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How to Run a Football Blog (Part 4 – Monetisation)

12 Jun

Running a football blog for a passion is fine, but like the beautiful game itself, you may decide you want to actually get rewarded for your words. In this part I’ll talk about the often mentioned, never achieved area of blogging – monetisation.

Missed the first three sections on how to run a football blog? You can read Part 1 (setup) here, Part 2 (writing) here & Part 2 (promotion) here.

First Things First

It is very hard to monetise a football blog! You’re Supposed To Be At Home makes me around £10 a month. I think that is quite a lot for a football blog! You won’t become a millionaire writing a football blog (or, rather, it may be tough), but you could earn some pocket money.

Affiliates

Affiliate Schemes are probably the easiest to set up (and in some cases, the most profitable). Affiliate programmes rely on you on selling something to your visitors, and you will get a commission. Commission can vary wildly.

Which affiliate programmes should you look to promote on your football blog? Well there are loads, but good fits are:-

  • Gambling (probably the most profitable)
  • Sportswear
  • Travel (for longer away days)

They are the main three niches, however I’ll show you how to set you up with two of the main ones that you can use on any blog: Amazon & eBay.

Amazon Affiliate Scheme

To sign up to Amazon’s affiliate scheme, head to Amazon Associates & sign up to them. Now whenever you are logged into to your main Amazon page you should see a grey bar across the top of the screen:-

Amazon Affiliates

 

Visit a product you like and click on “Link to this Page”. Select the method of linking you’d prefer and copy and paste the HTML into WordPress (you may need to switch to HTML view – alternatively, copy the “Preview” and paste it into the rich text editor).

When published, you should get a link like this – Changing Ends: A Season in Non League Football. Should anybody click on that link and buy, then you get a portion of the sales. Usually it’s paid out after £25.

Incidentally, that book is highly recommended ;)

eBay Partner Network

eBay’s Partner Network is a service that allows you to use eBay listings on your site. First of all, for this part, download and install eBay Feeds For WordPress (yes it’s my plugin!) on your blog, and then sign up to eBay’s Partner Network. When accepted, go to Tools > Widgets > RSS Feed Generator

eBay Partner Network

Find a programme to use, create a campaign for your site, and the select keywords to search for. For this example I am doing a search for “Stoke City Shirt”. Click “Generate RSS Link” and an RSS link will be generated.  Copy the RSS Feed URL.

In WordPress, in a post or page window, click on the “eBay” button on the navigation bar. Paste the RSS feed URL into the first box & then the amount of items to show in the next book. When published, you should get something that looks like this:-

STOKE CITY FOOTBALL SHIRT/JERSEY NO SIZ STATED LARGE 2 XTR LARG PIT 2 PIT 25 INC

£9.99
End Date: Monday Jan-19-2015 19:24:22 GMT
Buy It Now for only: £9.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

STOKE CITY Asics Home Football Shirt Vintage 1999/01 L XXL

£12.00
End Date: Saturday Jan-17-2015 21:54:58 GMT
Buy It Now for only: £12.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Mens Stoke City Tshirt

£5.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Dec-23-2014 20:12:46 GMT
Bid now | Add to watch list

Selling Advertising Space

You can sell advertising space on your site. This is handy when you are beginning to get traffic to your site. You may need to do a bit of legwork to get it started – approaching companies for advertising, alternatively you can go through a broker, who will take a portion of the sale fee.

There are two main types of advertising you can sell.

Banner Advertising

Banner Advertising is space for pictures and banners on the site. They are designed to create brand awareness and also to attract clicks. Although they dropped off significantly recently, they are experience a bit of resurgence.

An example banner on YSTBAH

Text Link Advertising

This advert is a lot more subtle and a lot more popular, though not without its risks. Basically, a text link advert is a link to a website with an specific anchor text – such as for this site it’d be Football Blog. Why are they done? Well, Google uses anchor text links from strong sites as a sign of quality, pushing sites up the rankings. People aren’t buying links on your site in the hope that somebody clicks them, they are buying them for the juice Google passes on.

