Last Updated February 18th, 2019

How Can Repurposing Content Beat The Content Blues?

How Can Repurposing Content Beat The Content Blues?

Creating content for your online business is challenging. It’s hard to come up with new ideas day after day. You get clobbered by the content blues and struggle to come up with new ideas. Why can’t you come up with any new ideas?

Have you thought about repurposing content you’ve already created?

I don’t mean rewriting the same article over and over again. It’s already hard enough to avoid that trap when you’ve been working on a topic for a while. New blog post ideas are hard to come by. You can easily forget some of what you’ve written in the past and write something new that is very similar.

But writing content isn’t the only game in town. You can repurpose content you’ve already created for use in marketing your site.

Why Repurpose Content?

Repurposing your content can do great things for your blog. It’s also easier than coming up with something new every time you start to work.

Repurpose your content by creating different versions of it to use in different places. You don’t want to put exactly the same content all over the internet, of course. Each version should be targeted to the audience of the site your content is placed on.

This has a lot of benefits.

  • SEO benefits – You can build links from other sites with repurposed content.
  • Authority benefits – The more people see your name and content on other websites, the more likely they are to view you as an authority.
  • New audiences – Getting your work out there in new places means new people will see your content. They probably wouldn’t have found you otherwise.

What Content Should You Repurpose?

Be picky about the content you repurpose. Not everything you put on your blog will be suitable.

What you’re looking for is content that performed well already. The posts that got a lot of traffic, comments, and/or social media response. Look for anything that shows you did a particularly good job on that piece of content.

blogging challenges

If it’s seasonal, the big question you need to ask yourself is if you can repurpose it in time for that season. It takes time to repurpose content. That great piece you did for Christmas that everyone loved isn’t going to perform well at other times of the year. You may be better off putting a note in your calendar to see about reviving it before next Christmas.

Check your Google Analytics to see which posts got the most traffic in the past month. Odds are that you can repurpose some of those posts into something new.

If you have Tailwind, you can also check the analytics there to see what performed best for you on Pinterest. While this is also a function of the quality of your graphics, a pin that performs well is usually connected to good content.

When you repurpose your old content, don’t leave it exactly as it was. Consider the target audience you’re now aiming at. Try to add a little something new. Some of your audience may interact with your content in more than one way – you don’t want to bore them with repetition.

How To Repurpose Blog Content

There are quite a few ways you can repurpose your blog content. Some are easier than others.

Create New Blog Posts

While you don’t want to write the same blog post over and over, you can take some of the information from an old blog post, and come at it in a different way with a new blog post.

For example, a “how to” post can inspire a “how not to” post. This could be approached seriously or with humor.

You can also find a common theme within your best posts, and use that to create a list post that links them together. This could become a great resource all on it’s own. If you realize that there’s a point to be made that you haven’t covered yet, include it in the list, and write a separate blog post for it.

Another thing to look for in your post is points that you can cover in more detail. Check the comments for things people wanted more information on.

If you find that something has gone out of date in a blog post, you may be wiser to update that blog post rather than create a new post on that same subject, so long as the changes aren’t extreme. If they’re too significant, a post emphasizing how things have changed is a better choice.

Record A Podcast Episode

Some people love to learn by listening. It’s how they learn the best. You’ll need a microphone for your computer and some software such as Audacity to create it. There are many sites you can use to distribute your podcast. You can even share it on iTunes.

The tricky part is coming up with information that’s long enough to be interesting. Just reading off an article would make for a very short podcast episode. While it’s possible that you could get away with super short podcast episode, you’ll probably do better if they’re longer.

It takes practice to do a good podcast. You have to speak clearly and sound interesting. No one will listen if you’re droning on and on, or speaking so fast they can’t understand you.


Record A Video

Sites such as YouTube are incredibly popular. They get millions of visitors looking for videos on all kinds of subjects. This is great since some people are very visual learners.

But you don’t have to limit yourself to YouTube. Many social media sites, including Facebook and LinkedIn, allow users to post videos.

If you have Windows, you can easily install a movie making app. There are a number of them in the Microsoft Store, from free to paid. Macs also have tools to help you make videos.

You will need either a good webcam or a small digital camcorder if you want to be in your videos. There are a number of great options out there. Make sure the camera takes good quality high definition video and captures sound well.

You can also use your smartphone if the camera is good enough. Most are, these days.

You can, in essence, read your articles to make your videos if you like. I suggest having visual aids when possible. If you’d rather not be a talking head in the video, you can make them be a sort of slide presentation, or do a product demonstration without showing your face. You have plenty of options.

Create An Infographic

When you’re feeling a little more creative on the design side of things, you can beat the content blues by creating an infographic out of a blog post.

Infographics won’t work for every kind of blog post. Some things just aren’t suited to that. But if you can think of a way to share information in a visual form, it’s time to make an infographic out of it.

You don’t have to be a great graphic designer to do this. You can use tools such as VengagePiktochart or Canva to create infographics. There are both free and paid tools available. Paid tools are generally more advanced, but you can make great infographics for free with some work.

Infographics can be included as a part of your original post, of course.

A great infographic is easy to read and allows your audience to grasp the information quickly. It’s not the place for long paragraphs of information. Neil Patel has some great tips on creating infographics.

Make A Slideshow

There are several sites that allow you to post your content in the form of a slideshow. Slideshare is run by LinkedIn, and is extremely popular. They state that 80 million professionals use the site for educational purposes

Google Drive has easy to use slideshow maker, and you can upload your creation directly to Slideshare. They have a variety of preformatted slides to choose from, or you can style it yourself. You can even upload your own background images.

The information you put into your infographic is perfect for a slideshow. Work on these at the same time, and you can get them both done with less effort.

creating blog content

Share On Medium can be a good place to share some of your content. They even let you import blog posts. From there, you can edit it as desired or leave it in its original form. This tool leaves a link to your original post at the bottom.

Medium has a solid audience, and if they like your content, this may drive visitors to your site. But they also allow you to connect to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, so that you can connect with the audiences you already have there.

You can learn more about the advantages of publishing on Medium on Wordstream.

Use Excerpts In Your Social Media

Pick some of the most interesting parts of your post and use them as social media posts, including a link to the post. These can do a great job of driving more traffic to your post.

For Twitter, the excerpt will be relatively short. Facebook gives you quite a bit more room.

For some niches, LinkedIn can be a great place to share a part of your post. People don’t spend as much time on LinkedIn as they do on other social sites, so you need to consider if it’s the right site for you.

Don’t limit your social posts by only linking to your content. Use them to drive discussion. That can bring in more people than would have seen your post otherwise.

Make New Images For Pinterest

If you do a lot of marketing on Pinterest, try creating new images for posts that have done well there in the past. Pinterest loves new content.

Don’t just use your blog post title for your images. Use a call to action or pull an interesting bit from your post to inspire the text you put on your pinnable images. On the whole, these will be far more interesting than simple blog post titles.

I like to create a wide range of pinnable images for my content. While many people feel that light/white or minimalist images do best, I like to work with a variety of style. I like color.

