Quick and Easy Research Using Evernote

Quick and Easy Research Using Evernote

After reading our recent post Research for Your Blog Posts – Find Out How, you recognize how critical research is essential in writing valuable and engaging content. And you understand that doing research to find accurate and reliable information doesn’t have to be difficult or boring.

You may have already set up some Google alerts and are feeling dazed by the huge amount of information pertinent to your niche that is available to you online. Finding the best information online and organizing it can be a challenge, but you don’t need to feel overwhelmed if you use Evernote.

Using Evernote will make it simple for you to navigate the internet to find, store, and organize information you want to keep for current or future posts, thereby making research quicker and easier. Create your free Evernote account, use the tips about doing research in the previous article Research for Your Blog Posts – Find Out How, and then, take your effort to the next level with Evernote.

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Create Notebooks

Once you’ve downloaded Evernote to your computer, create Notebooks for the different areas of your life that you’ll use Evernote for. For example:
  • Blogging
  • Home
  • DIY projects
  • Gardening
  • Crafts
Once you start using Evernote, you may find yourself making more and more Notebooks, as well as nesting sub-Notebooks under broader categories. The possibilities are really endless.

In addition to having your Notes filed in particular categories, you can tag notes with searchable keywords in order to make finding them again easy.

More Than a Bookmark

Have you ever found some valuable information but then got distracted and lost the page? You tried unsuccessfully to re-trace the process that took you to that information. Unfortunately, your efforts didn’t work.

This happens even to the most experienced online researchers. That’s one reason why Evernote’s Web Clipper for Chrome or Safari is so valuable. Click it when you want to quickly save pages for later use. It’s perfect for clipping entire blog posts, links, and images. Choose which Notebook to file items in, and add Tags within the Web Clipper without even opening Evernote.

Quick and Easy Research Using Evernote

Favorite Your Favorite Tags and Notes

You may find yourself pulling up certain Notes over and over. You can apply ‘Favorite’ to those Notes, which will give you access to them quickly. Once a Note is a Favorite, it’s moved to your Shortcuts in the top left of the screen so you can get to it faster.

Evernote On the Go

You never know when you’ll find information that you might want to use later. But if you install the mobile app on all your devices, you’ll be able to use Evernote while on the go.

You can even use your phone to take photos that can then be added to Notes. Just click the camera icon at the top of the app and start shooting photos. Those Notes with images will show on both mobile devices and computer.

Your Productivity Weapon

You’ll find Evernote saves your time and energy. It even suggests other resources that are similar to those you’ve saved in your Notebooks. That’s a real time saver.

Evernote will likely become indispensable to you and help you to be a consistent blogger. Read How to Be a Consistent Blogger for help with blogging consistency.

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Author: Kate Benzin

Research for Your Blog Posts Is Easy – Find Out How

Research for Your Blog Posts Is Easy – Find Out How

As a blogger, you do a lot of writing on all aspects of your niche. When you started your blog, you were eager to share what you’d learned about your niche. So your posts consisted of your own thoughts and ideas.

Eventually, though, you used all those ideas. New ones came more slowly and were not as interesting or profound as the ones you wrote about at the beginning, and you’re having trouble finding topics for the blog schedule you set up after reading How to Plan a Blog Schedule.

What to do? This is when you turn to doing research. Gathering information from other sites is an important step in writing posts that provide interesting and relevant content with external validation in the form of facts, statistics, and examples that show your readers your stuff.

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So, in the end, doing the actual writing becomes only a part of each blogging project. Here are some tips to make it easy for you to tackle research without feeling like you’re working on a boring school project.

Use Google Alerts

The first step is to determine which keywords fit your niche. Ideally you want to choose one or more keywords that will be the focus of your blog post and then two or three other keyword phrases to include throughout the body of the post. These keywords become your guiding light during the research process. Essentially, your research task involves searching for these keywords in different places.

Your first place is google.com/alerts where you will set up alerts for your keywords. Choose to have the alerts delivered immediately, daily, or once per week. When they arrive, run through the links and save any that will help you write your current or future posts.

Collect information in this way continuously that could prove to be useful. Save some or all of the following:
  • The link to the content
  • The title of the content
  • The exact keyword phrase(s) you plan on using and any interesting points you can expand on later
  • Related keywords
  • Engagements, such as social shares or comments
  • Backlinks from other sites to the content
Save this information on a spreadsheet or on separately categorized pages on your computer or even on index cards. Use whichever system that works best for you.

Research for Your Blog Posts Is Easy – Find Out How

Validate Your Idea

Doesn’t it make sense to be sure that your post has a good chance of being popular before spending your valuable time on a topic?

