experience and drive more revenue using both ads and IAPs. For example, you could group the players that have dropped off after one week in your game and share that audience to Google Ads to re-engage them with a tailored message and offer. There’s no extra work to set up games reporting in your Google Analytics App + Web property. Learn more to get started.  

In addition to Google Analytics games reporting, coming soon are a few other new ways for you to use Google tools to unlock more valuable insights about your players. 

  • Updated Google Ads asset report: Understand how your App campaign creatives are resonating with new users and optimize campaign performance more easily. 

  • AdMob cohort report: Understand the LTV of your players across their user journey.

  • AdMob mobile app:Quickly access ads monetization reports on the go via a new mobile app.

Earn more from your game

In addition to using player insights, another way to earn more from your game is with AdMob mediation. Leading developers like GameHouse, Playdots, and StickyHands, who use AdMob mediation have seen revenue increases of up to 30%—and now they can earn even more. 

We’re introducing a new tool called Mediation A/B testing, so you can test and refine your ads monetization setups directly in your AdMob account. For example, you’ll soon be able to run a test to see how much more you could earn by using Open Bidding compared to waterfall mediation. 

mediation ab testing.jpg

Disclaimer: revenue results may vary. 

Using Google’s internal A/B testing engine, mediation A/B testing will split your traffic to run on your control group and the variant at the same time. This approach provides unbiased results that can help you maximize the value of every ad you show to players. 

To learn more about how these solutions will help you build a strong games business, tune into our broadcast keynote of the Google for Games Developer Summit on Monday March 23 9AM PT. Get all the details on the digital event at g.co/gamedevsummit

March 24th 2020 Uncategorized

Grow your games business with a player-first approach

Comments Off on Grow your games business with a player-first approach

As an avid gamer, every year I look forward to spending time with developers at GDC to celebrate together and learn from their successes. We are all disappointed that this year’s conference was postponed, but we applaud the organizers for taking steps to protect our global community. 

Although we won’t be gathering in person this year, the Google team is hosting the Google for Games Developer Summit, a free, digital-only experience where developers can watch the announcements and session content that was planned for GDC. We still wanted to share these updates with you because we think these new products will help developers succeed and are a direct response to feedback from our developer community. 

As we study emerging gaming trends one of the most consistent things we’ve noticed over the years is that those who build a strong games business always put players first. That means deeply understanding players at every stage of their app journey. Today, we’re announcing new solutions that help you launch a game people love, improve it based on player insights, and earn more during the time that someone is engaged with your game. 

Launch a game players love with scaled user testing

Appealing to players at launch is essential to the success of your game. Based on recent Google internal data, more than half of installs come within the first 8 weeks of an app’s release. To make the most of this influx of users, leading developers like Big Fish Games test their apps in beta before releasing them publicly.  That’s why last year we introduced open testing in the Google Play Console to help you get early feedback from real users before your full release. 

To get even more testers into your app, you’ll soon be able to promote Android games with open testing in Google Ads as well. By running open testing ads in App campaigns, you can drive early users to your app to test things like app stability, user retention, monetization, and effectiveness of ad creatives—then use the learning to improve your results when you launch. 

In one example, Chinese developer NetEase used open testing ads to reach more beta users that helped them optimize in-app purchase behavior based on open testing data.  For their new game, Dawn of Isles, Netease was able to double in-app purchases which ultimately led to higher lifetime value (LTV) at launch.

E02526911 Google Ads PAM Mobile Phone Mock GIF Feb20-GDC_v03.gif

Improve your game by learning from your players

Many developers use Google Analytics to understand how people are playing their game. Now, we’re taking it a step further by introducing a gaming-specific Analytics experience to help you get relevant insights even faster. Starting today, App + Web properties in Google Analytics will proactively surface gaming-specific user funnel metrics like acquisition, retention, engagement, and monetization in one place.

Engagement_report_w_laptop@2x.png

With games reporting, you can see how players move through the lifecycle. Then, you can use that insight to improve the game experience and drive more revenue using both ads and IAPs. For example, you could group the players that have dropped off after one week in your game and share that audience to Google Ads to re-engage them with a tailored message and offer. There’s no extra work to set up games reporting in your Google Analytics App + Web property. Learn more to get started.  

In addition to Google Analytics games reporting, coming soon are a few other new ways for you to use Google tools to unlock more valuable insights about your players. 

  • Updated Google Ads asset report: Understand how your App campaign creatives are resonating with new users and optimize campaign performance more easily. 

  • AdMob cohort report: Understand the LTV of your players across their user journey.

  • AdMob mobile app:Quickly access ads monetization reports on the go via a new mobile app.

Earn more from your game

In addition to using player insights, another way to earn more from your game is with AdMob mediation. Leading developers like GameHouse, Playdots, and StickyHands, who use AdMob mediation have seen revenue increases of up to 30%—and now they can earn even more. 

We’re introducing a new tool called Mediation A/B testing, so you can test and refine your ads monetization setups directly in your AdMob account. For example, you’ll soon be able to run a test to see how much more you could earn by using Open Bidding compared to waterfall mediation. 

mediation ab testing.jpg

Disclaimer: revenue results may vary. 