Testing a variety of styles will help you learn what works best for your audience. You can’t assume that what others say works best will be best for you.

content blues

Answer Questions On Quora

Quora is a question and answer site, and many marketers find that they can do really well on it.

Seek out questions related to posts you’ve written, and use some of that information to answer the question, including a link back to the original post. Don’t skimp on the information you put directly on Quora – your answer won’t rank well if it’s not helpful right away.

If you aren’t sure how much information to include in your answers, take some time to read what others have done. You’ll see that the most popular answers are highly informative. That’s what you should aim for.

Make An Online Course Or Ebook

Use some of your most informative posts to create an online course in your niche. Add extra information to bring it to the next level. Your course should offer something more than people can get for free on your blog.

You can sell your course on your site or use one of the many sites out there that sell your course for you. Udemy and Teachable are very popular.

Write A Guest Post

Guest posting can be a highly effective way to drive traffic to your website. And while most sites that accept guest posts want original content, you can use an existing post to get you started.

Make sure your guest posts are different from your other posts. While you can use some of the same facts, you don’t want to repeat all of the same points. Come up with something new for each guest post.

Go Live

You can do a live stream based on your content. Live streaming is very popular, and you can leverage some of the followings you already have.

Facebook Live, for example, is extremely popular. If you already have people following your blog on Facebook, they may be interested in seeing you go live. Just announce the time that you’ll do it so that people can plan to be there.

Use your post as the basis for what you’re going to say, but don’t just read it off. Most blog posts don’t sound exactly like what you’d say out loud.

Be ready to answer questions in the comments when you’re live too. The people watching you can come up with some interesting thoughts. They might even inspire future content.

Here are just a few of the sites you can go live on:

coffee blog inspiration

Isn’t This All Really Time Consuming?

Of course it is!

No matter how often people talk about online business and blogging being super easy, the simple truth is that most people really have to work at it.


But that’s the great thing about repurposing your content – much of the hard work has already been done. All you have to do is freshen it up and put it in the right format for a new audience.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated November 5th, 2018

Your Computer Has Gone Kaput! How Will You Work On Your Blog Now?

Your Computer Has Gone Kaput! How Will You Work On Your Blog Now?

Have you ever thought about what you would do if the main computer or another device you run your blog with went kaput? It’s the setup for a really bad day. It’s much harder to work on your blog when one of the main tools you need fails.

It doesn’t matter whether you rely the most on a computer, tablet, or your smartphone. When the main device you use to run your blog starts going bad, you have a serious problem on your hands.

This is the kind of problem it’s best to prepare for in advance. If you have a plan in place for those times that things go wrong, you’ll lose less working time if you’re prepared for problems. It’s not like you’ll always have warning.

In this case, I’m talking about problems that make your computer completely unusable time. Not problems that you can fix fairly quickly. You should know how to handle those as well.

This is about the problems where you don’t know right away if it’s worth fixing or if you’re better off getting a new machine. The kind of problem where you may be down for days or weeks waiting for a repair.

The kind of problem I’m dealing with as I write this.

quiet home office

How I Work On My Blog Without My Computer

I’m using my backup computer right now. My laptop’s fan has gone bad, leaving the whole computer at risk of overheating and burning out the system. My repair guy said two weeks to get the new fan. So I’m on the spare computer.

I have to admit – I HATE my spare computer. It’s slow, the keyboard is just different enough to be annoying, and the setup overall is just different enough to make working a little more difficult. It’s also shared with the rest of the family, so I have to give it up sometimes. Worst of all, it’s in a common area of the house rather than my nice, quiet home office. All in all, it’s hard to work on.

But it also makes working possible.

I have most of the tools I use installed on this computer as well as my laptop. Some had to be updated when I made the move over, as it has been long enough since their installation to matter.

I use the Chrome browser because it syncs my account with whichever computer I’m using. That’s a huge help.

I also work on Google Drive as much as possible. This way I can use any computer to type up blog drafts and not worry about losing them. Yes, I could just type up drafts in WordPress, but this way I never have to worry about accidentally hitting “Publish” rather than “Save Draft” when a post isn’t done.

Not that I’ve ever done such a thing.


No way.

Well… you know how these things go. We all make mistakes.

I’ve also moved my office chair over because it’s about 1000x more comfortable than the one at the spare computer. I think I know something I need to get for the family for Christmas.

computer problems

Plan Ahead For Problems

If you want to be ready to deal with technical problems as a blogger, the most important thing you can do is plan ahead. This way you know what you’re going to do when things go wrong.

You don’t have to have a spare computer to keep working, for example, if you have apps set up on your phone or tablet that will allow you to keep working. They may not be as easy to use, but they’re better than nothing. WordPress, for example, has an app available that you can use with your blog. It’s a little different from the usual version, but better than not being able to blog at all.

Keeping as many of your files as possible in the cloud makes it much easier to keep things going when your computer has problems. You don’t have to worry about your files if they’re always backed up somewhere.

If you have multiple computers in your household, make sure that more than one has a setup you can use. Use Chrome or another browser that syncs your account no matter where you sign in. Know which online services can temporarily replace any software that you can’t move to another machine. Many image editing tools are online, so you can still make great blog images easily, regardless of which machine you’re on.

And keep it in the cloud when possible. Keeping most of my files online rather than on my computer has proven to be a huge help many times.

Yes, there are security risks.

But your regular device has security risks too. If your computer gets a virus, your data is at risk. Don’t fool yourself about the risks that you hope to avoid.

Automate When Possible

One of the great things about blogging is that there are a number of things you can automate. Not only does this make your daily routine easier, but it also helps when things go wrong.

I use Hootsuite and Tailwind quite extensively, for example. This way, when I can’t get online, I still have posts going out on my social media. I can handle the social side of things later when my equipment is behaving.

The key is to remember that you can’t automate everything. You can schedule tweets, pins, and so forth, but you can’t be social automatically. Eventually, you’ll have to go in and take a look.

You can also have blog posts scheduled out in advance. How far out depends on how far ahead you can manage to work.

If you can manage to keep a week ahead on your blog posts, for example, that’s a week to deal with problems when they crop up. It’s not a bad idea.

No, I’m not usually a week ahead unless I’m going on vacation. It takes a lot of work to get ahead. But when you can manage it, it’s a huge help.

WordPress makes it super easy to schedule blog posts to go out later. In fact, scheduling is one of the first things I do when working on a post. Usually, it’s for the next morning, but sometimes it’s days away.

help laptop

Sometimes All You Can Do Is Take Time Off

No matter how carefully you plan ahead for problems, sometimes there’s only one thing you can do – take some time off.

If you’re down for a day or two, it’s usually not that big a deal unless you have something planned for those days and you absolutely must get online.

Take advantage. Take some time for yourself or go do something with your family.


Do everything you can to avoid taking excessive time off. Sure, your blog will keep getting traffic if you do nothing for a time, but do you really want to leave it alone all that long?

I doubt it.

When my laptop needed its screen replaced, it was gone for most of a month. I was furious about it taking so long, but it was a warranty repair, and I didn’t have a choice of which shop. My next computer won’t come from that same place most likely. If by some chance I do go there, they’ve already lost all chances of selling an extended warranty, even though I used said warranty for that screen replacement. Service simply took too long. I couldn’t take that much time off my blog in good conscience.

