5 Halloween Must Reads

Halloween is coming up soon, so here are some books that will either terrify you or feed your excitement; which depends on your disposition!

Are you wondering where Google hid their blog search?

Remember the days when you could search Google by blog posts?

Those were my favourite times.

Back then it was so easy to find blog posts relating to keyword search, which made blogger outreach a breeze; all you had to do was type in your search term and instead of viewing the generic organic results, there was a button called blogs to filter out all the noise and just leave the results which were blog posts.

Get a list of blogs about the topic you’re writing about and, Alakazam, you’ve got your outreach list!

Then Google took it away. No more blog search. No more convenient source for outreach. Back to spammy email lists and social media.

But what…

Actually, it hasn’t been removed completely, they’ve just buried it.

Here’s where to find it:

  • type in your keyword search
  • click ‘News’
  • click ‘Tools’
  • Notice a dropdown appears on the News tab, click that and you’ll see the choice of ‘News’, or ‘Blog Archives’
  • That’s it, click ‘Blog Archives’ and you’ve got your blog search back

google search blog archives for seo outreach

You can add further filters, to search Global or UK only for example.

I hope you enjoy having your Google Blog search back.







Blogging Makes You Relevant and 3 More Reasons to Blog

Blogging has come a long way since it was first introduced in the 1990s. Once mere online diaries and moderated newsgroups, blogs have evolved into powerful branding and audience-building tools for everyone from stay-at-home mums to global corporations. Here are the top four reasons why blogging really matters:

What’s the 1st thing your reader sees?

The thing to remember when you’re blogging is that it’s the title people read first. Therefore, the catchier the title the better (make sure you can back it up though, don’t write a blog post about re-potting a plant and call it The World’s Sexiest Gardens!)Your title should concisely sum up what your post is about in the most attention grabbing way.

The Art of Blog Post Writing

If you’re new to blogging, the landscape may look a little daunting. You may feel a little intimidated by bloggers prolifically blogging and doing a really good job of it to boot. Don’t worry, with a bit of practice and acclimatization to the format, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with the best of them in no time.

3 Elements of Blogging

Whether you’re just starting out or have been blogging for a while, there are 3 principles that will serve you well to keep in mind if you want to see your blog do well…

Earn Money Blogging


The holding page for the new website is now live and we’re inviting writers of all experience to register their interest in working with us…

How to find keywords and build a content strategy for your blog

In this post I’ll talk a little bit about the benefits you can expect from blogging regularly and also show you just one way to find new keywords to target in your blog posts. The post is aimed at relative new-comers to blogging who are looking for a bit of guidance and reassurance that blogging is a worthwhile exercise and will contribute greatly to your overall content marketing efforts over time.

Blogging is about informing your audience

Finding a subject for your next blog post is always tricky. Especially if you’re new to blogging or think your business doesn’t have much to talk about. Finding a constant stream of subjects your readers will find interesting isn’t easy. You want them to see your blog as somewhere to visit because it gives them great advice and useful information, and is a great read. Your blog posts need to hook them in so they see you as an expert in your industry and know who to go to when they need your services.

Say something attention grabbing for your next blog post title

Like finding the subject for a blog post, getting the right title for it can pose problems. The title’s the first thing readers see, so it needs to appeal to them and catch their eye. So let’s look at the different ways of coming up with titles for your next blog post. All are equally effective.

3 Reasons to Blog

You have researched your target audience, and you’ve written useful, valuable and relevant content, which caters to them, but now what? The old adage, “build it and they will come”, certainly does not apply to content marketing. On the Internet, there’s tons of content available to your target audience, why would they stop at yours? It’s much more a case of bringing the mountain to Mohammed.

How to write content for your target audience

There are many reasons why identifying target audience is important and there are pitfalls and risks if you don’t. If you don’t know who you’re target audience is you are lost in the wilderness when it comes to choosing the topics and tone for your blog posts. You could end up spending a lot of time crafting what you believe to be the perfect piece of content, only for it to fall on deaf ears because you’re pitching it at the wrong audience. Working out who your target audience is before you start writing will save you time and has the following benefits:

Consumers Ignore Advertising, but are Attracted to Content

We are exposed to so many different advertising messages we’ve become desensitised and it doesn’t work anymore. It’s not just happening offline, via television, newspapers and magazines, but online too. On the Internet, there are advertising links and banners everywhere. As we see so much advertising, we have learned to simply ignore it. It’s becoming ever more difficult for businesses to break through the guards we put up and actually reach, and be heard by, their customers.  As a result, companies have realized that traditional advertising isn’t enough and are slowly coming round to the idea of content marketing.

