Affiliate Marketing As A Business

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This is the third in a series of posts discussing how to set up and run a WordPress blog from a relatively experienced expert, which will feature many helpful and hopefully relevant tangents.
In the first article I discussed the first few steps involving sign-up, the difference between and, and your social media presence.
Last week, I looked at writing your first post using the WordPress content management system (CMS) and I also offered some general writing tips for new bloggers.
This time I’ll be delving into the dashboard to help you set up the ‘backend’ of your blog, by taking a look at the diverse world of widgets.
Firstly though a quick note about the difference between and in relation to ‘plugins’.
A plugin is a piece of software that acts as an add-on feature to your website or blog, offering additional functionality. 
These can be developed by WordPress itself or by a third-party company and range in function from social media integration to automatic search engine optimisation to spam comment filtering. It’s an endless array of choice.
I’ll be writing this for the benefit of users. users won’t find a ‘plugins’ tab in their dashboard as such.
Only users (those who host their own site and who don’t mind getting their hands dirty with coding and other technical matters) have access to these third-party plugins.
However, users do get the benefit of the most popular plugin functionality integrated into their dashboard and on top of that, there is also a section called ‘widgets’ where lots more essential add-ons can be loaded onto your blog.
This is the area where we’ll be concentrating on right now.
Within your dashboard, click the ‘Appearance’ button on the right-hand tab. Here is where you’ll find ‘Widgets’.

To install a widget, it’s a very simple process of dragging your choice from the left hand column, to the ‘Widget Area’ on the right-hand side.

Or alternatively by clicking on your choice of widget, selecting your chosen widget area and clicking ‘Add Widget’.

The widgets will rearrange themselves around wherever you place your selection. You can also reorder them as much as you like by dragging them up or down.
The widgets you wish to use and the order they appear in, are directly transferred to the navigation menu on your homepage. If you’re using the standard ’Ryu’ template, the reader can access this menu by clicking the ‘menu’ tab.

Revealing this…

Which is exactly how the widgets appear in ‘Top Widget Area One’. 
Here I’ll go through which are the best and most beneficial widgets for your new blog.
Obviously ‘Search’ is a must for your readers, as are the ‘Recent Posts’, ‘Archives’ and ‘Categories’ widgets. Another vital one for your own administrative responsibilities is ‘Meta’ as this allows your quick access to the dashboard, Login/Logout and itself.
You can rename any of these with your own witty headers as you please, but do bear in mind the usability and expectations of your visitors.

This title will now show up instead of the default title ‘Recent Comments’.
What other widgets should you bring into your site’s UX?
An absolute must. Here visitors can read your last few tweets and follow you directly from the blog. 
It’s a little bit complicated to set-up so I’ll talk you through it.
First, I recommend adding the Twitter Timeline to Top Widget Area Two. This way it will appear at the top of your homepage alongside the first column of widgets. It’s also good to add any other social widgets to the same area, as this keeps them all together.

Next you will need to click on this link to create your widget. 
After clicking ‘create widget’ you will see a URL similar to this one.

All you need to do is highlight the 18-digit ID number (this will be unique to you), copy and paste it into Widget ID field in your widget dashboard.

Pick how many tweets you wish to display at one time, hit save and you should have something that looks like this on your homepage:

Another social must, this one is much easier to set-up though. Just copy and paste your Facebook Page URL into the field (it only works with Pages, not profiles, so will have to set one up to compliment your blog) and I recommend changing the title to just ‘Facebook’.

An easy way for visitors to sign-up for email notifications when you post a new article.

Handy if your most popular post is perhaps older than ones that would appear under the ‘Recent Posts’ menu. This encourages your content to remain evergreen.

This is great if you’re running your WordPress site in order to drive traffic to an online or offline business.

Elsewhere in the dashboard, outside the widget section, you will find various other add-ons that would normally be available as plugins for WordPress.Org users, but users have automatic access to.
See which posts are your most popular. See what days of the week provide you with the most amount of traffic. See where your traffic is coming from. 
This is really helpful in strategizing when is the best time to publish posts for maximum exposure.

This is where you can keep a check on spam comments.

You can verify your blog with Google Webmaster Tools in order to obtain further data, tools and diagnostics for a Google friendly blog.

You can also do the same for Bing, Pinterest, Twitter and Yandex.
You need an XML Sitemap, it’s what Google and other search engines look for when indexing your content. The XML Sitemap also needs to be updated when you create new content.
The good news is, as a user, this is all done for you and WordPress takes care of updating it every time you publish something new, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.
In the remaining chapters of this series I’m going to offer some tips for SEO, tips for customising your templates and lots more bits of advice from my years of experience in the blogging world.
If you’re a bit further down the line than as described above, check out our seven useful Google tips for bloggers and 11 excellent responsive templates for bloggers.
This is the fifth in a series of posts discussing how to set up and run a WordPress blog from a relatively experienced expert, which will feature many helpful and hopefully relevant tangents.
In the first article I discussed the first few steps involving sign-up, the difference between and, and your social media presence.
Then I looked at writing your first post using the WordPress content management system (CMS), in which I gave some helpful writing advice for first-time bloggers, and later I delved into the WordPress dashboard and its diverse world of widgets.
Last week I took an in-depth look the art of customising your existing WordPress template, either by using the free options available or with the Custom Designs upgrade.
Throughout the article, I used the same template as an example for guidance on customisation. However there are many other templates available to users, all of which can be customised in the same ways as the above link describes.
Here I’ll be recommending the best of those out-of-the-box templates to make your blog stand out from the crowd. The first 10 highlighted are fully responsive, meaning they will adapt to any screen size the site is viewed on.
Here is a checklist you can hold against your agency’s ‘about us’ section. Don’t worry, it is equal parts ‘do’ and ‘don’t’.
Make sure you weed out examples of the latter and add in some of the former and your copy should improve. This list is solely about the content of your copywriting, the words you choose, not the formatting or style.
If you wonder why I’m qualified to create such a checklist, I can only cite my personal and professional interests in writing. I haven’t worked for many clients or won any awards but I have doggedly scrolled through many agency websites.
I must say that my favourite, in the end, was e3, which forgoes an ‘about us’ section altogether, opting instead for a little piece of copy on the homepage.
However, there are lots of great ‘about us’ pages out there, and even some of the ‘don’ts’ I have gathered work well in context. That means having a great copywriter on your team is essential.
Aside from this checklist, other resources worth looking at include my post on building a personal brand, and Chris Lake’s oldie-but-goodie, the A-Z of online copywriting.
While content creation might be the marketing strategy du jour, creating unique and creative stories is just half the battle.
Getting people to actually read and engage with your content is the most important – and difficult – task.
With the popularity content marketing is seeing, brands risk creating a tide of ‘content congestion’, an overload of content that leads many to ignore it altogether. 
Even the most engaging stories can get lost in the flurry of newsletters and social updates that are pumped out daily from brands.
So how can you make sure that your content doesn’t get lost in the shuffle?
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Many companies are eager to explore investments in the metaverse, but what is the best way to go about this? We conclude our three-part series, ‘A metaverse reality check’, by looking closely at the practical considerations behind metaverse investment, and consider what some major brands have been doing in this space.
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