Using Google’s internal A/B testing engine, mediation A/B testing will split your traffic to run on your control group and the variant at the same time. This approach provides unbiased results that can help you maximize the value of every ad you show to players. 

To learn more about how these solutions will help you build a strong games business, tune into our broadcast keynote of the Google for Games Developer Summit on Monday March 23 9AM PT. Get all the details on the digital event at g.co/gamedevsummit

March 24th 2020 Uncategorized

280: COVID19 – How to Approach Blogging Through This Crisis

Comments Off on 280: COVID19 – How to Approach Blogging Through This Crisis

The post 280: COVID19 – How to Approach Blogging Through This Crisis appeared first on ProBlogger.



Full Transcript
Expand to view full transcript
Compress to smaller transcript view
Hey there friends, it’s Darren Rowse from ProBlogger here. Welcome to episode 280 of the ProBlogger podcast. 

It’s been a while since we chatted and I do apologize for that, I needed a little time to get my headspace right and work on a couple of other projects, but I’m glad to be back. I’m particularly glad to be back at this time that we find ourselves in. We currently find ourselves in a bit of a crazy time with COVID-19, CoronaVirus, and all that it is meaning for us in the world we’re living in. We’re seeing so many people impacted, the economy impacted, and we’re seeing lots of new things, or at least they’re new to some people. We’re seeing a lot of people now having to work at home, something that many of us, as bloggers, have been doing for a while.

Today, what I want to talk a little bit about is how we navigate this time as bloggers. How do we, as bloggers, not only keep our businesses going, but how do we actually do something to serve our world where there’s so much need at the moment. I jumped on to Facebook Live earlier today and shared my thoughts on that. 

What I want to share with you today is a recording of that Facebook Live. I did a bit of teaching in the middle of that. I talked a little bit about what the world doesn’t need right now, what the world does need right now, and why we, as bloggers, are actually ideally positioned to make a difference. I want to give you some practical thoughts on how to go about that. Some things to keep in mind, some things to avoid, also just tackling that tricky question of how do we actually make it a win-win for our audience and for us without seeming selfish in the midst of that as well, and actually about how not to be selfish in the midst of that as well.

There are some of the things I cover in the recording I’m about to play for you. I just want to say though right up front, I hope you’re doing well. I’m doing well, I’ve had a bit of a scare and I’ll talk about that in the recording today, over the last week or so, but I hope you’re doing well. I really do want to emphasize the point that I make numerous times in this recording that I hope you look after yourself in this time. 

We need you to look after yourself. If you are going to make a difference, if you’re going to use your blogging, your online profile to make the world a better place, right now we need you to look after yourself as well. I hope you’re doing well and I hope you do take seriously the question I pose of you in this recording: what can we do at ProBlogger to serve you better through this time? Is there something that you are facing right now in your blogging that you’d like some content to be produced to help you to navigate that challenge.

If you would like to drop me a line, my team a line, you can send an email to help@problogger.com and that will go to our support team. We’ll put it in front of the person who is best able to help if we can, and hopefully that will inform some content going forward. If you do want to stay in touch with this, head over to our Facebook Page, facebook.com/problogger, and you will get any future Facebook Lives and updates from there. We’ve got our email newsletter which is still going out every week over in ProBlogger that you can sign up for. If you want the show notes today, head over to problogger.com/podcast/280. I’ll come back at the end of this recording and wrap things up. Thanks for listening!

Hi there everyone, it’s Darren from ProBlogger here. Welcome to the ProBlogger Podcast, also welcome to those of you who are watching this live. I am going live onto Facebook today while I’m recording. Because I think it is an important topic and it’s one that I do want to get our communities input in as well. Our love viewers may have some thoughts to share that I will include in the podcast as well as if I think they’re relevant. 

Obviously, we’re going through uncharted waters right now with this whole COVID-19, CoronaVirus, thing. As I was just saying on the live Facebook, this is something that most of us haven’t been through before. We have not really done pandemics, at least in my lifetime. There’s certainly been health crisis in different parts of the world and we can learn from people who’ve gone through those, but this is new for us all. We’re all finding our way.

One of the things I do want to say right up front is that it is a chaotic time. Here in Australia we’re moving towards social isolation, we’re seeing different parts of the world people going into lockdowns. There’s chaos happening right now, but I tweeted the other day that in the midst of chaos always comes invention, always come innovation, always comes entrepreneurship. I mean entrepreneurship not just in terms of making money, but entrepreneurship really is about seeing a problem and solving that problem. Usually in a win-win kind of way for people who have that problem and also the people creating the solution. Once we’re going into a term of chaos, we’re also going to see some real innovation at the moment.