How can you do that? Use Google or your preferred search engine to do searches on the keywords of your topic.
  • Check to see if your competitors have published articles on the same topic? If you can’t find much, then maybe the topic is not popular enough. If you find many articles, don’t worry that the subject has already been covered. You have the chance to write improved content on the topic.
  • Have other articles on the topic received a lot of engagement? If yes, look at their comments and see if you can answer questions that have arisen.

Evaluate Your Research

One of the most common problems is determining which research is high quality and credible. As you gain experience doing research, you will learn how to make that judgment quickly.

At first, however, you will need to verify information by going to the original source to be sure that the articles you’ve found accurately represent information from the original source.

To Sum Up

Don’t be afraid to do research. You’re sure to find it far more interesting now than during your school years when research seemed like a dirty word. Research makes your business successful and can be very enjoyable – and enlightening.

For more tips on doing research, read Quick and Easy Research Using Evernote for guidelines on using Evernote to make research easier.

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Author: Kate Benzin

How to Plan a Blog Schedule

How to Plan a Blog Schedule

You may have recently read How to Be a Consistent Blogger, and you’ve taken to heart the advice about producing high-quality content with keywords that will help you rank on search engines, as well as using social media to promote your posts.

You know that being consistent means you need to post on a regular basis, so you’re ready to set up a blog schedule. That means deciding how often will be just right – not so often that you find it difficult to meet the schedule and not so seldom that your readers drift away in between posts.

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Here are some tips to help you make a blog schedule that will work for you.

Define Your Optimal Publishing Frequency

How often would you like to publish a post? Perhaps once a month. Maybe once a week. Maybe every day.

Think about this realistically rather than idealistically. Consider the time you wish to devote to blogging and recognize that you’ll need to do more than just write the post. You’ll want to find images to include in your posts so that your posts are visually attractive, and you’ll need to spend some time promoting each post on social media. Include these activities when estimating how much time you’ll be able to devote to each post.

Start Slowly

Bloggers often start by publishing too much too quickly because they’re so excited to begin. This often leads to quick burnout or just plain disappointment when fantastic results don’t come immediately.

In order to avoid falling into this trap, plan to post at a much slower rate than you think is optimal. Complete beginners might plan to start posting only twice a month and then increase the frequency little by little.

Twice a month may seem rather slow, and you may be inclined to set yourself a faster schedule. That’s understandable. But it’s better to start slowly and be consistent. Then, increase your blog frequency once you understand the impact your blogging tasks have on your lifestyle.

As you gain experience in blogging, you will:
  • Learn how much time it takes to write, format, publish, and promote your average post
  • Determine whether there are ways that you could dedicate more time to blogging
  • Find ways to publish content quicker without sacrificing quality for quantity
How to Plan a Blog Schedule

Keep Track of Your Posts

Keeping track of your posts right from the beginning will save you frustration later on. Some bloggers like to keep the titles and dates of each post in a handwritten date planner. You might like that, but perhaps a better way is to set up a spreadsheet with columns set up for:
  • Date of possible future publication
  • Date of actual publication
  • Title
  • General information about what was covered in the post
  • The site the blog was published on if you have more than one site or if you do guest posts
On a spreadsheet, you can keep track of posts that you’ve already published, and you can list possible future posts. In addition, colors can show the status of posts at a glance.

You’ll probably get ideas for blog posts at various times during the day. Be sure to take note of these ideas and add them to your spreadsheet as possible posts for the future.

For help in writing headlines, check out How to Write Powerful Headlines that Motivate People to Read Your Articles.

Re-evaluate Regularly

As you gain experience with blogging, you will learn which days see the best turnout for your blog, what kind of topics your readers like best, and which topics you enjoy writing about most.
Be sure to capitalize on what works best and eliminate what doesn’t work. Make blogging work for you.

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Author: Kate Benzin

How to Be a Consistent Blogger

How to Be a Consistent Blogger

Bloggers read this advice all the time – be consistent with your blogging. But just what does ‘consistent’ actually mean? Consistency generally means to have steadfast adherence to a behavior. The level of performance should not vary greatly in quality over time.
  • Do all my posts have to be high quality? Yes, each post must be high quality. Don’t be greatly concerned if you slip up once in a while, but aim for each post to be great.
  • Should all my posts answer my readers’ questions? Yes, your content must be reader oriented, helping readers with problems they might have on the topic of your blog. Try to anticipate the problems that your readers might have and write posts that give them solutions them in advance.
  • Do I have to post every day? Or every other day? How often? Is this even part of being consistent? This answer isn’t that easy. Some blogging gurus will say you need to blog every day. Others will say that once a week is enough. Who should you believe?
The important thing is that your posting is done on a regular basis so that your readers know what to expect. If that’s once a day, fine. If it’s once a week, that’s fine as well. Only blog as often as you can realistically produce reader-oriented, high-quality content.

