Blog Genius
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Blog Genius

The Ultimate How-To Guide to an Effective Blog

About the Book

A blog is arguably the most powerful part of a website. Through blogging, you create content that fuels your social media marketing, email newsletters, advertising campaigns, SEO, and it even helps your sales team close deals. 

If you're not taking advantage of blogging now, you'd better start building that knowledge. Download our ebook and use the advice shared here as a roadmap to creating an effective blog.

Inside are over 130 pages of blogging advice covering everything from choosing the right blog platform to converting blog traffic.

About the Author

Chris Hornak
Chris Hornak

A little about myself...

In high school, nothing was more important to me than skateboarding. I dreamed, drew, watched, wore, talked, and did skateboarding. Unlike traditional sports, the only person you are competing with is yourself. Other skateboarders can inspire you, but "winning" is about reaching your personal goals. It's a lot like business in that sense. Sure, you have your competitors, but winning at business is about working on reaching milestones.  

It was this love for skateboarding and my entrepreneurial spirit that sparked my first career path; I wanted to go to college for business and start a skateboard shop.

Halfway through high school, I got my hands on my first Windows computer. It was a hand-me-down from my uncle, and since it wasn’t the best, it forced me to figure out how to get more power out of it so I could play the games I wanted to play. It was during this time I got into a video game called Quake. It was a competitive online shooter where players battle it out in an arena with guns ablazing. Much like skateboarding it required me to spend time alone honing my skills, it even had movement system where you could learn tricks that gave you an advantage.

This passion I formed for online gaming and computers caused me to switch my career plans to computers, and specifically, I wanted to learn computer programming. Shortly after this realization, a tech school visited my homeroom, and they said all the right things. The next thing I knew I was heading to Pittsburgh, PA to go to college for computer programming.

During my first few years at college, I formed a competitive gaming clan. I had to build a website, find members who worked well together, hold practices, and lead our team through online leagues. I spent so much time gaming I often wondered if I was wasting my time. Ten years later, would I think it was a waste of time? Now, over ten years later, I can look back and realize how much it taught me about the business world. Leading the team and forming tournaments taught me skills to become a better leader and business professional.

After college, I worked at an IT help desk for a national clothing and apparel chain. When a store had a problem with their computer systems, they’d call us. It wasn’t the most existing work, but it paid the bills, and the people were great. One day, a coworker with whom I am still friends approached me with an idea. He wanted to create a website and make money from promoting coupon codes for Dell Computers, and he wanted to know if I’d help with content. It sounded cool, and I said yes.

The site grew as the months went on, but it wasn't making much money. I started researching how to increase a website's traffic, and it was during this research I stumbled upon SEO (Search Engine Optimization). I realized that with enough knowledge how, we could get his website ranking for significant keywords. We even got a different domain name as a result (keywords in your domain name weighed heavily at the time).

Through my research and applying these SEO tactics, his site did get more traffic… so much so that Dell told him he had to take the site down.

During the Consumer Cowboy project, I realized I had a genuine interest in SEO and learned you could get paid. I knew this would be my next career path, and I took the first web job I could get.

I was a web design project manager of a new web department at an agency providing on-hold music services. I spent a year gaining web design and optimization experience, and in the late hours, I worked to get my personal website ranking on the first page for “Pittsburgh SEO.” Once it ranked third, I knew it was time to take the next step and find an SEO agency.

I researched, emailed the number-one-ranked company, and got an interview. Luckily, they had an opening for what I’ll call a web monkey (someone who did whatever website stuff needed to be done). I came in with so much interest and passion in SEO that I became the lead project manager within three months, and within another six months, I became Director of Operations. OK, it was a small team (6 people), so the titles were a bit glamorized, but hey, I was excited and learning so much from working on dozens of SEO projects at a time.

We later produced SEO software, added a web design branch, and became one of the top-growing companies in the city. I got to work with businesses of all sizes, from small to Fortune 500s.

Nearly eight years later, I was still Director of Operations at the SEO agency, but it was no longer enough. I conquered that goal, and it started to feel the same day by this time. At this point, I knew I had to follow the dream I had way back in high school and become my own boss.

The idea from Blog Hands came from a simple observation: Ever since my first SEO project, Consumer Cowboy, blog content still plays a role in a successful digital marketing campaign. Whether your focus is on SEO, email marketing, social media, or online advertising, blog content is extremely valuable. Virtually any company that wants to do business online could benefit from blog content.