Just yesterday, I saw one of my friends on Facebook saying that they were working on 3D printing of ventilators. Ventilators are going to be something that there’s shortage of in different parts of the world in hospitals and he wanted to come out with a way of 3D printing a ventilator. I don’t know how he’s going to go with that, but he said there are communities already getting together to 3D print medical supplies. This is innovation happening right before us as a response to the chaos and the need around us. Whilst it is an uncertain time, whilst there’s also a lot of fear, my hope is that we as humanity are going to respond with innovation, invention and it is my hope as bloggers that we can be a part of that.

That’s one of the big themes of what I want to talk about today, is that whilst this is tough, there’s a lot of fear, there’s a lot of pain, there’s a lot of sickness going on, hopefully we can meet that as a community and that’s my challenge to us today. Let me talk a little bit about what I think the world doesn’t need right now. I want us to keep this in the back of our mind as we think about what we can do, let’s start with what the world doesn’t need right now. 

I don’t think we need bad information right now. There’s a lot of information flying around and I don’t think we, as bloggers, need to add to that, unless we have some expertise already. One of the things I’d encourage us all to do is to resist the temptation to just share whatever we see on Facebook, but to really fact check and to leave it to the experts to share that and to find credible sources of information that we can share. But certainly unless you’ve got the expertise, I really want to say up front, we need to be really careful about that. 

I don’t think the world needs right now is more hype or more messaging about COVID-19. There’s so much going out there. We really want to be restrained in how much content we do share right now on this particular topic and we really want to avoid hype. The other thing the world doesn’t need right now is more fear. Fear is a healthy thing, fear is a signal to us that something important is happening, something that might hurt us, but at the same time what the world does need right now is some hope and we can be a part of that. I don’t think we need empty memes, I don’t think the world needs manipulation right now, to buy more stuff. What the world needs is some practical support. My hope is that we can be involved in that.

What does the world need right now? Hope, practical solutions to problems that are emerging. I don’t just mean health solutions, I think there are all kinds of problems emerging right now. For example, I’ve seen problems in our community around shortages of food, I’ve seen problems in our community of people who are feeling isolated and lonely. These are problems that the world needs solutions for and we’re beginning to see that innovation happen. The world right now needs places where we can come together, and where community and belonging can happen, particularly in this time where physically people are becoming isolated, the world needs perhaps some virtual spaces and some safe spaces where they can find that belonging. The world needs people who are skilled at working online right now.

I really want to emphasize this, even in the last two days I’ve had three different organizations contact me and say, “We need your help.” My church, they want to move all their stuff online and we’re seeing this all over the place. Schools are moving online. Some of them don’t have any infrastructure really set up. Our churches and places of worship are doing it, not for profits. I had a not for profit email me in the last 24 hours saying, “How do we move online? As a team to work online, but also how do we move our communications online as well.” Because they’re not able to do events. We’re seeing community groups move on. There’s a lot of stuff moving online. The world right now needs people who have experience and who have the skills and the tools to go online. As bloggers, many of us are ideally situated for that.

Here is the thing, as bloggers, we are ideally situated to serve our world right now. Here are few other reasons why I think we are ideally placed to be a part of solutions right now. Firstly, we have technology already set up. Most of us already have our blogs, most of us already have the tools, the computers, the cameras, the microphones, the lights to create content. We’ve already got that stuff at our fingertips. We’re used to using it already. Even just the fact that we’ve got our smartphones, but we already have the apps probably on our smartphones to create content. The world needs this skillset. 

We’ve got the technology, we’ve got audiences. We already have networks established. We’ve got trust, influence, and reach of our audiences. There’s potential there to influence and to have an impact upon those audiences. We’ve got experience at managing communities, we’ve got experience of communicating, of writing. These are the skills that our world is going to need right now and we have a variety of skills with technology in the online space as well.

As bloggers, I want to encourage you to see yourself as a resource that our world really needs right now. What do we need to do as bloggers and as people with some of these skills. Firstly, I want to encourage you to tap into your community. If you haven’t already, get into your community and just check in with them. Ask them, “How are you?” I did this at the start of the live video today. How are you? What are the needs that you’re facing right now that I can support you with? As ProBlogger, we want to support our bloggers through this process. You need to tell us what we need to deliver to you. We’ve already been hearing people ask questions around how do I work at home with kids around? How do I make a difference to my community? We’re trying to create content for that.

I want to encourage you to ask those two questions of your audience. How are you going and how can I serve you better through this crisis? Share your story. I think it’s really important to share your story of how you’re approaching this situation. A couple of days ago, I shared on Facebook about how I went through social isolation. I had a bit of a scare with the CoronaVirus having gone overseas and had to go to the doctor and get a Corona test. Thankfully I’m clear and I’m fine. I shared that story on my Facebook page. Share your stories as much as you can. 

Even if you haven’t had direct contact with COVID-19, you can do that. My wife, Vanessa, yesterday shared a Facebook post about how she’s preparing for COVID-19. She had so many positive comments about that. Particularly her post was around preparing with family and kids. Share your story.

Look at what other people are doing in your niche. This is something that we really need to do as bloggers, is actually join with others in our niche to tackle these problems. You might have a hundred readers and another blogger might have a hundred readers, and together you could create something that’s going to impact 200 people that you couldn’t have created by yourselves. 