If you’re having a repair done under warranty, you may be offered a loaner computer, which can help. Just make sure you’ve wiped all your personal data and signed out of everything before you return it.

But even if you don’t have a way to work the way you normally do, you have options. You may even be able to work on a computer at the library for a few hours if that’s the only way to get things done.

You can also brainstorm, even if you don’t have a computer available.

When my kids were in soccer, that’s what I would do during their practices. I didn’t have a smartphone at the time, so I would sit there with a notebook and brainstorm ideas.

No internet, no computer, but I could still get things set up for later.

These days, if I don’t want to get online when I’m out brainstorming, I can still pull my phone out and type up notes for later. It works more or less the same as writing it out.


Decide Whether To Repair Or Replace

Just because your computer has a problem doesn’t automatically mean you need to replace it. Often enough, a repair will be enough.

The repair my laptop needs is one I’d be able to handle easily on my own with a desktop computer. Switching out a fan on a desktop computer is easy. I’ve done it before. Loosen a few screws, unplug the fan, put in the new one and attach it, and you’re done.

I looked at what my laptop would need and noped away from that. Laptop parts are much smaller and fussier than I like to deal with. It’s getting a professional repair.

The basic consideration when it comes to repair or replace is cost. How close to the replacement cost of the computer will the repair come?

Too close, and you may as well replace the thing. You’ll probably get an upgrade at the same time.

Replacing has its own problems, of course. You have to move all your data and reinstall all your old software. Sometimes this is difficult because you already used your registration code on the old machine, and the software won’t let you use it over again.

This is why I like knowing how to do basic computer repairs on my own. I can keep my repair costs down while extending the life of my equipment.

Many desktop computer repairs are surprisingly easy, especially if you find a good tutorial for it online. They’re much easier on desktop computers than on laptops, of course. I’m not bold enough to do much work on a laptop computer yet.

Don’t even get me started on smartphone and tablet repair. I’m not remotely ready for that.

But a good repair shop can handle things quickly, professionally and at a good price. If you find the right one, you won’t have to worry about attempting a repair you aren’t comfortable with or replacing equipment for minor failures.

What If You Have A Work At Home Job?

Of course, if you have a work at home job with a required schedule and your computer goes down, it’s time to talk with your employer. Depending on the kind of schedule you have, you may need to notify them of even a brief problem with your internet connectivity.

If you’re going to be out of service for more than a shift or so, do your best to find a way to get back to work.

If your employer provided the equipment and their stuff failed, they will probably be pretty helpful in getting you back to work. But if it’s your own equipment, they will likely expect that you can handle the problem with a minimum of fuss.

Talk to your employer, especially once you know how serious the problem is. Most will be understanding, provided you don’t simply disappear on them for the duration.

Be sure you have access to a contact number or email that doesn’t rely upon your work computer. Phone numbers are best because they don’t rely on you having an internet connection. It’s kind of hard to send an email or start a chat about your internet being out when your internet is, in fact, out. Depending on your location, after all, you may not even have access to your phone’s data plan.

Don’t Overstress About Lost Work Time

I know it’s terribly stressful when you had a schedule all set and a plan in place, and now it’s all in ruins. I’ve been there.

But some problems are out of your control. What matters most is how you handle problems as they come up. If you have a plan in place, it will be much less of a crisis.

Letting stress take over doesn’t help anything. It’s more likely to slow you down.

Instead, focus on what you can do, even if it’s not work related. Lost time can be made up later if necessary.

You’ll be fine.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated September 18th, 2018

The Beginner’s Guide To Choosing A Blog Name

The Beginner’s Guide To Choosing A Blog Name

One of the most challenging things to do when starting a blog is choosing the right name. There are so many possibilities out there, but a lot of them have been taken already. How do you go about choosing a blog name?

Starting out with the right name for your blog really matters. Lots of bloggers end up rebranding after a time because they realize the name they first chose wasn’t a good choice. Maybe it doesn’t fit with what they’re doing or it’s too easy to confuse with another site. Whatever the reason, rebranding is a pain, and you’re better off getting your blog name right the first time.

This can be a frustrating process. You go through all the steps to pick a perfect blog name and…

Someone beat you to it. Domain not available.

It happens a lot.

Don’t be surprised if you go through a few names before picking one. I was lucky enough to have a lot of possibilities when I named my site, and while it’s probably not perfect, it has worked well enough for me.

Choosing a blog name that reflects what your blog is about and who you are takes several steps. This process may also help you narrow down your niche so that your blog is more focused.

Write down any blog names you come up with as you go through this process. Inspiration may strike several times for names, but they won’t all be good ideas. Still, you don’t want to lose that one great idea because you didn’t write it down.

I’m going to give you a lot of information here. Don’t let it overwhelm you or keep you from picking a blog name. You don’t have to follow every step. Just take this advice as far as it helps you pick a name and forget the rest. Don’t let this process slow you down as you start your blog.

Do You Want To Use Your Name?

Some people use their first or last name as a part of their blog name. It gives you the potential to make the blog more personal. Using your name can be great for branding.

But it can also be too personal. You may not want your real name out there so easily. This is why many bloggers choose a pen name for themselves and use fake names or initials for their kids. It gives a little privacy while still allowing you to be personal.

blog name ideas

Make Up A Word

Many websites have done well with made up words. Think about Google, Twitter, and Pinterest. Choosing a blog name that is a made up word has some advantages.

The disadvantage to made up words is that no one has any idea what to expect from you. The name gives no expectations. You have to build those completely from scratch.

On the plus side, you have a better chance of finding your domain available if you make up a word. There’s no competition for it unless someone else had the same idea already. If you’re creative enough about it, that won’t be a problem.

It can also be great for branding. What that word comes to mean will depend entirely on what you make of it. That can be powerful.

Consider Your Blog Topics

What is your blog about? Have you given your blog topics enough thought?

It’s easy to say that you’re going to create a general blog, one that covers a wide range of topics. You have so many interests you’d like to write about, and surely there are enough people with similar interests that you can make it work, can’t you?

Can’t you?

I would urge you to think carefully before choosing this option. Yes, I write on a pretty broad range of topics. They all relate to stay at home parenting, but it’s a broader topic than I would recommend in most cases. You may be smarter to tighten up your niche.

There have been times when I have considered breaking this site into smaller topics. I even broke off the home business section into a new site for a time. But eventually I put it all back. Keeping up with multiple sites was too much trouble, and there was still overlap between what I wanted to do with each site.

Write down all the topics you want to blog on within your niche. If you have a few niches to consider, use a page or column for each one so that you keep the ideas separate.

One or more of these words may be something you want to use in your blog name. Others you absolutely won’t want to use. Cross the unusable ones out and think harder on the ones that have possibilities.

set up blog

Who Is Your Target Audience?

Start thinking about who you hope to attract with your blog. Men, women, what age range, interests, education and so forth.

