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The 7 Most Common WordPress Errors and How to Solve Them

WordPress errors- why do we put up with them? Because smart organizations know the importance of a killer website. They also know the importance of a robust and reliable website creation platform. Although many such platforms are available, the most popular is undoubtedly WordPress.

In February 2022, WordPress powered over 43% of all websites. In addition, 62% of the top 100 fastest-growing companies in the U.S. use WordPress. Clearly, WordPress is universally popular and near-ubiquitous.

However, WordPress is not perfect. In fact, it can be buggy and glitchy (particularly for those who don’t code), which can result in site interruptions, and affect user experiences. These errors can impact your brand’s credibility and ROI.

Read on to learn more about WordPress and some of the most commonly cited WordPress errors and how you can fix them.

What Is WordPress?

Written in PHP with a MySQL database, WordPress is a content management system that powers millions of websites, forums, blogs, online portfolios, and more. It supports numerous features that are essential for modern websites, including:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Lean code to improve loading speeds
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Mobile-friendly and responsive themes
  • Custom navigation menus

Best of all, WordPress is open-source and completely free.

Now let’s explore the most common WordPress errors and how to fix them.

WordPress Error #1: The White Screen of Death

The white screen of death (WSoD) is one of the most frequently reported WordPress errors that irritate admins.

What it means

WSoD is a WordPress blank page that appears where your website should be. Sometimes you may see an HTTP 500 error or non-helpful WordPress errors like “this page isn’t working”.

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WSoD can occur when you’re logged into your wp-admin screen or when you try to log in.

There are many reasons you may see the WSoD:

  • A WordPress update or plugin is incompatible with some other software on your site.
  • A theme is conflicting with a plugin or some other part of your site.
  • The theme file is missing from WordPress.
  • You have exhausted your PHP memory limit.

How to fix the issue

With the WSoD, your main goal should be to resolve these WordPress errors and restore your website and admin dashboard as quickly as possible. You can do this with the troubleshooting suggestions given below:

  1. Deactivate all WordPress plugins and reactivate them individually

Log into your website through the Administration Screens or via FTP. Locate the folder wp-content/plugins and rename the plugin folder called plugins_old.

This will deactivate your plugins. Next, go to your website. If it is restored and you can log in through wp-admin, you have found (and fixed) the problem!

To determine which plugin caused the error, activate plugins individually, and repeatedly refresh your screen. Keep repeating the process until you see the WSoD again, which means that the most recently activated plugin is the problem.

At this point, you can:

  • Roll the plugin back to its previous version; check your site’s backup or the WordPress Repository
  • Patch the plugin
  • Replace the plugin with a new plugin with similar functionality

2. Switch to a default theme

If you see the WSoD after creating a new site or activating a new theme, switching to a default theme may be the best option in the short term. Login to the WordPress Administration Screens and activate a default theme.

Or you can access your website via FTP and navigate to the /wp-content/themes/ folder. Then rename the folder for the active theme. This will disable the theme.

It’s also possible that your developer forgot to transfer the theme’s files from the local testing environment to the live WordPress installation. Upload these files to your server with your host’s File Manager or an FTP client. Again, rename the /wp-content/themes/ folder to disable the theme.

Some long-term solutions to explore if the WSoD is theme-related:

  • Revert the theme to the older and safer iteration. Check your site’s backup or ask the theme provider.
  • Get a patch from the theme developer.
  • Install and configure a new theme that doesn’t conflict with your WordPress setup.

3. Adjust your server’s memory limit

If your PHP scripts consume excessive memory, it will affect the server’s ability to process a large number of files. This may then result in the WSoD.

To fix this issue:

  • Adjust your WordPress PHP memory limit (start with 64 MB) by modifying the code in three files:
    • wp-config.php
    • .htaccess
    • php.inii
  • Adjust the maximum execution time allowed in the .htaccess OR php.ini files. Start with 60 seconds and keep adjusting it until the issue goes away.

After making and saving your changes, return to wp-admin or the site’s home page. If memory was the problem, the above steps should fix the issue.

WordPress Error #2: Internal Server Error

A 500 Internal Server Error can negatively impact your SEO, so you need to address it quickly.

What it means

This common error usually appears when something is wrong but the server can’t identify it. There are many possible reasons for this error, but many possible solutions as well.

How to fix the issue

To find the root cause and debug the issue:

  1. Check if your .htaccess file is corrupted

Access your site and locate the file which is in the same directory as folders like wp-content and wp-admin. Rename the file and refresh your website to check if the issue is resolved.