Also, we’re going to find that a lot of us are doing the same sort of things. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel every time we want to communicate something. We should be joined together, collaborating, creating things together, supporting what each other are doing, of same bloggers doing this already with raising money and other types of things as well. Share what others in your niche and others are doing on your blog. Look offline as well for how you can use your influence, your experience, your skills. For me, this has been about in the last 24 hours volunteering some of my time and some of my expertise.

I’ve got a friend who started a Facebook group called Love Your Neighbor Melbourne, it was called. She basically set this group up to try and give practical support to people who might have a need. There’s a lot of people in Melbourne and other parts of the world who can’t get toilet paper right now or can’t get nappies for their kids right now. This group, people are saying, “I need this,” and other people are saying, “I’ve got this.” And they are putting them together. Her group went very quickly to a few hundred people and in the last 2 days, got to over 5000, it’s probably up over 6000 people now. She’s never run a Facebook group before, she just had this idea, set it up. 

There’s now 10 Facebook groups of different parts of Australia all doing this thing, and she’s out of her depths. I volunteered some of my time to sit with her and to talk to her. I’m going to do that again this afternoon. Have a look around of what’s going on that you can participate in, that you can bring your skills, experience, advice to.

Another one for me is my local church, they’re moving all online. Our local schools are moving all online. There are opportunities there for me. It’s not going to bring anything to my blog, not doing it for that reason, but as bloggers, we’ve got skills that our world needs right now. Consider volunteering and giving some of those things. 

They are some things that I would encourage you to do. As you are creating content for your audience, be really careful about the advice you give. I said right at the start, we need to encourage our audience with good advice and send them to reputable sources. Spend some extra time fact checking and finding good advice. I don’t think the world needs lots of opinions or maybe advice, right now they need actually good advice, particularly when it pertains to health.

Avoid manipulating your audiences. I’ve seen a few people recently doing CoronaVirus sales on things. I’m like, “What is that about?” If your product actually is going to help people through some of the practical needs they have, that’s fine. But the world doesn’t need a CoronaVirus sale now on things that really aren’t going to help people right now. This is not an excuse to do marketing to your audience. I do think as business owners, it’s okay to keep marketing right now. We need to provide income for our families, pay our staff, but we also want to be generous right now as well. Share information that you’re qualified to give, don’t trade in fear, try not to be greedy right now, but to be generous.

One of the questions I’ve got here to talk about is, “Can we monetize at this time?” Touched on that already. We do need to walk that fine line between being generous and also making a living. Really, my big advice here is to look for win-wins. Your audience has needs and problems right now, and you have some as well, you need to feed your family. If you can find some win-wins, ways of being generous, but also ways to sustain yourself during this time, that is a really important thing. Do get that balance right. 

Of all we do over the next 3, 6, 12 months, however long this is going to last, is serve our audience, but we don’t actually serve our families and ourselves, our bodies, then we’re not going to last 12 months. But if what we do is feed ourselves right now, then we’re going to end up with no audience as well because they’re not going to stand for that, they’re going to be looking to you for answers and truth and help right now. Go get that balance right.

Lastly, please be safe, please look after yourselves, please care for those around you, look after your neighbors, be wise in the way that you interact with people, and be generous as much as possible. The big thing that I learned suspending two days by myself in some social isolation while I had my test was that I really appreciated the little things that people did for me. Those little check ins with messages, the little gifts, and things that people dropped in, those things are really important and I encourage you to be looking after your neighbors, and your friends, and your networks, and your audience in those ways as much as possible.

Lastly, please let us know if we can serve you in some way. Please let us know if you have a problem, particularly in your blogging right now, so that we can provide some content for you. We would love to be a part of your journey and resourcing you as best we can right now to serve your audience and your families as well through your blogs. If you’re listening to the podcast, I’m going to wrap things up now and then I’m going to dig into some of the comments and questions from my Facebook Live people. Thanks for listening to the podcast. I know it’s been a while since we’ve had an episode. I am planning some new ones to come out soon, but I wanted to get this one up as soon as possible. Thanks for listening and we’ll chat with you in the next episode.

Hi, it’s just Darren again. I’m going to jump into this point because at this point I did finish the teaching that I prepared and we went into a bit of a Q&A where people shared their ideas, their questions, their thoughts on the situation. So much good stuff happened in that Q&A that I thought I would just put it here at the end of this episode for you if you are interested. We particularly did talk a little bit about that balancing act of monetizing your blog through this period, that comes up a few times in this question and answer. Someone asked me about the lights that I’m using in my Facebook Live. There’s a variety of questions there. It’s not as focused on the topic at hand, but I wanted to include it for those of you who want a little bit more over this particular issue. If that’s of interest to you, that will play right to the end of this episode. But I did want to just jump in and let you know that’s what’s happening. 

Just to remind you that you can head over to problogger.com/podcast/280 and there’s a full transcript of the show today. Anyway, back to the Q&A.