4 awesome tools to track content marketing success

In order to gauge accurately how successful a piece of content is/was, you need to know who engaged with it. I like to know who shared it,  who’s talking about it, and who linked to it.

Blog post checklist

Blog posts come in all different shapes and sizes and there’s no strict rules as to how they should be written, but every now and again you will hit publish and send a post out into the world, and then remember something you forgot to add. To avoid this ever happening to you again, we’ve put together this handy checklist that you can use for each post you write.

Writing Big Ideas – Don’t sweat the small stuff

Like any pursuit, writing, or at least writing well is a skill that needs constant honing and practice to perfect. Even an experienced writer with many years experience will tell you that they are not the finished article and are still learning their trade with every assignment. There are however some basic rules that you can follow to help give clarity to your writing.

Now is the best time to become a prolific blogger – here’s how to do it

Everyone can write but most people don’t realise that the best time is now. A lot of people say they would love to write more or even have a blog, if only they could think of things to write about!

Blogging and your long term Content Marketing strategy

To be successful as a blogger and make it work from an SEO perspective, you need to post something regularly. And by regularly we mean at least once a week. This may seem excessive and difficult to maintain as you might not think you can find things to talk about as often as this. But if you can do it, it will pay dividends.

The Importance of Having a Business Blog

Business Blog

Photo courtesy of fantero

When you think of blogging and bloggers, what comes to mind? Some people imagine bloggers as people who like tinkering about with something on the internet, a personal website run by a person who uses text-speak spellings lamenting the world’s issues and re-blogging quirky pictures and cat memes. Whilst there’s a space for personal blogging, that’s not the only style out there. Indeed, many companies run blogs on their websites. Today we’re going to look at why; what does it offer the company, and what does it offer customers.

The Message

Business Blogging

Photo courtesy of A Metal State of Mind

One of the great things about a blog is that you can really get your marketing message out there. Your marketing message is, essentially, what you do and why your customers, or potential customers, should choose to do business with you. It’s a little bit more in-depth than a simple three-word strap-line underneath your company logo – and that’s why a blog is perfect for getting this message across. Unlike your website, which needs quick, snappy facts, like, say, same-day despatch, cheapest rates in the area, or a no-quibble returns policy, a blog can elaborate on these points in far greater detail.

The Audience

corporate blogging

Photo courtesy of Mentoring Moments

One of the nicest things about maintaining a company blog is that it allows you to speak directly to your customers. Whilst your website needs to be corporate, of course, and professional. A blog lets you pull back the curtain somewhat. Here’s what we do, you can say, and why we love what we do. And why we do it all for you. Your tone can be a little more informal. OK, not too informal (you’re unlikely to start calling customers ‘mate’ or ‘dude’), but you can chat to them on a far more personal level. Customers appreciate that because it prevents a company from being a faceless corporation.

The Focus


writing for your business blog

Photo courtesy of img kid

Another winning aspect of keeping a blog means you can focus on a particular part of your business. If you’re running a sale, or have a new product in stock which would really interest customers, your blog is a great way of communicating that. Some companies are proud sponsors of charities, or local events, and this is certainly something that can be emphasised in a blog in a way that a simple ‘Sponsors of…’ icon on your homepage can’t do. Whether it’s studying the finer points of your company, or expressing your big ideas, they can be looked at in greater detail in a blog. Again, it’s about making your company personable.

The Perception

blogging for business

Photo courtesy of Dr Stankovich

What do you think when you visit a company’s website, click on the news or blog tab and see the last post was uploaded in July 2012? You’d assume that the company either isn’t active, or really doesn’t care about what they do, right? In fact, you might even wonder if they’re still trading any more. Compare that to a site which constantly posts, talks about what the company is up to, and linking to news articles about their trade. These are companies who have a passion for their business, who want to communicate and discuss with their customers. The best companies won’t just post a blog, either; they’ll encourage comments from readers, and engage with them. It shows they care, and humanises the brand. If a customer believes your company gives a damn, they’re more likely to approach you.

The Competition

how to write a business blog

Photo courtesy of flickr

It’s a crowded field out there. Companies in competition are essentially engaged in a slanging match: ‘Pick me!’ screams one. ‘I’m the one you want,’ yells another. In the end, that all becomes white-noise to the everyday customer. They blank it out. In worst case scenarios, a company even might be considered rude, childish, or even unprofessional if they shout too loudly. With a blog you can get your voice heard without having to shout above the noise. Your company can come across as calm, cool, collected – you don’t need to shout, because your blog says everything it needs to say in a professional, approachable manner. It doesn’t necessarily even have to be about products that you’re selling. Well-written blogs can talk about anything that may be of interest to your customers – because they’re the ones who really count – which gives your brand an authority in your chosen field. You let the products speak for themselves whilst you cultivate a loyal fan-base.