It can be quite profitable, but risky. If Google does find out you are selling links, then you could be dropped for search engines. I don’t worry too much about search engine rankings, so don’t mind selling them, but yes, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Recommended Product – OIO Publisher

For advertising and managing advertising, I use OIO Publisher. The WordPress Plugin (which is paid for) allows you to rotate banner ads, take payments, run subscriptions and generally manage your site’s advertising real estate. It also has a “Marketplace”, which is a sort of broker, but it doesn’t take a percentage. So simple yet so useful.

Click Here To Visit OIO Publisher

Sell Your Own Products

One way to make a fair bit of money a little easier with an audience is something that I’ve done before, yet not tried on this blog, is sell your own products. It may sound scary but it can be incredibly rewarding – there is no nicer feeling than going to bed and waking up richer than when you went to bed (well maybe there are).

Anyway, it’s quite straightforward to do, but really beyond the scope of this guide. However, here are a few suggestions:-

  • Kindle Direct Publishing – good for selling eBooks direct to Kindle.
  • E-Junkie – Good for selling non Kindle eBooks, and other digital products.
  • Cafepress – Okay for selling T-Shirts, can probably be more profitable if you do the leg work yourself J
  • iStockPhoto – Good for selling images as stock photography.

Unfortunately, I don’t know anywhere where you can sell prints of photos. If anybody recommends a service, please let me know!

All Done!

That concludes part 4 of this guide. Part 5 is still to come, where I talk about stepping away from the day to day running of your blog and moving into owning  a blog. To follow that part, please subscribe to my newsletter below and you will get it next Friday. Thank you!



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How To Run a Football Blog (Part 3 – Promotion)

29 May

In this section of my “How To Run A Football Blog” guide, I will focus on promoting and marketing your blog. Anybody who says “write great content and they will come” is a liar, as general prodding is needed, here’s some ways that football blogs could get more traffic.

You can read Part 1 (setup) here & Part 2 (writing) here.

Social Media

By far the best tool that football bloggers have to promote their stuff is social media, and by social media, I mean “Twitter and Facebook”. Generally I find that Twitter works so much better at promoting your posts than Facebook, so when you have a twitter account, you should be promoting there first.

Generally I have multiple twitter accounts. I have @ystbah which is solely dedicated to this blog as well as football tweets. I have @rhyswynne which is me swearing about things. I also have ones for my other websites I’ve made (@bloggingdojo & @retrogarden), as well as other projects or just securing the name for other projects (@WPEmailCapture). I use Tweetdeck to manage them all, which handily allows cross posting (so a post about football would probably be posted on my @rhyswynne & @ystbah account, a post about a new version of WordPress would probably be posted on @rhyswynne & @bloggingdojo), as well as notifications, and columns for searches (so you will be notified whenever somebody uses a hashtag or posts about your football club).

That’s the basic of social media. I have seen people automate social media with huge successes, however for this guide I’d recommend just sitting with Twitter open in the background, interacting with the community (for example – say “hi” when you follow people! After part 1 of the guide I had 25 new followers. Not one said hi!).

I am going to share a couple of things which have brought me a bit of traffic over time.

Twitter Tools

 

Lazy Promotion Tip 1 – Using Twitter Tools To Automatically Post New Posts To Your Twitter Account

From Part 1 you should’ve installed Twitter Tools. This allows (amongst other things) to tweet automatically new posts to your blog. It requires a bit of setup – you need to create an Application on Twitter.com to use this – however the plugin talks you through the process.

When this is done, you want to “Enable option to create a tweet when you post in your blog?” and “Set this on by default?” to yes. Give it a prefix such as “New Blog Post” (without a colon, this is added automatically). And then get ready to post.

In the blog post’s right hand sidebar before you post is a box with #hashtags. This is where you put blog posts hashtags to try and get more followers, or also twitter accounts that may be interested in your post. Be warned though, if your [Prefix] + [Post Title] + [Link] + [hashtags] go over 140 characters, your tweet won’t be posted, and you get no warning.

Tweet Last Post

Lazy Promotion Tip 2 – Using Tweet Old Post To Automatically Post Archived Posts To Your Twitter Account Periodically

The second promotion tip is to use a plugin called Tweet Old Posts to (surprise surprise) tweet old posts on your blog to your twitter account. After authorise your blog (a similar process to Twitter Tools), you can set up the plugin to tweet old post at random, yet regular intervals. I have mine to post a blog post every 17 hours or so.