Okay, everyone on the live, thanks for letting me ignore you for a little while. I’ve seen a lot of your comments going up. Has any of this been helpful? If you’ve got any questions, have you got any comments, have you got any things that you’ve been doing on your blog that have helped your audience, now’s the time to pop them in. Just having a little look back through the comments. Good to see so many comments, thank you everyone for your comments. 

Amy from Adelaide, “Stuck in isolation with a kid and dogs. Send help.” Hey, Amy, you should check out the Love Your Neighbor group. There’s a South Australia one and I encourage you to check that one out. Just search for Love Your Neighbor South Australia, one of my friends is setting that up, or a friend of a friend. Apparently, it’s going really well. 

Sonia is saying, “In Ontario, schools and universities close for three weeks.” It’s going to be weeks, it could be months. We got to brace ourselves for the long term. Like I was saying, we’re going to look after ourselves if we’re going to sustain ourselves through this time as well.

Ronel is saying, “The video and audio is great. Love it. What type of lights are you using?” I’m just using these little Neewer, they’re light panels. Paul, good to see you, mate. 

Sharon from Michigan has tuned in. Good to see you, too. Sharon says, “I’d like to post some tips since I’ve worked from home a long time, but I don’t want to look opportunistic. Any tips?” I just think share them. As long as you’re not saying, “Pay me for my tips. I’ve got secrets and I’m not going to tell you.” People are more than happy to learn on that front. We are going to do a post, possibly a podcast, possibly a live video on some tips that we’ve learned, we actually asked in our Facebook group and on our Facebook page for our audience to give their tips. I’m going to share some of those as well. That may be another way to do it, is to actually get some tips from different sources so it doesn’t look like it’s just you. As long as you’re generous and genuine with your information, people would find that useful.

Jason, good to see you from South Korea. Hope you’re doing well over there. Hey, Simon, good to see you. Jason says, “I’m happy to be here as I lost all my teaching jobs here due to the virus. So I am needing some ways to recoup the finances from home.” You are not the only one. I’ve actually noticed quite a few people now looking to blogging, setting up blogs for the first time. If that’s you, we have a free start a blog course which you can find on problogger.com. Go over there if you need help in getting the blog up on the internet. I think this is a great time to start a blog, the world does need your advice. If you’re a teacher, then you’ve got some skills that are going to be useful to a lot of people right now because they are moving into new ways of teaching people.

Jason, good to see you. That’s what I’m feeling too. “In the bible, the beginning was chaos.” Yes, this is one of the ideas of out of chaos comes good things and that is certainly a part of different faith traditions, it’s also a reality in science as well. I think it’s a reality in lots of areas of life. Out of chaos, out of crisis, is opportunity not just to get, but to give, and to invent, and innovate as humanity. We are going to see some amazing innovation over the next little while. 

Tricia, good to see you. Carla says, “Hey, Darren. We’ve decided to make Merry Body completely free until first of April 2020, no credit card required.” Excellent! “Purely decided that if we could do something, we must do something. So we thought to offer unlimited yoga, pilates, and meditation.” That’s great! A lot of people are going to be doing it over the next little while. We’re going to see those acts of generosity, that’s what the world really needs right now.

The world also needs some ways to spend its time that isn’t just consuming news about COVID-19. There’s going to be a lot of people sitting at home looking for stuff to do. Yoga, that type of stuff, meditation, that’s all good stuff that people will be wanting and needing right now. Well done, Carla for that. 

Jason says, “Less fear, less propaganda, less conspiracy theories, less political rhetoric, more solutions.” Great, I’m glad that resonated with you, Jason. 

Sonia is saying, “I manage a neighborhood watch group with 135 members and I developed a Facebook group where we can socialize while we are self-isolating. We share our favorite movies, books, and reminiscing.” This is brilliant. This is one of the things that I was saying before, we need to solve problems and meet the needs of people, but those needs are not just health related. Certainly, that’s a big need right now, but our world needs to solve the problem of isolation and loneliness right now. What we’re seeing with Facebook groups and all kinds of things emerging is people creating solutions for that. Well done, good on you.

Jason says, “What I am doing here in Korea is to help expats who can’t speak Korean understand the warnings and precautions. We brought the local community and foreign together and participation is quite high.” Great! That’s fantastic! There must be a lot of people right now who are feeling isolated from their homes, people who are trapped in different places because they’re unable to travel. I think that’s a great need as well. Excellent. 

Aleya’s saying, “Very helpful, great.” Simon says “Very helpful, great.” Sherry, thank you for your comments, Paul as well, Tricia. Tricia says, “I told my viewers that I was just going to carry on as normal.” I think that’s a completely good way to go. Maybe, just acknowledging what people are going through and then providing good information on whatever it is that you blog about is what they need.

I think people need normal as well right now. It is going to get to a point where we are going to be overwhelmed with information about COVID-19 and we need some other stuff going in as well. I think that is a service that you can offer, Tricia. Well done. “Give them a sense of normalcy.” There you go, you just said exactly what I said.” 