Next, consider why you want them to come to your blog. Will your blog be informative or entertaining? Are you trying to make people laugh or make them think?

Your blog title must work to attract your target audience. For example, if you’re creating a blog about parenting tips for dads, and you’re trying to keep it informative, which of these titles do you think will work? Which will keep your target audience away?

  • Family Antics
  • When Mom’s Away…
  • [Familyname] Family Adventures
  • Daddy’s Time To Play
  • The Kingdom Of Dad
  • Geeking Out With Dad
  • The Kids Did What?
  • Active Dad
  • Attached Father
  • Father Knows Stuff
  • Effective Parenting For Dads
  • Daddy Days
  • Tired Dad, Wild Kids
  • Playgrounds, Tools, And Trees
  • Some Random Dad
  • Tool Sets and Toy Boxes

What you may note about these is that some have the obvious “Dad” or “Father” keywords and others don’t. You don’t have to use keywords, although they can help. But sometimes it makes more sense on the marketing side of things to have an interesting name rather than one that is focused on the right keywords.

Your blog name is about attracting your target audience. Pick the blog name you think will best attract readers, not just search engines.

Read Similar Blogs

No matter your niche, there are probably a ton of other blogs on the same topic out there already.

I mean a ton.

Read some of them, especially the ones that are doing well.

What does this have to do with naming your blog, you ask?

It’s called inspiration.

Reading what others have written in your same niche gives you more than just ideas for blog posts. Sometimes you can pull a blog name from it.

It may not be obvious. You don’t want to copy their name, after all. But they may post something that triggers an idea for you. If you get an idea, write it down.

Your long term goal in reading related blogs is to figure out how you can do better than they do. They’re the competition, after all. But in the early days when you’re learning, they’re great for inspiration, not only for naming your blog, but also for topics you will want to cover as you go.

Try A Blog Name Generator

There are sites out there that will generate blog name ideas for you. This can be incredibly helpful if you’re struggling with choosing a blog name.

I would treat these blog name ideas the same as any you come up with on your own. Write them down and think about it a little. You don’t have to commit to the name in that instant. You might even combine a generated idea with ideas of your own.

Here are a few blog name generators to consider:

These generators will give you lots of ideas for blog names. Most won’t be what you’re after, but you might strike gold with the perfect name.

You usually don’t want to buy your domain name from one of the generators. What’s available there is the same as is available anywhere. Besides, you need to give things a little more thought before you register your blog name.

blog name thoughts

Start Playing With Your List of Blog Name Ideas

Now is the time to have some fun with the ideas you’ve come up with so far. Consider blending two ideas into a new idea. Spin one blog name idea into something entirely new.

Write down all the ideas you get, good and bad. Even names you know you won’t use will sometimes trigger a better idea.

Don’t follow just one blog name idea to the bitter end. Follow several ideas and see where they take you. Fall down the rabbit hole for a little while. Inspiration needs time to strike.

Don’t hyphenate your blog name if you can help it. People hate typing hyphens.

Using hyphens also means someone can have the unhyphenated version of your blog name. You don’t want that. The unhyphenated version of a domain is always more memorable.

Eliminate Blog Name Ideas That Won’t Work

This is something you can do as you go but can wait until you have a bunch of ideas.

There are a lot of good reasons to eliminate possible blog names. Start out with the ones you immediately don’t like.

Some names can be eliminated because they won’t age well with your blog. If you’re starting a parenting blog, for example, referring to babies in the title may not be a good idea unless you plan to always focus on babies, regardless of the ages of your own children.

A domain name can also be too limiting. It can imply that your niche is more limited than you want it to be. If your cooking blog name focuses on desserts, but you post recipes for all kinds of meals, you’ll confuse your readers. They may forgive you, but it’s not great for marketing.

Others won’t work because someone else is already using something the same or too similar already. Check trademarks and available domain names. If the name you want is already in use, cross it off your list. If there are any potential legal issues with a name, cross it off your list.

While dot coms are generally considered better domain names, people are getting more used to other extensions. Just be careful when using a name that someone already has the dot com version of. If it’s in active use, it will be confusing for readers, who are more likely to type in the dot com version of a domain name.

You may also want to confirm whether your blog name is available as a username for your preferred social media sites, such as Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter. Your marketing will be more effective if you can be consistent across as many platforms as possible.


Don’t forget to consider how a blog name reads. There’s the infamous example of… which is the domain name for Pen Island. You don’t want your blog to have that problem.


Run The Name By Your Friends

Talk to friends and family about the names you’re most serious about. Get their opinions.

Someone who isn’t emotionally attached to the project can sometimes see problems more clearly. A name you’ve fallen in love with might have a problem that someone else can see. Better to find that out before you register the name.

You want to know how they would pronounce your domain name. Do they get any other words or meanings out of it, especially anything objectionable? You also want to know if they think people will be able to remember the name.

This should help you avoid the problem of readers misinterpreting the kind of blog you’re running when they see the name. No guarantees, of course – it can be surprising what different people get from your blog name.

Register Your Domain Name

When you’ve settled on your blog name, it’s time to get the domain registered. Most people register their domains wherever they’re hosting. It’s easier, but not a requirement.

Namecheap is a popular choice for domain names. They’re very affordable. They also offer hosting, but you don’t have to get your hosting there. It is a good idea, however, to get your hosting taken care of as soon as you get your domain name. You should be about to get things moving with your new blog, after all.

I host with A2 Hosting, not with the company I register my domains at. I like A2 better for hosting.

Shop around not just on price for your hosting, but on quality. The cheapest host is rarely the best. A slow site won’t do as well with the search engines and will annoy visitors. Read reviews and make sure you’re getting high quality hosting before you sign up with anyone.

While you’re at it, sign up for your first social media accounts for your blog. It’s usually more effective to have your blog’s social media separate from your personal social media.

Get Your Blog Running

Once you have your blog named, registered and hosted, get moving on it. Write your first posts.

You have things moving. Now is not the time for procrastination or fears.

The sooner you really get started, the sooner you can build good blogging habits. In addition to writing your first posts, you should be creating images for them, and sharing your posts on social media.

Don’t expect great things right off. It takes time.

Experimentation is a part of writing great blog posts and making your blog something others want to read. Test different writing styles, images and so forth to figure out what it is that people want from your blog.

Make time as you go to learn how to make a social media strategy. Figure out what works best for marketing your blog. There’s a big learning curve, and you’re just at the beginning.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated June 26th, 2018

The Essential Guide To Writing Great Blog Posts

The Essential Guide To Writing Great Blog Posts

Is blogging working out for you? Some people find it comes easy, but many really have to think about what they’re doing to get anywhere. Writing great blog posts is hard work. You need to master your techniques.

My own process for writing is something of a combination of techniques. Sometimes I’m super organized – I know the topic, the headings and subheadings all in advance. It makes writing so much easier.

Other times, inspiration flows, and I have to scramble to catch ideas as they come. I can be mid-sentence and come up with an idea I need to note right then, or the idea will be gone before the sentence is complete. It’s so frustrating trying to remember that perfect addition to a post when the idea vanishes.

And of course, everything in between.