If yes, go to your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Settings »Permalinks » Save Changes.

This will create a new .htaccess file with new rules so the error won’t reappear.

Fixing your permalink settings and updating the .htaccess file can also solve WordPress 404 errors:

2. Deactivate plugins

Deactivate your plugins via your WordPress Administration Screens or FTP. For more details, see the previous section.

3. Use a default WordPress theme

A new theme may also generate an internal server error, so switching to a default (safer) theme may resolve it. See the previous section to know more.

4. Increase the PHP memory limit

Increasing the memory limit could fix the problem. However, it might be a temporary solution only. To find a permanent fix, look for what’s actually exhausting the memory limit, such as a new theme or a poorly-coded plugin.

5. Re-upload core files with a fresh WordPress install

Re-uploading the wp-admin and wp-includes folder from a fresh WordPress install may remove the internal server error. To re-download and re-install WordPress, visit WordPress.org.

Next, connect to your WordPress website and go to your website’s root folder. It contains wp-admin, wp-includes, and wp-content folders.

Select and open the WordPress folder on your computer, select wp-includes, and wp-admin, and right-click ‘Upload’.

While transferring these folders to your server, your FTP client will ask if you’d like to overwrite the files. Select ‘Overwrite’, then ‘Always use this action,’ and finally ‘OK’.

These actions will replace the older WordPress files with fresh copies. If the server error was due to corrupted files, this step-by-step approach should fix the issue.

In addition to the five solutions discussed here, you can also ask your WordPress host to provide server logs that can help with further troubleshooting and root cause analyses.

WordPress Error #3: Error Establishing Database Connection

What it means

If your site can’t connect with its database, it may mean that the database is corrupted or unresponsive.

Other reasons for this error could be:

  • Incorrect wp-config.php information, such as:
    • Database host
    • Database name
    • Database username
    • Database password

It can also show up if there are problems with the web host, or if your site has been hacked.

How to fix the issue

To fix these PHP errors, you can try several troubleshooting methods.

  1. Repair your database

First, check if you get the same error on both your website’s front-end and back-end (wp-admin). If you see a different error on the back end, you need to repair your database.

Log into your website via FTP. Add this code into wp-config.php file just before the ‘That’s all, stop editing!’ line:

define(‘WP_ALLOW_REPAIR’, true);

Save the changes and re-upload wp-config.php to your server.

Next, go to this site to repair the database. Once WordPress repairs your database, remove the above line of code from wp-config.php.

2. Correct your configurations

Access your site via FTP. Check that the database name, host, username, and password are all correct in wp-config.php.

If your configuration is correct, you can manually reset your MySQL password.

If you have access to MySQL via shell, issue the command:

SET PASSWORD FOR ‘wordpressusername’@’hostname’ = OLD_PASSWORD(‘password’);

If you don’t have shell access, enter the command into an SQL query in phpMyAdmin. Alternately, use your host’s control panel to reset the password for database users.

3. Contact your web host

The problem may be occurring because the database has met its quota and has been shut down. Contact your hosting provider to assess these root issues.

4. Scan your site

If none of the above resolve the connection issue, it may mean that your site is hacked. Start by scanning the site using an application-based scanner like Sucuri or a remote-based scanner like SiteCheck.

Also, do a full anti-virus/malware scan on your local environment, and force a global password reset for all users. If you use shared hosting, check with your hosting provider if the hack originated at their end. Finally, find and remove the hack with the help of a WordPress security expert.

To prevent future hacks:

  • Register your site with online webmaster consoles like Google Search Console and Norton Webmaster so it doesn’t get blacklisted.
  • Use complex passwords for your FTP, wp-admin, Cpanel, and MySQL login pages.
  • Implement two-factor authentication to log into WordPress.

Also, take regular site backups to ensure that you don’t lose too much data in the event of a hack.

You can also try to restore your site’s database connection by:

  • Updating the WordPress site URL using phpMyAdmin
  • Rebooting the webserver
  • Updating WordPress to the latest version

WordPress Error #4: Connection Time-out

If your website tries to do more than your server can manage, a connection timed-out error will appear in WordPress. The error is more likely if you use shared hosting since the provider restricts your memory limit.

What it means

Three common causes of this problem are:

  • Resource-hungry plugins
  • Issues with theme functions
  • Low PHP memory

How to fix the issue

Here are some ways to fix this error:

  1. Deactivate all plugins

Deactivating plugins and reactivating them one by one can help you find the source of the problem and fix it. Access your website after each deactivation to check if the issue is fixed.