Ronel says, “Thanks for the feedback.” You’re welcome. Sonia is saying, “There’s lots of virtual museums and other attractions you can visit your families online.” Brilliant, yes. We’re going to start seeing more of them, I think. As real life museums have to deal with the fact that they are empty, I reckon that’s another place that’s going to start thinking, “How can we serve our audiences? How can we sustain ourselves?” We’re going to see creativity in that space as well. This is why the world needs creatives, they need content producers, they’re going to need us. Position yourself to be on the other end of that.

Lani shared that start a blog course, if you are looking to start a blog right now. problogger.com/startablog, it’s free and I would love for that to go viral right now and to see thousands of blogs start up because of that. Again, you’ve got lots of time in your hands. This is a great time to start a blog, but also the world needs your content. 

Sonia is saying, “I will post these virtual tours after this isn’t live. I’ll also post links to education curriculum sites.” Brilliant, I think that will serve your audience well. Aleya is saying, “I was planning a week of giveaways in my private Facebook this week. I decided to stick with it and the feedback so far was good. Group members are grateful for something fun in the midst of everything. I’m making the prizes practical and relevant. Still addressing the virus in the group so there is balance there.” Brilliant! That’s great. The world does need fun right now. If you can solve that need, then that is brilliant. I could do some of that myself if I had time for it.

Diana says, “Hi!” I’m saying hi back. “Going alone, I’d given for my business.” Yes, I think so. I was actually talking to my PT, who you know, I think, Andy, and I was saying to him he needs to start doing some classes online because there’s going to be a lot of people at home in their lounge rooms, with their families watching Netflix. That’s good for Netflix, but the world’s going to need someone to actually get us up off the couch and start moving around, and training us, and giving us a little bit of exercise and some practical things we could do with our body weight. Brilliant! 

Sharon says, “I just published a post about homeschooling in a pandemic. I’ve been homeschooling for years. Hopefully it will help parents have some ideas about where to start.” Brilliant! I’m seeing a few others doing the same things. Check out what other people are doing, maybe you can create a homeschool education video service where you actually give kids a math lesson or something like that. I don’t know.

One of my friends, Erin Chase, I think it was this morning, she has a site about preparing $5 meals. Someone will get the link for me. But she got her kids with her and part of what she does is she creates recipes for people and shows them how to eat cheaply. She actually got her boys in the kitchen with her and they started making stuff. I think they’re going to do daily recipes and walk people through. She’s involving her kids in creating some content, giving them something to do, giving them some skills about communicating and presenting. She’s also building a business in doing that. She’s actually found a way to give her kids something to do, continue having a business, and also serve her readers because her readers are looking for recipe ideas to cook during these times. Brilliant example of meeting some of those ways of doing things.

Sherry says, “I would like to offer a tip to check your pre scheduled social media posts to make sure they still work with the new reality and are anti-insensitive.” Yes! I think that’s a brilliant idea. A lot of us do have that sort of automated social media stuff going on. Some of those social messaging might not be relevant. Maybe there’s references in there that you put in there thinking they’d be interpreted one way and maybe they’re not at the moment, so that’s a great tip. 

Susan saying, “I am trying to do my bit to help. Currently working on a series of articles, publishing them as I go about how people can make money staying at home and then afterwards, I’ll post something about how they can enjoy themselves, self-care from home. Brilliant, I think that’s great. Particularly if that’s the kind of need your audience has and are asking for content on. Angela, good to see you, love your work too, hope you’re doing well. River says, “The tricky thing is first not looking like you’re trying to cash in on the situation. And secondly, are people going to be able to afford to buy what we produce whether it’s a course or checklist of videos, series, etc.” Interesting times. You have nailed it there. It’s not an easy line to walk.

Really, it’s about being as generous as you can for free, and that builds trust, it builds influence, and those who are able to afford hopefully will be able to reward you for that in some way as well. Whether it be now or whether it be in the future when they’re back on their feet, it all does help. If you’ve walked with someone for free through crosses, they’re not able to pay you, they will come back at some point. 

I actually met someone yesterday in this Love Your Neighbor group that I’m a part of, he was helped in really practical ways. Two women brought him nappies for his child. It was really moving to watch this community service guy. He obviously can’t afford much at the moment, but within an hour of him having those nappies given to him by strangers, he was offering boxes of tissues back into the group. He had access to something. He was moved from being skeptical and a bit scared probably to ask for help to being generous by the act of someone else being generous to him. 

The same happens as bloggers. I’ve seen it time and time again, when you help and you walk through a problem with someone, that doesn’t always have a payoff straight away, but it can have a payoff way down the track. Take a long term view of it as well.

It is a wonderful group, check it out, Love Your Neighbor. There’s Love Your Neighbor Melbourne, there’s Love Your Neighbor Gold Coast, there’s Love Your Neighbor South Australia. In fact, there’s going to be multiple South Australian groups, there’s lots of them already.

Okay, thank you everyone for your comments. We have had more than we usually do. I’m not going to take any more of your time up. I have appreciated your comments, your ideas, I may actually just present the whole lot of this as the podcast to our listeners. Check it out again, if you want to get started, you can go back and watch the video again or go and check out the podcast in a couple of days.