While this may look like a lot of steps to get ready to write a blog post, it really doesn’t take that much. Most things are a matter of routine, and won’t take any significant time at all. Some parts may take a while on some subjects, but that’s when they’re important to the quality of your post.

ready to work

Make Yourself Comfortable

Where do you do your best writing work? Is that your best place today, for this article you’re going to write?

Most days, I write in my office, at my desk. It’s private enough that no one is looking over my shoulder, but I leave the door loose enough for the cats to come in, so they don’t pester me clawing at the door.

But there are days that my office is just not the right place to work. That’s okay, being able to work in many places is one of the perks of working at home, after all.

The right place to work is often a balance between comfort and distractions, along with your needs for the day. If you have young children, there may be days when you have to work in the same area that they’re playing, because they need supervision. Other days, you may need to work behind a closed door because you need them to let you work, and someone else can take care of them.

Make your home office a great place to work. The more you love your home office, the more you will use it.

Have a healthy snack and drink at hand too. I keep an insulated water bottle at my desk at all times, so that I don’t have to get up for a drink. The insulation ensures that it doesn’t leave water from condensation all over my desk.

brilliant ideas

Generate Brilliant Ideas

There’s no way to start writing great blog posts if you don’t have great ideas. There are a lot of ways you can generate blog post ideas, given some time.

Once you have the basics of an article idea down, it can be very helpful to sit and brainstorm for a little. There are few things as frustrating as staring at your computer, with the start of an idea, but no idea where to take it. Brainstorming can help you work past that.

Start out with your basic topic, and then figure out what you want to say about it. What are the major points you need to make?

Brainstorm in whichever way works best for you. Some people prefer pen and paper. Some like to use mind mapping apps. Do your brainstorming in whichever way works for you.

If you need to choose an app, consider your needs, and try a few out first. Many let you make three or so mind maps free. That’s enough to get a feel for if it’s the right solution for you without paying for the full version. Free mind mapping software tends to not have as many functions as the paid versions. There are free, web based tools such as WiseMapping you can consider as well.

You don’t have to use every idea you come up with in your brainstorming for your current post. Some will be much better suited to future articles. If you plan well, you can make these so that one post can be linked naturally to the other, encouraging readers to spend more time on your site.

Note which areas will require more research as you brainstorm. There will be things you know off the top of your head, and things you don’t.

You can also create a basic outline for your blog post if you like, using the points you brainstormed. I only occasionally make outlines, but there are times that they’re a huge help.

Brainstorming can be a great activity to do when you have distractions and can’t sit down to write for an extended time. You don’t have to brainstorm for something you’ll write immediately. It can be for the future. Some people brainstorm a full week’s worth of posts or even a month or more ahead.

write great titles

Come Up With A Great Initial Blog Post Title

Once I know what I’m writing about, it’s time to give the post an initial title.

This doesn’t have to be much. Sometimes, it’s just the keywords for the post. Other times, I think I know what I want the title to be right from the start.

If you want to give your blog post a really interesting title that pulls readers in, you can use a blog post title generator. Sometimes these will even give you an angle for your post that you hadn’t previously considered. Here are some of the blog post title generators I use:

Coming up with a tentative title can be done before or after brainstorming ideas. It depends on where you are, idea-wise. Sometimes your blog post title will send you right back to brainstorming.

You want a title to start off. This is what gives you direction in your writing. You can change it later if you realized it’s not the best title after everything has been written.

Beware These Title Mistakes

If you do much reading online at all, you know there are a lot of awful article titles out there. People do strange things when crafting their blog post titles, all because they want to get attention. Here are some of the biggest blog title mistakes you can make.

Inaccurate Blog Post Titles

Readers hate inaccurate blog post titles. They want to know what to expect right from the start.

Clickbait titles do a lot of this. They make it sound like the story or article they link to is a big deal.

Something life-changing. Something you never thought of.

And then it’s something routine.

You know how annoying that kind of title is. Don’t do it for your own blog posts.

But it doesn’t take clickbait to create an inaccurate blog post title. All you have to do is write a title that sounds like your article covers information it doesn’t. Consider these examples.

How To Have A Great Work At Home Day

If you use this as a blog post title, you need to consider the entire work day, not just the start of the day. You’d probably want to include break times, distractions, and prepping for the next day in your post.

Consider also:

10 Great Affiliate Marketing Tactics

You share nine great affiliate marketing tactics, but you ask readers to supply the tenth tactic in comments.

If you say how many tips you’re providing in a post, you need to provide at least that many tips. It’s okay to provide extras and call them bonus tips, but don’t shortchange your readers.

Unclear Titles

Titles that don’t make it clear what the article is about are annoying. They don’t bring in traffic because they leave readers thinking “huh?” when they read them.

A good title makes it clear what the reader will get from spending their precious time reading your blog post.

Bad post title examples:

One Year Of Working At Home

This title could be so much more interesting. There needs to be more information about why that year mattered. A whole year is a difficult time to cover in a single blog post anyhow.

Are You Ready?

Ready for what? You might be trying to build anticipation with a title like this, but it won’t work in isolation, and you have to assume readers will come upon your blog posts on their own.

Beautiful Sunsets

Sunsets are beautiful, but what’s so special about this post discussing them? The title could be improved by saying where they’re from or noting something else of significance.

Your blog post titles need to give enough information to attract readers. Unclear titles don’t do that. Add in a little more information to make your titles stronger.

Too Many Words

It’s easy to get wordy in your blog post titles. It’s how most people talk.

A great blog post title isn’t wordy. It may be long, but the length is necessary in that case.

Use power words as much as possible in your blog post titles. This list from Sumo may help.

A power word evokes emotion or triggers curiosity. Clickbait titles use a lot of power words, but you can use them effectively. Consider this title rewrite:

How To Get Your Teen To Listen To You When They’re Stubborn And Moody

Sure, that’s a problem lots of parents have, but it’s also a lot of words for a title. Your title needs powerful words to make it more effective. Something along these lines may be more effective:

Effective Ways To Talk To Your Headstrong Teen

Lists of power words probably won’t be enough to fix every title you write. If you’re concerned that the word you want to use isn’t strong enough, look up synonyms for it. You will often find a stronger word that has the meaning you need.

Keyword Stuffing

Keywords are necessary to a successful blog post, and putting them in your blog post title can help. What you don’t want to do is stuff them in.

Your blog post titles should read naturally. Titles such as The Best Work At Home Tips For Work At Home Moms don’t read that way. Changing it to The Best Tips For Work At Home Moms makes a much better title. You still have to live up to that title in your post, but it’s better.

Avoiding all of these doesn’t guarantee that you have written a great blog post title. It doesn’t guarantee that your post will get a lot of attention. But it should help.

I’ll readily admit my titles aren’t always great. They’re one of the things I’m trying to improve. It takes practice, but it’s worth the effort.


Research Your Great Blog Posts

The best blog posts often take a little research. Citing other resources can make your blog post look more authoritative to both readers and the search engines. There are a few ways to do research for a blog post.