2. Switch to a default WordPress theme

To rule out theme-related problems, switch to the Twenty Twenty-One theme if you are using WordPress 5.8 and below.

3. Increase PHP memory limit in wp-config.php

We discussed earlier how you can do this. If your site uses shared hosting, ask your host to increase this limit.

WordPress Error #5: WordPress Stuck in Maintenance Mode

What it means

Sometimes WordPress can get stuck in maintenance mode during a scheduled update or when you update multiple plugins or themes. WordPress creates a temporary .maintenance file in the root folder, and users will see a message like:

You and your visitors won’t be able to access the site, and you’ll produce the same WordPress error screens every time you try until maintenance is complete.

How to fix the issue

To fix this notification, try these actions:

  1. Delete the .maintenance file

Log into your website via FTP and delete the .maintenance file in the root folder. This may remove the notification screen and bring your site back up.

2. Rename your plugins folder

Rename your plugins/ folder to _plugins/ to see if you can access your site. If it works, change the name back to plugins/. Then, disable all plugins and re-enable them individually to find the problematic plugin.

You can also try renaming the theme folder to disable the theme. Once you find the problem plugin or theme, reinstall it manually to get it working properly again.

3. Update the wp-activate.php file

Open the file via the file manager or FTP. Find this line of code:

define (‘WP_INSTALLING’, true)

Change true to false.

Save the file and reupload it if you’re using FTP. This should bring your site out of maintenance mode.

To avoid getting stuck in maintenance mode in the future:

  • Upgrade to a higher (non-shared) hosting plan
  • Update themes or plugins individually, rather than in bulk

WordPress Error #6: WordPress Is Not Uploading Images

Sometimes you may not be able to upload images to the WordPress media library.

What it means

This usually happens due to incorrect file permissions, so you will see this error message:

How to fix the issue

These WordPress errors are pretty common and you can troubleshoot them by:

Setting the right permissions for your uploads directory

Log into your site via FTP and navigate to the /wp-content/ folder and the uploads folder inside it.

Right-click this folder and select File permissions. When the dialog box opens:

  • Set all permissions for the uploads directory and subdirectories inside it to 744.
  • Check the box for Recurse into subdirectories, select ‘Apply to directories only, and click OK.

Next, to set permissions for the files in the uploads directory:

  • Right-click on the directory.
  • Select File permissions.
  • In the dialog box, change the value to 644.
  • Check the box for ‘Recurse into subdirectories, click ‘Apply to files only’, click OK.

Now log into your WordPress dashboard and re-upload your images.

If you see a vague HTTP error when uploading image files, try resizing or renaming the files. If this doesn’t work, check your permissions as explained above. Temporarily deactivating your plugins and themes may also help. If nothing works and you still can’t upload images, contact your hosting company.

WordPress Error #7: WordPress Is Not Sending Emails

Email marketing may be an important strategy for your business. Targeted, personalized, and well-designed emails can help you engage with your audience, increase website traffic, and boost conversions.

You can directly send emails via WordPress. But sometimes, WordPress doesn’t send these emails out. Unlike our other examples, these WordPress errors may not produce an error screen. You may not even know it’s happening until you try a test email. So next time you set up WordPress email, make sure it’s actually working by trying a test email.

What it means

This usually means that your WordPress hosting server is not correctly configured to use the PHP mail() function. Another possible cause is that the host has placed limits on the resources your site can use.

A third cause is that emails broadcast from WordPress are often caught by anti-spam filters, so they end up in subscribers’ spam folders instead of their inboxes.

How to fix the issue

To solve the problem:

Use SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) to send emails

SMTP uses proper authentication when sending emails. This can increase the deliverability rates of your emails. Simply put, your emails will be more likely to arrive in subscribers’ inboxes rather than landing in their spam folders. To implement SMTP in WordPress, use a plugin like WP Mail SMTP.

If you suspect a server issue, ask your hosting provider to upgrade your plan.

Interrupt Media Can Help You Master WordPress

In this article, we explored seven of the most common WordPress errors. But this is just the tip of the iceberg! There are many other issues you may face with your WordPress CMS. If you’re having a lot of issues with your WordPress site, it’s likely there are some deep-seated backend issues that need an expert’s eyes.  Interrupt Media can help.

Interrupt Media is a B2B digital marketing agency offering a full suite of services including web design, UX, content management, and more! Ready to talk about how we can help you make some improvements to your website, migrate to a different CMS, or drive more traffic to your site?  Contact us today.