Sonia says, “Yes, you’re right. One of my neighborhood watch members offered me a job because she loved the regular newsletters I sent out for my community.” Perfect example. Generosity, maybe it’s karma, some people might describe that as karma. I think it’s just reciprocation. As human beings, we tend to pay people back, we tend to pay attention to people who help us. That’s just the way we are wired. All right, thanks everyone! Do stay healthy. I do encourage you to look after yourselves and those around you and then with whatever energy you’ve got left, throw it out into the wide world. 

It’s great to connect with you and we look forward to chatting with you soon. Lastly, if you do have any needs right now, any ideas for content that you want some help with, let us know in the comments as well and send us an email through our contact form. Thanks everyone! Chat soon!

Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash

The post 280: COVID19 – How to Approach Blogging Through This Crisis appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

March 23rd 2020 Uncategorized

Get Static

Comments Off on Get Static

If you are in charge of a web site that provides even slightly important information, or important services, it’s time to get static.  I’m thinking here of sites for places like health departments (and pretty much all government services), hospitals and clinics, utility services, food delivery and ordering, and I’m sure there are more that haven’t occurred to me.  As much as you possibly can, get it down to static HTML and CSS and maybe a tiny bit of enhancing JS, and pare away every byte you can.

Because too many sites are already crashing because their CMSes can’t keep up with the traffic surges.  And too many sites are using dynamic frameworks that drain mobile batteries and shut out people with older browsers.  That’s annoying and counter-productive in the best of times, but right now, it’s unacceptable.  This is not the time for “well, this is as performant as our stack gets, so I guess users will have to live with it”.  Performance isn’t just something to aspire to any more.  Right now, in some situations, performance could literally be life-saving to a user, or their family.

We’re in this to serve our users.  The best service you can render at this moment is to make sure they can use your site or service, not get 502/Bad Gateway or a two-minute 20%-battery-drain page render.  Everything should take several back seats to this effort.

I can’t tell you how best to get static—only you can figure that out.  Maybe for you, getting static means using very aggressive server caching and a cache-buster approach to updating info.  Maybe it means using some kind of static-render plugin for your CMS.  Maybe is means accelerating a planned migration to a static-site CMS like Jekyll or Eleventy or Grav.  Maybe it means saving pages as HTML from your browser and hand-assembling a static copy of your site for now.  There are a lot of ways to do this, but whatever way you choose, do it now.


Addendum: following are a few resources that can help. Please suggest more in the comments!

March 23rd 2020 Uncategorized

How to Get First-Time Visitors Interested in Your Blog

Comments Off on How to Get First-Time Visitors Interested in Your Blog

The post How to Get First-Time Visitors Interested in Your Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

How to get first-time visitors interested in your blogLast week we talked about to getting the word out about your blog so people will visit. This week I want to talk about the next stage of warming them up and turning them into raving fans: getting them interested when they do visit.

You only to have to look at your bounce rates in Google Analytics to see how often people visit your blog and then leave. And that’s a shame, because chances are you  a lot of time and energy into creating your content. So you need to quickly give them a reason to stick around.

The tips I’ll be sharing are focused mainly on those first-time readers who don’t know about your brand and have visited your blog before. I’ll be showing you how to grab their attention, get them interested in what you’re doing, and show them that what you’re doing is relevant to them.

Tip 1: Make a big promise

If someone lands on your blog and you make a big promise that’s relevant to them, I guarantee they’ll stick around for a while.

But what should you promise them?

Think about your ideal reader. What are their pain points? What problems are they facing? What challenges do they have? Now make a big promise that you will help relieve one of those pain points, solve one of their problems, or overcome one of those challenges.

And put that promise everywhere—on your home page, on your about page, in your tagline, and anywhere else they’re likely to find it.

You could also think about what they want to achieve, what they dream about, how they want to succeed, and make a big promise that you will help them fulfil those desires.

A big promise we make at ProBlogger is that we’ll help our readers create income streams through their blogging. And we know it’s something our readers look for on our blog.

If someone comes to your blog with a particular pain point or goal they want to achieve, and you make a big promise about it, they will definitely look twice

Tip 2: Differentiate yourself in some way

Another way to make people look twice at your blog is to differentiate yourself by doing things a little bit differently.

The most obvious way to demonstrate your difference is in the content you write. You may decide to be more contrarian than everyone else. Or maybe you’ll reveal more secrets and be more transparent than anyone else. You might choose to be more generous, more useful, more informed, of more humorous. Any of these can help differentiate you from everyone else.

But you can also weave this point of difference into a branding. You could differentiate yourself with your tagline, your design, or perhaps the greeting video people see when they first land on your site.

How can you show readers you do things differently on your blog?

Tip 3: Give your readers a quick win

Ever read a blog post, or listened to a podcast, and immediately thought, “That’s just what I needed to hear”. You’ve been searching for this information for ages, and now you’ve finally found it. It makes you so happy you do a little fist pump.