Solid research for your posts should give you things to add to your posts that you hadn’t considered before. There will be times that researching your post takes more time than writing it. When done properly, that’s a good thing.

Choose your resources wisely. They should make you and your post look good. Inaccurate information will make you look bad. Take the time you need to gather accurate information.

The Article That Inspired Your Post

If an article elsewhere inspired your post, try to use it as a reference. This can be as simple as a brief mention that you had been reading it, or as detailed as crediting it with whichever information you took from it.

How much credit you give depends on how much you took from the article. Be clear about what in your article came from elsewhere.

Google It

If you need solid information on a subject, you can also search on Google or other search engines to find what you need. Make sure you appropriately credit the resources you find, of course.


Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is great if you want to ask people a question and share their responses in an article. You can get anywhere from a lot of responses from questions posted there, to no responses at all. It depends on the kind of question for how many people consider it something worth answering.

Tell people upfront in your HARO request what they can expect from you in terms of a link back or other credit. Subscribe as a source to get a feel for how people phrase requests in your niche. I’ve seen requests that promise not only a link back, but a link to a social media account and request a headshot photo to use as well.

Consider Your Own Experience

Some of the information for your blog posts will relate to your own experience. It’s much easier to write clearly about things you understand well, even when you have to dig up more information on the topic.

In most cases, you should make it clear when discussing your own experience. Not everyone will have the same experience, after all. This is especially true when making financial or health claims. Your experience is an anecdote. It probably won’t hold true for everyone, even if they do exactly as you say you did.

start writing

Start Writing Your Great Blog Post

Once you feel you have everything you need pulled together, it’s time to start writing.

One tool I use sometimes is Google’s voice typing feature in their Docs software. If you know what you want to say in your article, it can be faster to say it than to type it. This can also give your article a more conversational tone.

It can also take a lot of editing. Voice recognition is pretty good, but it’s not perfect.

Otherwise, start writing.

You don’t have to start at the beginning of your post and work straight through to the end. There are times when it works better to start with a subtopic and write the introduction later. Do what makes sense to you for that blog post.

The most important thing to do is give yourself enough time to write. Writing great blog posts takes time. The more information you want to get across, the longer it will take.

Not every blog post you make as to be this huge deal. You can write simpler blog posts that are useful to your readers as well.

Write A Great Introduction

You don’t have to start with your introduction, but you probably will most times. It’s a logical place to start.

There are several ways to start a blog post out to draw readers in. You only have a short time in which to do that. If you bore readers from the start, they won’t reach the finish.

Introduction questions can make for an excellent beginning to a post when used correctly. They can get readers thinking about the topic you’re writing about. Consider these possible starter questions:

  • What if your kids kept their rooms clean?
  • How often have you tried making graphics for your blog posts, but ended up with a mess?
  • Have you ever wished your yard was easier to care for?

From there, you can take your readers from that question to the solution you’re providing.

You need to consider your readers’ needs right from the start. While starting with a question isn’t the only way to do that, it is an easy way to start.

Write With Empathy

If you’re writing about a subject you know well, you were probably in the same spot as your readers at some point before you gained the knowledge you’re now sharing.

Think back to when you were learning. What was hard to learn? What obstacles did you face?

If you write as though you’re far above the readers who are learning from you, they won’t enjoy reading what you write. Be down to earth. Share your challenges and mistakes.

When relevant, share a personal story. You don’t have to do this every time. It will make your writing more when you do.

I’ll admit I don’t always get personal. I suffer from a miserable level of social anxiety. Writing personal things can bring me close to panic on bad days. I’m working on it.

See what I did there? It’s only a brief mention of something personal (and it was hard to write and hard to leave in), but odds are you found it more interesting than the more informational parts of this post, which can get dry at times.

Give More Than Expected

Readers love it when you give them more than they expected to get from your blog posts, so long as that extra is high quality. This is how you stand out from the crowd of other bloggers in your niche.

Don’t give the exact same advice that you see on every other blog in your niche. Give contrary advice when it works. Sometimes it helps your readers to see that the most popular advice is not the right advice. Challenge your readers.

Write A Great Conclusion

Just as you want your blog posts to start strong, they need to finish strong. Don’t leave your readers disappointed in the end.

What makes a great conclusion depends on what you’re writing about. If you want readers to take action, make sure there’s a strong call to action at the end of your blog posts. If you want them to laugh, make the end of your post funny.

Where’s The Money?

A part of writing great blog posts should always be figuring out appropriate ways to monetize that post. In the long run, that’s often what people need most from their blogs. The readers and fans are nice if you get them, but money pays the bills.

Be picky about how you monetize your blog. Don’t add links to just any old product. The items you recommend must be high quality. Great product recommendations help you build trust with your readers.

Remember to use a link shortening tool such as Thirsty Affiliates to make it easier to manage your affiliate links. There are other ways to make it easier to manage your affiliate links in your blog, but a plugin is often the easiest solution.

If you can’t find an appropriate product to recommend, don’t recommend any. Lowering your standards just to monetize a post won’t do your reputation any favors. Quite the contrary, in fact.

Do not overdo the affiliate links in your posts. There’s a definite difference between recommending products and being a shill. It doesn’t matter if they’re all great products – stick to the most relevant ones to the post.

Links To Make You Think

A great blog post often has a lot of links.

You should always link to your resources, of course. They deserve credit, and it makes you look more like an authority. Search engines also like it when you link to high quality resources.

Make sure you also link to other posts on your blog. The helps keep people on your site, which is good both for added chances to make money and to make you look good to search engines.

Blog Post Writing Fails

We all make a lot of mistakes when writing. We stress over the wrong things. Consider these mistakes, which can take a blog post from great to merely adequate, or even terrible.

Stressing The Deadline Unnecessarily

If you work for someone else, you probably have hard and fast deadlines. if you work for you, they’re probably self-imposed.

If you aren’t meeting a deadline you set for yourself, rethink whether it’s necessary. Sure, you may like to post on a schedule. Your readers may be used to your schedule.

But if missing your self-imposed deadline means you write a better post, so be it. Readers can be very forgiving if the wait is worth it.

In the long run, it’s a much bigger mistake to publish a post that isn’t polished and ready to go.

For example, I had originally planned to finish writing this blog post on Saturday, so I could create images for it and polish the writing on Sunday, then post on Monday. The posting date was pushed out to Tuesday as I thought up more things to add to the post, and was still writing late Sunday night.

No Examples When An Example Would Help

Oh, the temptation to leave this section blank. It would be the perfect example of what this section is about.

But it would be too confusing if I did that. An example with no explanation is often worthless.

If you’re explaining how to do something, give an example whenever possible. Recipe posts do this with photos of the recipe in progress on many sites.

Your example can be an anecdote about how you did something related to your post or a tutorial on how to do the thing. It can be a hypothetical situation used to explain things. Think of things that will make your point clearer, and use them as examples.


It’s easy to be inconsistent in a blog post. If you want your blog post to look good, you need to fix that.

Don’t start out calling things “tips” and change to “reasons” or “steps” mid post, for example. If the post title says you’re giving tips, that’s what you call them.