The 2021 WordPress Website Security Checklist

The 2021 WordPress Website Security Checklist

You might have stumbled on this article and are thinking to yourself, “Do I really need a WordPress website security checklist? My website has never been hacked.” If that’s the case then you might be surprised to hear this next quote.

Dick Lake, Director of Global Security at the Gates Foundation said, “there are two types of organizations: the ones that have been hacked and those that don’t know they’ve been hacked.”

In fact, a recent study noted that in 2018, Google sent more than 45 million notifications to registered website owners via Search Console, notifying them of a potential breach to their websites which could impact its search engine optimization (SEO).

To put it into perspective, a whopping 50,000 websites are hacked every day. That’s too many sites not to take appropriate action to secure your WordPress website.

That goes double for e-commerce sites which are particularly vulnerable given all the data collected from customers.

Now that we’ve laid down some numbers, your next question is most likely, “what do I do?”

Lucky for you, we’ve developed a thorough WordPress security checklist to get your website secure to prevent damage to your site or reputation from potential hackers.

Types of WordPress Breaches

Many people are unfamiliar with the various types of WordPress breaches, but it’s necessary to understand them to protect your website as a preventative measure.

A breach means that a hacker has found a security vulnerability in your website, and your data may be exposed for theft. Several consequences can arise from there.

Let’s look into some of the most common ways website security can be compromised and what to expect so you can protect your website.

Malware

Malware is malicious software designed to inflict harm on a computer, network server, website, or application. There are a number of different types of malware including traditional viruses, computer worms, Trojan horses, spyware, or ransomware.

SQL Injection

An SQL injection is used to target database-driven programs, wherein malicious SQL queries are ‘injected’ into the database that allows an attacker to view information they would normally not be authorized to view.

Backdoors

Backdoor security breaches occur through unsecured backends of a website, allowing cybercriminals to gain access to your WordPress instance. This can compromise the data or information saved on the website.

Malicious Redirects

Based on the name, this type of security breach occurs when someone clicks on a URL and is redirected to an entirely different website, typically rife with malicious code. This happens by creating backdoors in WordPress installations using FTP or SFTP as an example. This can expose you, your customers, and hurt your brand reputation.

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) is the process of injecting malicious script into a reputable application or website or application. Once this breach has occurred, the cybercriminals can send malicious code to the end-user unbeknownst to them. This will allow the attacker to grab session or cookie data or even re-write page HTML.

DDoS Attack

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt the regular traffic of a targeted server. The objective is to overwhelm the server with multiple requests from various unidentifiable sources, thus overwhelming and shutting down the server.

These are just a few of the most common brute force attacks that occur on WordPress websites. In the next section, let’s discuss the preventative measures you can take to provide your site with the ultimate security.

12-Point WordPress Security Checklist

Use these security tips to help make sure your WordPress website is protected.

1. Invest in Secure Hosting

Your website is the home of your business and, therefore, requires high-quality, secure hosting. The best WordPress hosting providers take the extra steps necessary to protect their servers against common threats.

Your WordPress hosting service plays the most crucial role in the security of your WordPress site. 

2. Use HTTPS Prefix and SSL Certificates

Switching to HTTPS and opting for SSL certification is another way to secure your WordPress website. The traditional HTTP protocol isn’t encrypted and therefore leaves your site vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Alternatively, HTTPS is an internet communication protocol that keeps any data safe while in transit between your computer and the server, thus protecting it from outside threats.

3. Ensure Users Utilize Strong Passwords

One of the simplest ways to secure your website is to create a strong password for the login page that no one can guess easily.

To make it easier for multiple users, complex passwords can be stored once in a program like LastPass and the application can automate your login so you don’t have to remember the password each time you log in.

4. Use Two-Factor Authentication for Added Security

Using a two-step Authenticator adds another layer of protection for your WordPress logins, especially from common malware like phishing. It’s easy for a website to be misplaced but having the extra step of authorizing the user can protect them better long term.

We use Google Authenticator at Interrupt Media but there are various options on the market.

5. Limit WordPress Permissions

One of the best security measures to protect your WordPress website is to use permissions to limit editing and WordPress admin access to only those who absolutely need it.

6. Limit Login Attempts

Furthermore, if you limit login attempts, this helps to prevent unauthorized access. The app Login LockDown can record the IP address and timestamp of any failed login attempt and alert you so you can verify the attempts were authentic before granting the user access again.