We all love getting quick wins like this. And giving your readers a quick win is a sure way to get them coming back for another visit.

As much as you’d like people to begin their journey at your home page, chances are they’ll be coming to your blog through a post they found in Google, on social media, or via a link sent by a friend. And so you want as much of your content to be ‘fist pump’ content as possible. Because even if they do find it on your home page, it will quickly disappear as you add more content.

I one wrote a piece of content on ProBlogger called How To Start A Blog. To me, it was fist pump content. It gave people a five-step process for starting their own blog. And it wasn’t long before I was getting emails saying, “Thank you so much for this blog post. It helped me start my first blog”.

But two weeks later it had disappeared from the front page. And my archives are like a black hole. People often find what they’re looking for in there, but sometimes they don’t. So as well as creating fist pump content, you need to find a way to make it easily accessible. And that means you need to…

Tip 4: Get your readers to the right place

To avoid the ‘black hole’ archive problem you need to direct people to the content that will help them fulfil their need and help you fulfil your big promise).

A relatively easy way to this is to tweak your site’s navigation. Ask yourself, How can I direct people to the content that best serves their needs?

Don’t rely on your blog’s search box, because there are no guarantees your readers will find what they’re looking for. Fortunately, there are other ways to funnel the right people to the right content at the right time (for them).

One way is to create ‘start pages’. Create a page that focuses on a particular topic, and then populate it with links to all the posts related to that topic. (I talked about start pages on episode 111 of the ProBlogger podcast).

Another thing you can do is create ‘portals’, which we’ve done on ProBlogger’s home page. Following the words “I need help to…” are eight icons leading to pages that correspond to the top eight reasons our readers come to ProBlogger. And how did we find out what those top eight reasons were? By asking our readers to tell us about the challenges they faced, what they needed the most, and what their biggest pain points were.

Sound familiar?

We don’t have portals on Digital Photography School. But we’ve woven some drop-down menus into the navigation that offer people some of our fist pump content.

Whichever method you choose (or perhaps you can think of a better one), use it to get the right content to the right people as much as you possibly can.

Tip 5: Get personal

Something else that will have people giving your blog more than a cursory glance is to make you content more personal.

And while you can do that by changing the way you write your content to make it more story-like, you should also think about adding video to your site.

Video nearly always makes people look twice, especially live video. Live streaming has become very popular, particularly with brands and influencers, because it gets people engaged.

I remember scrolling through my news feed one time to the point where my eyes were glazing over. But then I saw a friend doing a live video, and I clicked the link immediately. (It was Mike O’Neil doing a live stream of him racing around a track in his motor car.)

If you’re comfortable in front of the camera, I really recommend giving live streaming a try. Even if you prefer recording offline and then upload the result to Facebook or YouTube, it’s still worth incorporating video into your content.

Even including photos can make your content more attractive. When my wife started blogging, she wasn’t comfortable putting her face or even using her name on her blog. But one day she summoned up the courage up upload a selfie to her blog, and used her name for the first time. She also started getting more personal with her content.

And as Google Analytics proved, people started coming back. A lot.

Tip 6: Provide social proof

My final tip for getting people interested in your blog is to use social proof.

It may be an expert, celebrity, or someone of influence in your particular industry saying something nice about you. The front page of Leadpages features a quote from Amy Porterfield about and why she likes Leadpages. And whoever lands on that page will see the quote (and her photo) and think, Oh, there’s Amy Porterfield. I know her. She’s that online marketing expert. Oh, she uses Leadpages.

That’s social proof.

You can do the same thing with contacts in your industry that have credibility or influence. If they’ve said something nice about you in an article they’ve written, ask them if you can use that quote on your blog.

It may also come from one of your readers. This can be a really powerful way to build social proof on your site, as it shows your readers that other people just like them read your blog. If someone regularly comments on your blog, you could send them an email along the lines of, “Hey, would you mind writing a sentence about why you like what we do? And could we use it and a photo of you on our blog?”

Your social proof can also be numbers rather than people. If you have a thousand readers, why not highlight that fact? This may not be relevant is you’re just starting out. But if you have a lot of readers or subscribers, then make sure people know about it. Tell them on your home and about pages, on your blog posts, and even in your tagline.

And don’t forget your social media stats. Showing how many Facebook and Twitter followers you have can be really effective.

 

So there you have it: six tips for getting readers to give your blog a second look and get them interested.

Next week I’ll talk about how to get these people to subscribe and connect. But in the meantime, let us know what you’re doing (or planning on doing) to get people interested in what you’re saying.

Image credit: Christian Chen

The post How to Get First-Time Visitors Interested in Your Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

March 19th 2020 Uncategorized

Newsroom: Coronavirus Hits China Ad Spending

Comments Off on Newsroom: Coronavirus Hits China Ad Spending

eMarketer cuts forecast for total media ad spending by 6.2%   March 17, 2020 (New York, NY) – Just months after the first case was reported, it is already clear […]

March 18th 2020 Uncategorized