Your overall style should be consistent as well. If you use a personal tone, keep being personal. If your tone is more professional, keep it professional.

formatting tips

The Importance Of Formatting

Formatting is a big part of a well written blog post. If it’s nothing but paragraph after paragraph, it gets hard to read fast, even if the information is solid and well written.

Headings Make A Difference

wordpress headingsUse headings to break up your blog posts into sections. WordPress makes this easy with the different types of headings, so you can have subheadings for each section as well.

Many blog themes use Heading 1 (H1) for the blog post title, so I suggest leaving that one alone unless you know it isn’t used for anything else. Heading priority uses the smallest number for the most important topics, which is why your title gets the H1 format.

This means the main sections of your post will use the Heading 2 (H2) format. If you need subheadings, you can go to H3 and so forth.

You should start a new heading or subheading every few paragraphs. If you use Yoast SEO, you will note that it marks your Readability score down whenever you go over 300 words in a section. That’s a fair approximation of where you should add a heading. There are reasons to make sections longer, but think it over when you do so.

Headings and subheadings should be treated somewhat like titles. They’re for smaller subjects, but they should be interesting when possible. They should be relevant as well as interesting. Plain is appropriate at times, but not all the time.

Lists Add Style

When appropriate, numbered or bulleted lists can add interest to your blog posts. Sometimes your entire post will be a list, such as 100 Simple Work At Home Tips. Other times only a small part of the post will be a list.

Blockquotes & Pull Quotes Get Attention

Using blockquotes to emphasize examples on your posts can make them much more visible. That’s the quotation mark button on your Visual Editor in WordPress. In most themes, it indents the enclosed part of your post and sets it off in some way, such as a change in color or with a border.

If you’re comfortable with CSS or can have someone make some up for you, you can change up the blockquote formatting to suit your preferences. The Customize section of the Appearance menu has a space where you can add additional CSS to your theme.

Pull quotes are a great way to emphasize important points that don’t belong in a blockquote. A pull quote is usually off to one side or the other and is in a larger font.

You can use CSS to create pull quotes, or you can use a plugin such as Perfect Pullquotes. I don’t consider a plugin necessary for this personally, but I can see where someone who isn’t comfortable with CSS might make that choice.

It only takes a few moments to create the CSS to make your pull quotes pop. HTML Dog has some great tips to set your pull quotes aside so they don’t cause problems for visitors who use screen readers. Not all of your visitors will necessarily use your typical visual browser, after all.

glass ball

Add Images And/Or Video For Emphasis

Relevant images and videos add a lot to most blog posts. They give your readers something other than a wall of text to look at. They can be a huge help in illustrating the information you’re trying to share.

When possible, use images or videos that are informational. Recipe bloggers do this when they include images or a video of how a recipe is made. That’s a huge help when explaining a complex process or trying to show exactly how something should look as you make it or when it’s done.

Screenshots and screen capture videos are extremely helpful when you’re writing about something that can be done on a computer. You can mention a feature of a piece of software you’re reviewing, for example, but if your readers can’t find that feature, it won’t do them any good. A screenshot or screen capture can help them understand how it’s done.

If the post doesn’t need images or video to explain things, you may still want to include images to make the post more visually appealing. Find images that relate to the post in some way. You can even take a quote from your post and overlay it on an image, as a fancy pull quote.

High quality images are also important for social media uses, especially visual sites such as Pinterest. I’ve written in the past about how you can control which images can be used on Pinterest. It’s important that you do so, or readers may pin images from your post that you don’t want on Pinterest for one reason or another.

It’s easy to find free images you can use on your blog posts. Be picky about the images you use when you don’t create your own. You want your images to look professional, no matter the source.

rewrite title

Rework Your Blog Post Title

I always give my blog posts a tentative title right at the start. Mostly it has to do with the keywords for that post, although I try to take it far enough to know what direction I mean to go with it.

But the title isn’t final until the post is completely written. That’s because writing will sometimes take your post in an entirely new direction from where you started.

Take a look at the title you started with. Does it fit with what you said?

If it doesn’t fit, you have to rewrite it. But there are more factors to consider. You don’t want all of your blog post titles to be boring. Just dropping your keywords down as a title isn’t enough. You want to grab potential readers’ attention.

While you don’t want your blog post to look like utter clickbait, you do want it to appeal to readers. You need to use words that make your subject more interesting.

There’s a reason why titles such as “The Ultimate Guide To (fill in the blank)” are so popular. But if you’re describing your post that way, it had better meet the expectations created by that title. Given how often such descriptors are used, I think there are better ways to bring attention to your blog post. Consider some of these lists of blog title tips:

The great thing about social media is that you can use several different titles or descriptions to link to your blog post. It doesn’t always have to be the same phrase over and over on all your social media accounts. Change it up. Test things. Consider what works on each social media site, rather than doing the same thing on all of them.

Yes, you should look at your blog post title both when you start writing and when you finish. It’s what readers see first. A great title can have a huge impact on the success of your blog posts.

fresh eyes

Look Again With Fresh Eyes

If at all possible, take a look at your blog post with fresh eyes before publishing. This makes it easier to catch mistakes and gives you time to think of things you need to add to your post. There are a few ways you can do this.

Wait A Day

Wait a day or so before editing your blog post. It won’t be so fresh in your mind, so you’re more likely to catch any mistakes you’ve made. This can make the difference between writing great blog posts and writing pretty good blog posts.

Editing right after writing is often a mistake. You know what you meant to say. That makes it very easy to see what you think is there, rather than what is there.

While your word processor or web browser probably has a spell check function that automatically marks when you’ve misspelled a word, it probably doesn’t have a grammar checker. Grammatical errors are very common.

I like to use Hemingway App to check my posts. It’s easy to copy and paste into the editor to see what it thinks. I don’t make all of the changes it suggests, but I consider them all. It’s free to use. There’s a desktop version as well.

Read It Out Loud

Reading your post out loud can help you catch mistakes you didn’t notice while reading silently. There will be times that you’ll say “wait, that doesn’t sound right” when you read something when it sounded just fine when you wrote it.

Have Someone Else Read It

This is the one I’ve always found most difficult. Have someone read your blog post before you publish it, and give you feedback.

This can be incredibly uncomfortable. It can also be effective.

The other person has to be someone whose judgment you trust in matters of writing. You should use your own judgment in any changes you make, regardless of someone else’s recommendations, of course.

Trim Your Post

After you’ve looked things over, you may find things to cut out of your post. This is a good thing.

When you use more words than your blog post needs, it’s harder to read. Long sentences are also hard to read. Read through your post looking for things to cut. This goes for individual sentences as well as the overall post.

Short is not the goal. Effective use of words is.


Do I Have To Write In This Order?

No. Not a chance

Starting out with brainstorming, doing research and such before writing is not absolutely necessary. There will be blog posts where you sit down and write the whole thing out with no trouble at all.

These tips are helpful for those times when the ideas aren’t flowing and you need a little extra help to get things moving. They’re a way to work around writer’s block, or to work when you have distractions keeping you from fully focusing on your writing.