Would you describe yourself as a blogger?

Do you maintain a blog? What do you feel works, and how do you engage your readers? Let us know in the comments and join the conversation. We’d love to hear from you.

If you want more tips about blogging, whether it be for the business you work for, or your own personal endeavours, sign up for our newsletter:

why aren’t you blogging?

If you’ve found your way to this blog post, then you’re probably considering outsourcing your blog posts. If this is the case, there’s a few things I’d like you to ask yourself. First of all, why are you blogging at all? What are your motivations and goals for your blog? In this post we’ll take a look at reasons for blogging and the benefits of outsourcing.

This is the worst thing you can do with your company blog

I was playing peak-a-boo with my 3 year old recently. You know this game, it’s where you cover your eyes with your hands, then open them like shutters and say ‘peak-a-boo!’ Every time my little boy fell about laughing at this. After watching me do it a few times, he wanted to try it himself and when he covered his eyes he said, ‘can’t see me’, then when he opened his hands he shouted, ‘peak-a-boo!’ This idea of ‘if I can’t see you, you can’t see me’ is so innocent, I love it. I think I’ll actually be sad when he realises one day I can still see him even when his eyes are covered.

Blog of the Week

The TED Blog runs alongside the popular TED Talks platform, however it offers far more than simple information about their schedule of speakers or plans for the coming months. On TED a fantastic assortment of writers find a space to share their knowledge on issues affecting all areas of science, technology and design.

Is it OK to eat your pudding before your main course?

Eating your pudding before your main will fill you up and you won’t have room for your dinner, you’ll miss out on the nutritious part of your meal and it will go to waste. But wait, that’s just stuff your mum worried about when you were a kid, right? Go ahead, eat your dessert first, who cares. If anything it will only stimulate your tastebuds and get your saliva flowing in preparation for your main. That’s right, you heard it here first, dessert is the perfect appetiser, just the thing to whet the appetite before the satisfaction of the main course.

11 Life Changing Books

We asked our Twitter followers to recommend a book, something life-changing. This is what they came up with.

The E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber

top 10 best books

Thanks to Steffi Lewis for this recommendation. The E in E-Myth stands for Entrepreneur and the book’s message is that small businesses are often not run by entrepreneurs, but by people who like doing their job and impulsively decide to set up their own business in a moment of ‘entrepreneurial seizure’.

The truth being that many small business owners are not equipped for the demands of running their own business.

The Search for the Dice Man, Luke Rhinehart

which book shall I read next

Thanks to Living the Dream for this recommendation.

The Search for the Diceman is the sequel of Rhinehart’s 1971 classic The Dice Man, a story about a man’s choice to live anarchically by the roll of the dice.

The 1993 sequel follows the son of the Dice Man, who is by contrast a man who lives by order, until the reappearance of his estranged father.

The Hare with the Amber Eyes, Edmund De Waal & Kul Mahay

what should I read

Thanks to Eagle Estate Planning for 2 recommendations.

The Hare with the Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance is the autobiographical story tracing the history of 264 tiny Japanese netsuke carvings, which the author inherited from an uncle.

Kul Mahay is a life coach. We confess to not knowing a great deal about him, other than he is working on a book due to be published this year.

Zapp!, William C. Byham

what to read

Thanks to Ian Clayton for his recommendation.

The link points at Zapp! The Lightning of Empowerment: How to Improve Quality, Productivity, and Employee Satisfaction, a management training book about how to empower your workforce to create revitalisation within your organisation.

The Secret, Rhonda Byrne

best author

Thanks for Jennie James for her recommendation.

We didn’t think it would be long before The Secret was mentioned, and Jennie wasn’t alone in recommending it.

The Secret is a book about harnessing the power of attraction; be grateful for the things you have and think positive thoughts about your life and positive things will be attracted to you.

The Art of being Brilliant, Andy Cope

bst books to read

Thanks to The Fat Controller for her receommendation.

Andy Cope is a ‘happiness expert’, delivering workshops and training programs to help you feel better about yourself and live a life of brilliance.

Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts

good books to read

Thanks to UK Bump Keys Ltd for this recommendation.

Shantaram is the true story of an escaped convict who flees to Bombay and has a right old adventure doing so. Echoes of Howard Marks, but with more of criminal underbelly.