I also realized that finding a good content company for outsourcing blog posts was hard. Most of the space's services were established when content was being churned and burned. The focus was on quantity instead of quality. Search engines weren't thrilled with this content.

I set out to create the blog writing service I would want to hire.

Since I was starting Blog Hands from the ground up, I knew I had to show expertise quickly. Who would want to buy blog content from “blog experts” who hardly have any content?

I quickly compiled a list of virtually everything people would research about creating and optimizing a blog for personal and business use. The result was not only enough content to get BlogHands.com off the ground, it was also sufficient to fill a book.

Learn more about Chris Hornak, Blog Hand, and Swift Growth Marketing.

Table of Contents

  • About the Author
  • Learn Why Your Business Should Blog
    • Only Great Blog Content Will Win
    • Blogging Can Work For Any Business
    • Businesses that Blog Rank Better
    • Opportunity for More Digital Word of Mouth
    • Put Focus on Quality Over Quantity
  • Choosing a Blogging Platform
    • Hosted vs. Self-Hosted Blogs
    • A Close Look at The Top Blogging Platforms
    • Conclusion
  • The Many Types of Blog Posts
    • How-To’s
    • What is…
    • Lists (or Listicles)
    • Link Lists
    • Curated
    • Newsjack
    • Reviews
    • Controversial
    • Survey or Poll
    • FAQ or Q&A
    • Interviews
    • Series
    • Thought Leadership
    • Media Posts
    • Conclusion
  • Blog Frequency: How Often Should You Post?
    • Put Your Readers First
    • Do Some Research
    • Adjust Your Blog Frequency Gradually
    • Be Realistic to Maintain Your Schedule and Quality
    • Use a Content Calendar
    • Conclusion
  • Creating a Content Calendar for Your Blog
    • 1. Identify Your Target Audience
    • 2. Identify the Needs of your Target Audience
    • 3. Create Categories of Needs
    • 4. Start a Topic List and Organize by Category
    • 5. Think About Seasons and Events
    • 6. Convert Each Broad Topic into a Series
    • 7. Diversify Content Type
    • 8. Diversify Your Social Media Channels
    • 9. Start Using That Calendar!
    • Remember to Evaluate and Adjust
  • How to Generate Ideas for Blog Posts
    • Create a Content Calendar
    • Try a Title Generator
    • Read Related Blogs and Learn to Pickpocket Ideas
    • Curate Content
    • Check in on Social Media
    • Just Ask
    • Read Relevant Q&A or FAQ Sites
    • Balance
  • Creating Killer Blog Headlines
    • 7 elements to seriously consider when writing a great headline:
    • Test Your Headlines
    • Headlines Take Time to Perfect
  • Uncovering the Best Blog Post Length
    • Ask Your Audience
    • Key factors impact the ideal length for your blog posts.
    • What Does Google Think About Blog Post Length?
    • Longer Post Do Better, But Why?
  • Use Images in Blog Posts and Get More Engagement
    • Why do people engage with photos to this level?
    • What Kinds of Images Work Best?
    • How to Optimize Images
    • Break up blocks of text with images.
    • Use Quality Images in Your Quality Content
  • Optimizing Your Blog Posts for Search Engines
    • Basic SEO Strategies
    • Advanced SEO Tactics
    • Striking a Balance with SEO Through Taking a Tiered Approach
  • How to Promote Your Blog Posts and Grow Traffic
    • Free Blog Promotion Techniques
    • Paid Blog Promotion Techniques
  • Nurturing Your Users to Grow a Blog Community
    • How Do You Nurture a Blog Community?
  • Monetizing Your Blog: 8 Techniques
    • 1. Become a Thought Leader in Your Industry
    • 2. On-Site Advertising
    • 3. Join an Affiliate Program
    • 4. Sell a Book
    • 5. Sell Your Services
    • 6. Sell Products
    • 7. Setup Membership and Subscriptions
    • 8. Sell Your Blog
  • Converting Blog Readers into Business Customers
    • Think of How Your Content Fits into Your Customer’s Buying Journey
    • Use premium, Value-Added Content to Create Leads
    • Create Landing Pages
    • Incorporate Call to Actions (CTAs)
    • Reduce Distractions
    • Think Long-Term / Don’t Go Straight for the Kill
  • Analyzing the ROI of Your Blog Posts
    • Regularly Audit Content
    • How often should you perform analysis of your content?
    • Use Google Analytics
    • SEO Performance (Give This at Least 3 Months)
    • Look for Gaps in Google Webmaster Tools
    • What to do with branches that are not bearing fruit?
    • Analytics is an Ongoing Process

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