Many of my posts I start out just writing, then get an idea that requires some research, and then go back to writing some more. Other days, I need that brainstorming time. Odds are, I’ll get more than one blog post idea out of that step.

Writing a great blog post won’t always be easy. It’s hard to create something that will draw readers in.

You have to keep trying. You won’t improve if you don’t.

The more you work on your blog, the more naturally it will come. The steps that seem so difficult now will become easy with practice. You’ll learn how to make it work.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated June 4th, 2018

How To Simplify Linking to Affiliate Products In WordPress

How To Simplify Linking to Affiliate Products In WordPress

If you’ve been blogging for long, you’re probably trying to earn money at it. It’s a natural step to take. Blogging takes time, and if you’re serious about it, you’re spending some money on it too. Why not make it a money making venture? Affiliate products are a great place to start, so long as you can simplify linking to affiliate products. This is pretty simple in WordPress.

Note that you may not be allowed to use affiliate links on the free version of They have a lot of rules you have to follow.

Dealing with ALL the links is one of the challenges of affiliate marketing. You can’t recommend just a few products over and over again – your readers will lose interest. If you don’t simplify linking to affiliate products, you’ll have to log into your affiliate accounts every time you want to add a link or keep a huge spreadsheet of them. Either way, that’s tedious.

There are a few good ways to handle this. The most powerful ways to simplify linking to affiliate products cost money, but that’s worthwhile when it saves you time and effort and makes adding links much more natural.

Why Shorten Your Affiliate Links?

Shortening your affiliate links does more than make them easier to remember. It also makes it easier to change them if the affiliate program changes networks or ends.

I’ve had both happen several times in my time as a blogger. It’s not all that rare for a company that uses ShareASale to move to Commission Junction or vice versa. An independent affiliate program might move to a network, or a company that uses a network might decide to start an independent affiliate program.

If you put your affiliate links in exactly as they were given to you, you have a tedious job ahead of you when these changes happen. You have to find all these links and change them.

If you shortened your affiliate links, you only need to change the redirect. If you’ve linked to multiple products from a program that changes you’ll still need to change all of them, but changing your redirects is far easier than digging through all your posts to make changes.

Which Programs Shouldn’t You Simplify?

I do not recommend shortening all of your affiliate links. In particular, do not shorten or otherwise cloak your links to They’ll ban you.

Amazon links are already nice and short. They use their domain to shorten links for you.

Odds are that you will link to a lot of different products on Amazon over time. Shortening these yourself would not only be against Amazon’s rules – it would give you an absurd number of shortened links to keep track of. It’s far easier to just get the link from Amazon each time.

Free Options To Simplify Linking To Affiliate Products


I’ve used my .htacess file for many years now. It’s fairly simple, although it also requires that I remember what I called each link. Otherwise, I have to go to that file and look up the link.

.htaccess redirects are super simple to write. Open your .htacess file in Notepad or another text editor. The code is:

Redirect permanent /linkname URLofyouraffiliatelink

Change /linkname to whatever you’re calling your link, and URLofyouraffiliatelink to the URL the affiliate program gave you for what you’re linking to.

It may be a good idea to make a spreadsheet of the links you’ve shortened with.htaccess. That’s easier than opening it to see what you’ve got when reusing a link. I would suggest using the link name, affiliate link URL, company and the exact product name you’re linking to.  This should make it easier to find the products you’re looking for. If an affiliate program ends or changes, this will make it easier to figure out which links you need to change.

Many bloggers don’t like messing with their .htaccess files. There is a risk to this method if you don’t know what you’re doing. You can royally mess up your site if you get things badly wrong in .htaccess. I’ve never had a problem, but I can see where mistakes happen. This is why many bloggers prefer to use link shortening plugins.

Free Link Shortening Plugin

Finding good quality link shortening plugins was challenging. Many are no longer updated. This makes them a little risky to use, as there can be compatibility issues.

Easy Affiliate Links – Helps you manage your affiliate links. Gives you the option to cloak them or not. This plugin also gives some statistics, but you will have to buy an add-on if you want better statistics.

Fortunately, many of the paid plugins have free versions, for if you just aren’t ready to pay for all the features. If these free plugins don’t look good enough to you, go for the free version of a paid plugin, and update when you’re ready to spend the money.

Free Auto Linking Plugin

You should be very careful in using auto linking plugins. If you use them excessively to link automatically to other posts on your site, you can incur a penalty with Google. However, they can be extremely helpful in automatically adding affiliate links to your posts, especially if it also add the nofollow attribute.

Auto Affiliate Links – Adds affiliate links automatically. You can set select keywords and links manually if you so choose. This plugin gives the option to add a nofollow attribute and to limit how many affiliates are added to a post.


Paid Options To Simplify Linking To Affiliate Products


Like many WordPress plugins, ThirstyAffiliates has both a free and a paid version. The free version is good enough to get you started, but you get significantly better features in the ThirstyAffiliates Pro add-on.

The free version gives you features such as affiliate link shortening, link categorization, link picker tool, the ability to add “nofollow” to affiliate links, and more. It even tracks which posts and pages you have used affiliate links on. All of these are wonderful features.

The Pro version gets even better. You get advanced statistics reports, for example, which are a huge help if you want to know which products are performing best for you. It also gives you automatic keyword linking, so that even your older posts can have affiliate links added automatically.

If you want your affiliate links to redirect quickly, you want the Pro version of ThirstyAffiliates, so that the links are written into your .htaccess. This is much faster than other kinds of redirects, and as you know, speed is vital online. People aren’t patient with slow redirects.

These are just a few of the features of ThirstyAffiliate. If you want to see the full list, visit the ThirstyAffiliates site.

Pretty Links

Pretty Links Pro has a free version called Shortlinks by Pretty Links. The free version gives you many of the important things, such a few types of redirect, nofollow, and click counting.

The Pro version adds a lot of features, including tracking pixel redirects, conversion reports, auto linking of keywords, and split testing of redirects. There are quite a few more features I haven’t listed here.

It can also add affiliate link disclosures on pages, posts, custom post types and on individual links. I keep a general affiliate disclosure on all pages of my site for simplicity’s sake. Disclosure is important for many reasons, which is why I keep it on all pages. Not only do many affiliate programs require it, laws often do as well.

Remember To Nofollow Affiliate Links

Ultimate Nofollow makes it easy to add rel=”nofollow” to links when appropriate. Nofollow is an important attribute to add to affiliate links. Google expects this. This plugin makes it easy. Some of the link shortening plugins also allow you to add nofollow, so this may not be important for your site if you have this ability already.

If you don’t use a plugin to add nofollow to affiliate links, it’s easy to do manually. Go to the Text tab of your WordPress editor, find the affiliate links, and add rel=”nofollow” that way. That’s how I do it.

You do not need to unfollow other outside links on your site. Links that you’re including because they’re a good resource should not be nofollowed, in my opinion. Nofollow is for links that you were paid to place or links where you might earn money in the future, such as affiliate links. If you trust the resource and no money will ever be involved in the link, leave the nofollow off of it.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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Disclosure: Home with the Kids is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to I also review or mention products for which I may receive compensation from other sources. All opinions are my own.