A good idea is to clearly mark these posts as being archived posts (which you can do using the “Additional Text”. That way you don’t annoy people by constantly regurgitating old content. Also, you may want to exclude certain categories (like “News”) whose content may be irrelevant if you repost it.

My Blog Guest

 

Using Guest Posting To Build Traffic & Brand Quickly

The easiest way to get a bit of traffic to your site is by guest posting. That is the process of writing posts on blogs other than your own. Many blogs (myself included!) are open to guest posting – and you will always get credit (including links) for guest posting. But how do you get guest posts? Here’s three ways that work:-

  • Find Blogs You Like & Contact Them – By this time in your blogging “career”, you should have other blogs you like. Approach them and ask if you can do a piece in exchange for a couple of links, most **should** say yes.
  • Using My Blog Guest – My Blog Guest is a community that specialises in joining blog owners (who are looking for content) and writers (who are looking for exposure). It can be a bit tricky finding a relevant blog (you’ll probably have to limit yourself to “sport” blogs), but it can expose your content to a brand new audience, away from the usual football crowd.

An example of an Author Bio

After writing the post, you should get a publish date. On the date of publish, share amongst your followers on Twitter. See also if you can get a couple of links at the footer of your post, one to your blog and one to your twitter account.

As An Aside – there are plenty of tumblr’s out there that you can get links and traffic from for just submitting a picture or a review of food at grounds!

Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the art of driving more traffic to your site from search engines by associating your website with relevant keywords, either on page (keywords in the posts), or off page (keyword links pointing to the site).

SEO in itself is largely irrelevant for blogs. Football blogs seem to always get more traffic from social media and general marketing, rather than from search engines (at least in my case). Also, SEO as a discipline is beyond the scope of this guide, but as I am an SEO by trade, I’ll cover a few basics.

Picking Your Main Keywords For Your Blog

To begin with, you need to pick the best keywords that describe your blog. Keywords such as “football”, “football news” or “football blog” will bring in the most traffic, though a lot of the traffic will be irrelevant – if you solely write about Manchester United, for example, any Manchester City fans wouldn’t find your blog interesting. Instead drill down and think of the most relevant phrases.

For You’re Supposed To Be at Home, I decided my main keywords were “Groundhopper Blog”, “Football”, “Sport” and “Travel” as secondary keywords (the blog will never rank for “Football”, “Sport” and “Travel”, but may rank for combinations of the terms along with Groundhopper).

You want this to be a general overview of your blog, so once you have chosen your main keywords, head to the WordPress Administration, and open up SEO > Titles. In the box “Title Template” under Homepage, come up with a title.

A good title will take the form of [Blog Title] | [A Short Keyword Rich Description]. Add a description as well, as this can encourage clickthroughs from search engines.

Yoast's WordPress SEO

 

Also at this point, add a post title and a page title as per the image above, as it gives a default Post and page title which is good when you forget.

Optimising Individual Posts For Search Engines

First things first – you shouldn’t spend time optimising every post. Some posts aren’t worth optimising, just posts you believe you can get some traffic from search engines. Posts like match reports are good to optimise, whereas rumour posts – that occur and die fairly quickly – aren’t.

The first thing you should do is write your post. Never ever try and write posts for search engines as they’ll read funny 9 times out of 10. Instead write your post and then reread it, seeing if you can fit relevant keywords into places that you have used joining words (things like “it”, “them”, “they”, “he” etc.).

When the post is written, you will need to change the Title Tag of that post.  The title tag is often used in search engine results, as is the meta description.

The post title needs to encourage clicks from social media, and to keep people reading, whereas the title tag needs to be keyword rich and relevant, so interested searchers would click on your listing in Google as they think your site will hold the information they are looking for.

Say, for example I wrote a post with this title:-

 “Why Luke Denson is the best left back Colwyn Bay FC ever had”

A “SEO Friendly” title could be this:-

 “Luke Denson’s Colwyn Bay Stats | You’re Supposed To Be At Home”

(I like putting a “|” followed by a blog name after the keywords, as it helps branding).