Thrive, Arianna Huffington & The Social Animal, David Brooks

books to recommend

Thank you to The HampsteadKitchen for these 2 recommendations.

In Thrive, Arianna Huffington, Editor-in-Chief for the Huffington Post, redefines what it means to be successful.

The Social Animal by David Brooks is a life book disguised as a novel and tells the story of how 2 people became successful.

The Celestine Prophecy, James Redfield

recommended books

This is my own contribution. I read the Celestine Prophecy while travelling across Canada when I was 21. It’s a story about 1 man’s spiritual journey to transcend into energy. Sound daft and mystic? It probably is, but reading it changed the course of my future.

This week we’ve been enjoying…

When it comes to must-read blogs you could choose ones focused on politics, or the environment, or industry. You could seek out fact-happy blogs about history, and get the latest statistics about science. Or you could read blogs about all of those things at Cracked.com

What to write your next blog post about

Last week I was sitting in a sales meeting discussing the benefits of blogging to a potential new client. After a moment’s silence he said, “my biggest challenge is finding something to write about.” This can go both ways, people can either a) not have enough material, or b) have too much. Hopefully this post will help you find something to write about.

10 ways to find your next blog post title

Sometimes the hardest part of writing a blog post is coming up with a snappy title. Many writers find the rest easy. Thinking up the title is the starting point and once it’s decided the blog post usual falls into place. Do you find it difficult coming up with blog post titles? Here’s 10 places to look:

how do you measure the success of your blog posts?

Let’s get straight to the point: what do you want your blog posts to do? I’ll tell you what I want mine to do, win traffic and engage the reader. This puts the reader into my funnel as a potential new customer. I consider it the job of my blog and social media to fill the funnel from the top. Therefore, it’s important to know if the process is working. How can I find out if my blog posts are delivering traffic and engaging my readers? Here’s 9 tools I use:

What’s the Meaning of Life?

what's the meaning of life

Photo courtesy of yourppl.com

Ask anyone what the meaning of life is, and you’ll be sure to get a different answer every time. Few questions are liable to raise such vastly different points of view. In fact, it’s so subjective a topic, that it might seem impossible to ever answer definitively – unless, of course, you’re Douglas Adams, in which case the answer is fairly obvious: ’42’. Or if you’re a nihilist, in which case the answer is: there is no meaning of life. 

So, with such wildly differing ideas, just how can anyone figure out what the meaning of life really is? Well, we personally like the old adage – the oldies are the goodies, see – you get out what you put in. Or, if you prefer your sayings with a hint of Lennon-McCartney: ‘in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.’ 

The philosopher Julian Baggini once broached the subject in an article for The Guardian. He believed that, actually, the question ‘what is the meaning of life?’ isn’t a sensible question. There are too many answers, and more specifically, there are too many silly answers. Better, he thought, to be more specific in questioning precisely what it – life – is all about. What is the meaning of your life? 

The answer to that question depends on what it is you want to get out of life. Further to that, how are you going to get it? So first, assess your interests. What do you love doing? Maybe it’s writing blogs, maybe it’s working in accountancy, maybe it’s buying really nice suits and taking holidays in Montenegro. Whatever it is you want to be doing, you’ll want to assess your drive. Do you really want to do what you love? Are you prepared to do whatever it takes, whatever it costs to do it? So long as you have ambition, you’re part way there. 

But how do you achieve those dreams, that life which holds all meaning? Certainly ambition can get you far, but you’ll still need an income of some description – and with that comes outgoings. You can want to be an actor, or collect stamps or go sailing, but you’ll still need food, drink, shelter – the core ingredients of life. And who knows, perhaps you’ll even find love along the way, someone to share your life with too; someone that gives your meaning of life even more…meaning. 

So what’s the meaning of life? Well… here’s our stab at it:

A – B + C x D / E = Life

A is your Income

B is your Outgoings

C is your Interests

D is your Ambition

E is Time

This blog post was requested by @WA_Accountants, proactive chartered accountants in Preston, providing a fresh modern approach to accountancy.

Thanks for the inspiration guys 😉

5 ways blogging can enhance your business

Does your business have a blog? If so, what do you blog about? And if not, why not? There are an absolute wealth of reasons to take up the noble art of blogging for your business. Don’t believe us? Let’s start from the beginning…

How easy is it to write a great blog posts?

In this post I’d like to show you how easy Alakazam is to use and why blog posts are so important in digital marketing. Whether you’re an SEO, SMM, Affiliate Marketer, SME, B2B, Ecommerce, anyone with an online presence can benefit from having a business blog and use it to make money. 