7. Keep WordPress Core, Plugins, PHP, and Themes Updated

WordPress is constantly updating its capabilities and features to improve them and prevent security issues. Therefore it’s essential to update your core, plugins, and WordPress themes to the latest version as updates become available.

Applications get updated as security threats are understood and patched. Hackers know this so when they see you’re not using the latest version of WordPress, they know just what to do to bypass your security measures and get inside. This is yet another reason to keep your WordPress site up-to-date.

8. Harden Your WP-config.php File

Another way to strengthen your WordPress website is to create a customized URL for your standard login. After you’ve installed and activated the plugin, “/wp-admin” and “/wp-login.php” will be inaccessible and will be replaced by a custom URL that you can rename as you wish. Then, only those that know the custom URL will be able to log in to your site.

9. Disable XML-RPC

Hackers are always on the lookout for vulnerabilities or loopholes they can bypass to gain access to your site and your valuable data.  XML-RPC is a remote procedure call protocol that uses XML to encode its calls and HTTP as its transport mechanism. Unfortunately, it allows third-party apps to publish content on your site which can include malicious links.

Newer versions of WordPress have replaced XML-RPC with REST API. If you’re using an older version of WordPress, we highly recommend updating it to the newer version, but if you can’t, we recommend you at least disable XML-RPC.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a developer to disable XML-RPC, the Disable XML-RPC Wordpress.org plugin can do it for you.

10. Utilize WordPress Security Plugins

Another helpful preventative measure is to use trustworthy, reputable WordPress security plugins that can help to prevent vulnerabilities and include monitoring functionality to help detect suspicious behavior. We recommend finding a private, paid service instead of using an open-source application that could’ve been modified to cause harm rather than prevent it.

Here are a few that we recommend:

  • BulletProof Security
  • Acunetix WP Security
  • iThemes Security 
  • WordFence
  • Sucuri WordPress Security

11. Always Make WordPress Backups

Such a simple step that most forget: backup everything but especially your website.

A backup is a copy of your site that you can reinstall should something detrimental happen or if a hacker steals a copy. Backing up is something lots of people forget, yet it takes minimal effort for preventive measures. You’ll always trust you have a saved copy of your WordPress site, just in case.

12. DDoS Protection

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt the regular traffic of a targeted server and overwhelm it with requests from various sources, forcing it to shut down.

A Web Application Firewall (WAF) can protect against these attacks. Additionally, continuous monitoring of traffic loads, so that when a certain threshold is reached, you will be alerted and can prevent the attack by directing traffic to a different node.

Get Your Website Off on the Right Foot

Why does this matter? Hackers can use your site to infect your site visitors with malware and steal data from your website or your customers. That’s why it’s your responsibility as a business to protect your WordPress website.

Investing in WordPress security from the get-go is the best way to guarantee long-term sustainability and growth for your WordPress installation. That’s why we always recommend this security checklist to new customers who are WordPress users.

This ensures that any sensitive information in their WordPress database is secure and they can be confident that any of our website marketing efforts will not be in vain.

We hope that you’ve found this tutorial helpful. If you’d like to find out more about our WordPress web design, UX, and development offerings, please feel free to reach out to us.

The WordPress Alternatives to Create Effective Websites

Looking for WordPress alternatives? You’ve come to the right place.

It’s true. WordPress has the largest portion of market share with over 400 million websites currently running on its platform.

WordPress is easy enough to use that the less technically inclined can create their own websites, but it’s also got an excellent set of capabilities for developers and custom web designers.

It also has many options to help you do more with your website, including thousands of WordPress plugins, add-ons, widgets, and customizable themes- not to mention a robust content management system (CMS).

So what’s not to like?

Admittedly, we love WordPress. Our own site is built on it because of how easy it is to use.

But that doesn’t mean all of our clients feel the same way. As the increase in content, websites, and complexities start to increase, other CMS platforms are going to be better fitted.

So in this article, we wanted to share some competitive alternatives to WordPress. We have options for developers as well as no-code options. We have options for large enterprises and small businesses. We’ve also got options for eCommerce businesses and bloggers.

First, we’re going to dive a little deeper into why one might want to avoid the WordPress route for their business.

Why People Want WordPress Alternatives

  • WordPress is Not User Friendly

While WordPress has been designed to be an all-encompassing do-it-yourself platform, for many webmasters and marketers, it’s not the most user-friendly nor has the highest ease of use. You’re responsible for building and maintaining your site, and that includes security protocols, backups, plugin updates, and upgrades.

In most cases, our clients hire web developers or managed hosting companies to do those things for them because they either don’t have the time, resources, or patience to understand all of the nuances of WordPress.