To do this, on the post you have written, scroll down until you see the “WordPress SEO By Yoast” box, and in the “SEO Title” box, put in your optimised title. Publish the post.

Yoast's WordPress SEO - on individual posts

If you want to include a description as well, fill in the “Meta Description” box. This may not always be used, and doesn’t affect the rankings of your page, however a well thought out description can encourage clickthroughs.

In All Honesty About SEO

I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

Offline Promotion – Football Programmes & Fanzines

Whilst online is where you should do most of your promotion, you should also look at offline channels. The easiest way to do this is via football programmes. If you are reading this, you’re probably a football fan and support a team somewhere. That team would likely have a programme and – if you’re lucky – a number of fanzines. Many of them are struggling for content. You can quite easily reprint your articles from your blog into the programmes, but make sure you edit and include a by-line (similar to Guest Blogging), but write out any website address, rather than linking to them.

A great service if you’re unable to place anything in your local programme is Non League Notes. Submit a few of your articles there, and non league programme editors can use the articles for free in their programme. This will increase the reach of your blog, and hopefully, traffic.

All Done!

Phew bit of a long one this week! I hope that it has given a few ideas on how to promote a football blog. Any questions please let me know below. Alternatively, next week is Monetisation – if you want it in your inbox next week, sign up to the newsletter below, or join us here next Wednesday (day off due to the Jubilee).



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How To Run a Football Blog (Part 2 – Writing and Structure)

22 May

This is Part 2 on “How To Run A Football Blog”. You can read Part 1 of How To Run a Football Blog – Setup here.

In Part 1 we looked at how to set up a football blog. In this part I will focus a little bit of design, structure and tips on writing.

I’m not going to tell you how to write a football blog! Blogs appear, blogs go, blogs evolve. What you start writing about may not be what you end up settling on. Plus do you read my crap? I can hardly offer writing tips!

Instead I’ll offer you an overview on site structure, adding sidebars to your blog, and methods of adding some structure to your writing.

Site Structure – What To Use?

With WordPress blogs you have two things that you can use to categorise blogs – Categories & Tags.

  • Categories are a small number of headings for your blog. These headings can have sub headings, and sub headings, and sub headings of sub headings. These are very structured.
  • Tags are quick and easy way to associate your content based on what you write about. These are a lot more fluid.

The sidebar with all the teams on it are my "tags"

 

My advice would be to use both. However, I say this with two caveats:-

  1. There should be no crossover – You shouldn’t have a category with a tag and vice versa. A good example for Football Blogs will be similar to You’re Supposed To Be At Home – have the categories be leagues or competitions, and tags being the teams mentioned.
  2. Only One Should Be Indexable By The Search Engines – by default, it is usually categories. You shouldn’t worry too much about this.

Customising Your Sidebar

Depending on the theme you choose, you may have 1, 2 or more sidebars. If you pick a good theme, they will be widgetised, which means you can drag and drop sidebar elements to change the site.

The Widget Screen in WordPress

To access the sidebar widgets area, go to “Appearance>Widgets” in the WordPress Administration. Simply drag the widgets from the left hand side of the screen into the right “Sidebar” area. A small amount of customisation may need to be done on the widget to get them right, but good widgets will talk you through this.

Good Ideas for Sidebar Widgets

Here’s sidebar widgets I recommend:-

  • Date or Category Archives
  • Banner Adverts (more of them in a later guide)
  • Links to Twitter/Facebook Accounts
  • Twitter streams – I use a modified version of Lifestream for mine, you can use what you want.
  • WP Email Capture – To capture email addresses.
  • Recent Posts
  • Recent Comments
  • A Search Script

Here’s a few that I don’t recommend

  • Meta Information – Useless, and you should remember the URL for which to login to your blog
  • Tag Clouds – They are ugly!

Structuring Your Writing – Making Things A Little More Serious!

You know how it is, you’re struggling to write and maintain a blog. Unfortunately, a sign of a good blog is consistent content. You shouldn’t have to write every day, however if you consistently write, people will expect it and visit your site more often. As such, to make it a little easier to structure your writing, here are some tools I recommend.