Is there a relationship between Affiliate Marketing and blogging

When it comes to Google, it’s all about change. They changed the way we source information online; changed the way we consume content; and – on a regular basis – they change the results we find when searching.

When you perform a Google search for, say, cheap Ford KAs, you’re presented with relevant, quality search results. That’s the very least you’d expect – and if the search engine behemoth started throwing up results for cheap T-shirts or cheap iPhones or anything that wasn’t what you were searching for, you’d go looking for a search engine that did what it was supposed to.

These changes, Google algorithms, are a regular thing, and unless you’re immersed in SEO practices, you’re unlikely to even be aware of the updates. But these changes, which are great for consumers, present an issue for affiliate marketers.

Interview with Kevan Lee from Buffer

A few weeks back I wrote a blog post about social media in which I interviewed Chris from Spokal and Saul from Ritetag. I asked each of them 5 questions relating to social media, to which they provided their insightful and muost valued replies, which you can read here. I didn’t mention it at the time, but I sent the same questions to Kevan Lee at Buffer.

Can Blog Posts Help Generate New Business?

When it comes to finding new ways to promote your business, blog posts are a perfect choice. They will keep your web presence fresh and will provide a steady stream of new content that will help to attract new visitors and keep your current visitors interested. When you create blog posts for your business, you essentially have the opportunity to create snapshots of what your company is all about. These snapshots will give a clear insight into the services on offer, as well as the personality of your business. So, if you’€™re wondering whether creating blog posts for your business will work to your advantage, then the answer is YES!

4 Favourite Books about Easter

There are many classical books in literature that represent Easter as a theme for children. Here are 4 of our favourites:

    What has takeaway pizza and a blog post got in common?

    I ordered take-out from Just Eat last week. I love Just Eat. In my opinion it’s the best thing to happen to the takeaway industry ever. What I love so much about it is it helps me discover new establishments I would probably never use otherwise. For example, last week the order came from a local Kebab shop, the kind of place I save for those special occasions when I’m staggering home drunk! But on this occasion I wasn’t drunk, one of my kids wanted nuggets, the other pizza, my wife wanted a burger (I mean salad), and I had one too. It just so happened, Just Eat said Sabbies Kebabies had everything I needed. I find it really interesting that it’s the Just Eat brand I ordered from, not the anonymous kebab house around the corner.

    And so the order was placed and the food was delivered and, low and behold, they sent extras. They always do. They bring rewards so I’ll remember them and next order direct so they don’t have to pay the Just Eat fees. This time it was free garlic pizza bread, and free pieces of fried chicken. I was impressed and my first though was, “I’ll order from these guys again.” The sentiment lasted throughout the unpacking and plating up and we all sat down to eat our scran and watch The Voice.

    A few bites in, my enthusiasm began to wane. The food was greasy, with little taste beyond over-salting. I tried everyone else’s, there was nothing good. The food I ordered was disappointing, and we had extra!

    The extra food they had delivered as a reward actually was their Achilles heel. More bad stuff didn’t make me want to order yet more bad stuff.

    And this has inspired this blog post because it reminds me of the old addage, quality not quantity, which is especially relevant when it comes to sharing content online.

    We’re in an age of relevancy. It’s on everyone’s lips. All marketers around the world want to know ‘is it relevant’. In conversations about Twitter followers, “are the followers relevant to our market?”. Same goes on Facebook; are the people who like our page relevant? And in discussions about content, “how relevant is the content to our audience?” We’ve been conditioned now, because of algorithms that monitor trends, to be forever striving to be relevant. And those that are, their content gets shared and seen by the most people.

    What doesn’t work, the content that fails, is stuff that isn’t relevant; stuff that doesn’t resonate with its audience. This stuff gets ignored. And if the next piece is similar, it will probably get ignored as well. And if I keep churning out more of the same, I’m just wasting everyone’s time, mine in particular.

    I make an effort to change how I write and what I write about. I don’t want to be the takeaway guy, bringing you ever more of what you don’t want. I don’t want it to look good until you open it and taste it.

    where can I get free blog posts

    click here if you would like to trial our blog post writing service

    If you’re not already using Twitter for blogger outreach, read this

    using twitter for blogger outreach

    If you read the title of this post and you’re not, you’ve got to read on. Twitter is arguably the best place for blogger outreach. Why? Because it’s super easy to strike up a quick conversation (with businesses, importantly), and find out if they accept guest bloggers? In this post I’ll give you a quick run through how this works for me.