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Check out How to Start a Successful Blog [Tips & Tricks] to get some great tips to get started with blogging.

Now you know what’s involved in being consistent, but maybe you’re asking why consistency is so important.

Appearing in Search Engines

Bloggers often read advice to get on the first page of Google so the blog’s posts will be found by new readers. Good advice. If you can get on the first page of Google or other search engines, you are definitely likely to attract new visitors.

Whenever you post a new article, Google and other search engines notice what you’ve done. If you post frequently, search engines will crawl your site more often and give it a boost. There are other factors that influence how often search engines crawl your site, but for now, just know that your consistent posting is an important factor.

How to Be a Consistent Blogger

Ranking for Keywords

Keywords are topics that internet users are searching for. The more articles you write on subjects that are associated with your main niche topic, the more keywords that you can rank for. And the more keywords you rank for, the more exposure you have to potential new visitors.

If you are a pet store owner and want to sell items to pet owners, potential consumers will likely search for all kinds of products related to pets. If you regularly post articles about various kinds of pet products, you can target all kinds of keywords related to pet products and increase the opportunities for potential customers to find you. More customers mean more money for you.

Content for Social Media

You probably already use one or more social media platforms to promote your website. In addition to consistency on your website, you need to be consistent in posting high-quality content on social media. What better content than your new, high-quality blog posts?

How to Be a Consistent Blogger

Meeting Reader Expectations

As mentioned earlier in this article, readers will expect new posts on a regular basis. If you’re erratic in your blogging schedule, readers will stop checking your site for new content, and traffic will slow to a stop.

Returning visitors are more likely to spend more time on your site than new visitors. And the amount of time visitors spend positively affects your search engine rankings. Win-win.

It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently. – Anthony Robbins

Now is the time to take stock of how consistent you are in your blogging efforts and to determine how to improve this aspect of your blogging strategy.

You can make money blogging. Read How To Make Money By Blogging [Guide] for tips on how to do that.

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Author: Kate Benzin

How to Write Your Business Plan - Part 3 of 3

How to Write Your Business Plan - Part 3 of 3

After working your way through the guidelines in How to Write Your Business Plan – Part 1 of 3 and How to Write Your Business Plan – Part 2 of 3, you should have a draft of the first sections of your written business plan. This post will help you finish your draft.

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Marketing and sales

This section of your plan will define your pricing plan and how you will present your product to potential customers.
  • Is your product less expensive, or is it a luxury brand?
  • What do you offer that your competitors don’t?
  • How will you set yourself apart from your competitors?
Pricing. Decide on your overall pricing strategy. Will you start by offering your product below your cost in order to build up a clientele? That’s fine if you can afford it, but recognize that below-cost selling is only temporary.

Your pricing needs to be in line with customer expectations. If your price is too high, you won’t gain customers. If it’s too low, people may not believe that your product is high quality. Research your competitors to see their prices and to decide what price is appropriate.

Social Media. You’ll want to include various types of advertising in this section of your plan. Don’t forget to include Facebook and other social media platforms as part of your marketing plan. Check out How to Make a Business Page on Facebook – Part 1 for instructions about setting up a Facebook Business Fan Page.

Milestones and Monitoring

Up to this point, your plan is written content that has hopefully helped you define how you will proceed. But now, it’s time to add a checklist of:
  • Goals or milestones that you’d like to reach
  • The dates you plan to reach them
  • The person responsible for each (if there are other people involved)
Determine and describe how you will monitor if or when your milestones are reached.

Expansion

You may want to include a section here to predict whether or not you will add team members and when you expect that might be possible. Describe the skills new team members should have.

Keep in mind that not all team members will work in management level. It can be tempting to offer management roles as a way to lure good employees, but that’s not practical.

How to Write Your Business Plan - Part 3 of 3

Financial Predictions

Don’t be intimidated by having to make some financial predictions. Just make a simple plan with monthly projections for the first 12 months. This is a way for you to determine whether you’re looking at your business logically.

Make sure to include the cost of your product and office expenses so that your financial projections are realistic.

To Sum Up

Your business plan will not be a static document. At this point, you have almost finished your draft. Go back over the draft to polish it up a bit and take out extraneous text. Remember, for this document to be easy to work with, it needs to be short and to the point.

And unless you’re going to present it to investors, you don’t need to worry about how well written it is. As your business develops, you’ll revise it according to new information and new goals to keep it current.

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Author: Kate Benzin