Backing Up Data Online – Dropbox

Dropbox - Lifesaver on more than one occasion!

 

An absolute lifesaver. Dropbox gives you 4 Gigs of free space for storing data online. Use for photos, documents or whatever you use for your blog. It installs a small program on your computer in which you can drag and drop files. Install the program on any other computer, mobile or tablet device, login, and you have your files there for you. Great if you’re always switching computers, a life saver if you take a few photos.

You sign up for 4 GB for free, or with the link below for extra 250 Megs for free. Paid plans available.

Click Here To Visit Dropbox

Idea Taking – Evernote

Evernote can help you write posts a lot quicker

 

Evernote is bloody marvellous. It is a quick and easy online note taker. I use this for everything, taking notes of ideas, copying blog posts for reading later, and clipping recipes I find out on the internet. Evernote works via a syncing system, so if you write something down on it – be it PC, iPad or phone – you don’t need to be connected to the internet: it will upload it when connected. Likewise you don’t need to be connected to read notes. It’s simple, and great.

It’s free, but there are paid packages available. I’ve never needed them.

Click Here To Visit Evernote

Tasks List – Remember The Milk

Remember the Milk has seen me get more organised.

 

In order to remember what to write when, I use Remember the Milk. This task list website syncs with my phone and tablet, and sets me reminders of what to do when. You can tag tasks, repeat tasks and generally organise your life.

I use it to schedule updates for my blog, to set aside deadlines for writing (which I must admit, I’m not that strict to adhere to), and also when to carry out updates on my site.

Again, a free version exists. I am on the paid version, and I love it!

Click Here To Visit Remember The Milk

All Done!

Although not quite as epic as last week, I hope this week has been helpful in helping you run a football blog. It’s mainly some timesavers this week, as these are important. Time is precious and you need time to do promotion of your blog. That is next week! Check back in next week for the post, or sign up to the newsletter to get it into your inbox next Friday. See you then!



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How To Run a Football Blog: Part 1 – Setup

15 May

Hello and welcome to a new series I’ve decided to run after a little bit of coaxing from various people. This will be a 5 week course on how to run a football blog. Whilst I’m not saying I’m the greatest football blogger out there, nor am I the most profitable, I do think I at least know a wee bit on what I’m talking about. As such, this is a blueprint for new football bloggers to get a blog up and running. However, I believe there is a lot that is useful stuff in here even if you are not a new blogger!

About Me

As well as running You’re Supposed To Be At Home, I pay the bills by using a mixture of my day job as head of International SEO at a small marketing firm (which sounds more impressive than it is), and run my own sites as well on the side. As such, I feel that, whilst I’m not the best writer in the world, I know a few bits and bobs on how to SEO and market a website.

Disclaimer

In writing this, I am going to suggest a few tools and services I use. First off – I use the same tools or service. I do not suggest anything that I don’t use or recommend myself. However: a few of the tools are affiliate links. As such, if you click the link and purchase: I get some cash. If you don’t like that, simply Google (or Bing, I prefer Bing!) the tools in question. They’ll turn up and I won’t get a penny. That is fine!

My chosen choice for blogs is WordPress

 

Setting Up The Blog – What Platform To Use?

There are two main platforms in which to begin blogging – WordPress and Blogger. Blogger is a service run by Google which allows a lot more for free. WordPress is a free service as well, and is open source, which means that anybody (yours truly included) can develop themes and plugins and release them onto the market. Many of the top themes and plugins are free. However, whilst the software is free, if you don’t have a domain name or hosting space, you will have to settle with WordPress.com hosting. Whilst free – WordPress.com hosting is a lot more restrictive as to what you can or cannot do on it.

For the purposes of this tutorial, I would suggest signing up with WordPress.com. Pick a theme and start blogging. Also at this point, I’d suggest signing up to Twitter and interacting with the Twitter community as well. Make sure your twitter handle is as close to the name of your blog as possible.

2 Weeks Later – Go Self Hosted

Are you enjoying blogging? Enjoy writing about football and want to take the next step? Well the next step is to go self hosted. Self hosted requires a little bit of investment, though less than many people think – you can get a blog self hosted for less than £50 a year. In going self hosted, it has the following benefits:-

  • Full Control – Your hosting will allow you to control and manage the blog effectively. If WordPress.com or Blogger.com were to ever go down or change their terms and conditions, then you will be fine.
  • You Legally Own Your Own Content – A worrying trend in Blogger.com services is that Google technically owns your content. I’m not a lawyer but reading through their terms and conditions that is what is suggested. In self hosting, you will own your content and you can do what you want with it.
  • You Can Start Earning Money – The main drawback of free services is that you cannot earn cash for your hard work. In self hosting, you can do what you want with your hosting. Including earning some cash.
  • You Are Perceived to be Bigger – A domain name ranges from 99p to £10 a year. I generally trust bloggers that aren’t wordpress.com or blogspot.com domains a lot more.
  • You Are Boosted in Search Engines – Although we won’t be looking too much as search engine traffic in this guide, having a self hosted blog does boost your search engine traffic.

What You Need To Be Self Hosted

To become self hosted, you need two things. A domain name and a hosting provider. Your domain name is the www.[something].[something] you use to access your site on the internet. Your hosting is a computer permanently attached to the internet in which you place your files to access them (in this case, your WordPress files).

Recommendations

Hosting Recommendation – Hostgator

All of my websites are hosted by Hostgator. This US hosting firm use great servers and are rarely down. Secondly (and more importantly) their technical support is second to none. Quick and knowledgeable, any issues I have had have been sorted within 24 hours. Most issues are solved there and then. I couldn’t recommend enough.

Click here to visit Hostgator’s Website.

Domain Name Registrant – Each to their Own!

There are plenty of domain name registrars out there. As such, many of them are similar. However, I use a combination of 123-reg and Godaddy for my domains.

Click Here To Visit 123-Reg’s Website

Click Here To Visit Godaddy’s Website

The 3 Sentence Guide To Getting Your Domain Pointed At Your Site

When you sign up to Hostgator you will receive login details with your username, password & your nameservers. Log into your Domain Registrar (123-reg or Godaddy), find your domain name & find the option to “change DNS” or “change nameservers”. Change the two nameservers on your registrar to the Hostgator Nameservers mentioned in sentence one.

The 1 Sentence Guide To Getting WordPress Installed On Your Hosting

Read This.

Chosen Logo Designer - Blog Design Team

 

Getting A Logo Designed

The easiest way to stand out from the blogosphere is to get a logo designed. You can either do it yourself, or here are some cost effective ways of doing it:-

  • Fiverr.com – I’ve known a few bloggers to get a logo designed by fiverr.com. It’s a bit hit and miss (often I’ve known bloggers to get 4 or 5 logos designed on this, and pick the best), but if you fancy an uber-cheap way to get a logo designed by somebody other than yourself, use this.
  • Blog Design Team – I’ve used this multiple times & recommend it. Quick, easy, simple, multiple revisions. A proper logo designed by some great graphic designers in the Philippines for less than a night out. Superb.

Click Here To Visit Fiverr.com

Click Here To Visit Blog Design Team

Picking A Theme

I recommend designing a logo before picking a theme as in doing so you get an idea on what colour scheme you wish to use for your blog, and your theme. Many bloggers design their own logo and shell out for a theme. I recommend the opposite. With a little bit of searching you can find a great theme for nothing.

WordPress Free Themes Directory

 

Recommended Free Themes – WordPress.org Repository

To find a theme for free, I recommend checking out the WordPress.org Theme Repository. That contains themes that are certified clean (many WordPress themes aren’t clean, read this post so you know why).

The One Sentence Guide To Installing Free WordPress Themes from WordPress.org

Read This.

Recommended Paid Themes – None Really

There are plenty of great paid themes. However most simply aren’t worth the money. You’re more saving time rather than getting access to many new features. However two that I recommend are Genesis Theme Framework (highly recommended) and WooThemes (slightly recommended). However for most bloggers I’d stick to free themes.

I would suggest you avoid Thesis. The code is bloated and much of the functionality that should be Plugin driven are theme driven.

Click Here To Visit Genesis

Click Here To Visit WooThemes

Plugins

Plugins are fairly straightforward. They are ways in which you can expand WordPress’ functionality with extra features. For most blogs, you’d want a selection of these. They are easy to install and, by and large, easy to use.

The One Sentence Guide To Installing Free WordPress Plugins from WordPress.org

Read This.

Recommended Plugins To Install

I recommend you install the following plugins:-

  • Yoast WordPress SEO – Will be discussed in this tutorial. The best plugin out there for Search Engine Optimisation.
  • Yoast Google Analytics – Allows easy integration of Google Analytics which will be discussed later.
  • WP Email Capture – (disclaimer, this is my plugin) Allows you to capture email addresses so you can send out newsletters (will discuss more later).
  • Akismet – (comes pre installed). Prevents comment spam. This is a must.
  • Twitter Tools – Allows you to automatically tweet new posts to your twitter account.
  • Contact Form 7 ­– Allows the easy creation of a contact form. Useful for advertising enquiries/guest blog enquries.
  • Tweet Old Post – Periodically tweets posts from the archive to your site. Good for maintaining a level of interest even when you are not able to tweet.
  • WP Super Cache – Does some cool stuff in the back end of WordPress which means that if your site gets a lot of hits, then the speed of your site isn’t affected. Recommended, even if you aren’t sure what it does.
  • WordPress Database Backup – Backs up your WordPress Database & emails it to you, good in case things go wrong.
  • Digg Digg – Adds social media buttons to your posts, allows posts to be easily shared.

Google Analytics can see where your visitors came to your site from

 

Install Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a piece of software that allows you to track your visitor numbers within the site. It’s a free piece of software and extremely powerful. To install Google Analytics, first you need to create an account on Google Analytics, which is linked to your Google Account. Once you’ve done that, do the following:-

  • Click on the “Admin” button located at the top right hand corner of the screen.
  • Click “New Account” and create a new account, filling in the relevant details.
  • Once done, click on “New Property”, give it a name, place your URL in the “Website’s URL” and then click “Create Property”.
  • Then log into your WordPress account & go to “Settings > Google Analytics”. Authenticate your account with your WordPress installation, and then link your WordPress account with the correct Google Analytics account. Click “Update Google Analytics Settings” and you’re done!

Install Google Webmaster Tools

The next thing you must do is set yourself up with Google Webmaster Tools. This gives you an overview on how your site is performing within Google, what it thinks the main keywords for your site are. It also crucially lets you know if your site has been hacked or is distributing malicious software & will let you resubmit the site to search engines. It’s very useful in letting you know how Google sees your site.

There are two ways of getting your website verified within Google Webmaster Tools. First you need to login to Google Webmaster Tools with your Google Account details you either have or created in the previous step.

When you have done that, click on the “Add a Site” button to add your site to Google Webmaster Tools, put in your site URL within the box that appears and you’ll be given a choice on how you’d like to verify your site. Click “add a meta tag”. Copy the meta tag.

The location of the Meta Tags in Google Webmaster Tools

In your WordPress Administration, click on “SEO”. At the bottom there is a box entitled “Webmaster Tools”. Paste the copied meta tag into there. Click “Save Settings”.

The Box in Yoast WordPress SEO where to place the Google Webmaster Tags

Automate Website Backups

It is important to back up your blog. Fortunately it’s easy to schedule the backups. To begin with, click on “Tools > Backup” in the WordPress Administration.

Scroll down to “Schedule Backups”. Click the button next to the frequency of backups you are after (weekly is great), check all the boxes on “extra tables to backup”, and enter your email in the box above Schedule. Click Schedule and you’ll have backups set up, emailing you copies of your backup!

The Scheduled Backup Box

Congratulations! You Now Have A Blog!

Congratulations, you now a great blog and a platform for sharing your thoughts a bit more seriously than before. Now what to write? Well, anything you want. However in the next part I will share ways in which I get posts written, including structuring your football blog, scheduling posts and jotting down ideas at matches quickly and easily. Check back in next week for the post, or sign up to the newsletter to get it into your inbox next Friday. See you then!



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