  • WordPress Doesn’t Include a Native Drag-and-Drop Feature

While WordPress does integrate with many of the most popular drag-and-drop website builders like ElementorDivi, and BeaverBuilder– it doesn’t come with this functionality out of the box. So again, you’re required to research and ultimately secure a third-party page builder for your site.

  • WordPress Doesn’t Include Native eCommerce Functionality

WordPress integrates with most eCommerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce, but it doesn’t have eCommerce features or support out of the box. So once again, you’d most likely need a third party eCommerce tool to build that type of functionality.

  • Realistically, You Need Some Coding Knowledge to Maximize WordPress

While WordPress doesn’t require coding to use, you will need at least some basic HTML and CSS knowledge to make customizations to your site, theme, and widget functionality. For some, this is an absolute deal-breaker.

Essentially, many folks who want a WordPress alternative, feel so because they want an all-in-one “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) functionality out of the box without having to hire professionals or pay for third-party tools and services.

Additionally, a non-technical person might get irritated by the fact that they can’t customize their site as they wish without learning code or hiring a developer to assist. Then again, some developers also have their qualms with WordPress.

  • There are limits to how WordPress scales

Sure, if you want your WordPress website to have thousands or millions of pages, then it will likely satisfy your needs. However, if you need to make changes to the design of a landing page template it can either be very easy or very hard depending on how the template has been built.

WordPress gets even more difficult to be successful when you’re managing multiple websites.

If you have a module or section of your website that you want to change across many of your websites, then you have to take a one to one approach to making these updates. That’s time-consuming and monotonous.

It would be MUCH easier if you could make the change in one place and have it update across all sites.

  • Access and permissions vary

Whether you’re managing one or many multiple sites, giving you and the people who will build and maintain your website the right access is important.

While WordPress has a nice set of permissions on who can make updates to the site vs others, it’s limited in how it gives access to users’ permission around making layout, design, and/or copy changes.

If you’re a company that’s investing a lot of money and effort into building your brand, then this lack of admin control opens you and your business up to a lot of risks.

If any of these WordPress site pitfalls are making you think twice about investing long term into the publishing platform, here are 11 popular WordPress alternatives. We’re picking 11 instead of one because unfortunately, there isn’t a one size fits all. Rather, we have what we think are the best solutions for every issue mentioned above.

The 11 Best WordPress Alternatives

1. Brandcast

 

Brandcast is a code-free website building platform that combines sales enablement, content management, and design in one centralized platform.

Brandcast allows companies the version control of having content and design separate as well as the ability to ditch development costs. It’s geared towards companies who want to maximize their marketing and sales efforts through beautiful, dynamic webified content.

It’s best for enterprises with a large portfolio of marketing or sales sites who want to create digital content without relying on a developer. It’s a fantastic tool for companies who are managing multiple websites, value brand equity more than others, and/or want to improve Sale’s account-based selling strategy with personalized digital content.

Brandcast Key Features

  • Content Management
  • Drag & Drop
  • Landing Page/Form/Site Builder
  • Pre-made Templates
  • SEO Management
  • Video Editing
  • Collaboration
  • Sales Enablement
  • Content Management
  • Content Marketing
  • Mobile Content Management System

Brandcast does not publish its pricing.

 

2. Squarespace

Squarespace is an all-in-one platform for new entrepreneurs or established brands. Also, Squarespace offers rich merchandising tools out of the box to help you sell products, subscriptions, content, gift cards, and more.

It’s best for eCommerce store owners, entrepreneurs, photographers, musicians, designers, and others who want an easy-to-use drag and drop website builder.

Squarespace Key Features

  • CRM & Analytics
  • Data Security
  • Email Marketing
  • Forms/Landing Pages
  • Inventory Management
  • Mobile Access
  • Multi-Channel Marketing
  • Multi-store Management
  • SEO Management
  • Reviews Management
  • Pre-Made Templates
  • Online Booking Tools

Squarespace pricing starts at $16 per month. 

 

 

3. Wix

Wix is a website builder for both first-timers and pros. Wix offers an ad-supported free plan, options to have a professionally built site, a complete do-it-yourself, drag-and-drop site, or from code. You must upgrade to a premium plan from the free version to provide site visitors with an ad-free experience.

According to Wix, their platform is good for everyone. No matter what you need a website for – or how techy you are – you can create a professional, elegant site with Wix.

Wix Key Features

  • Email Marketing
  • Pre-Made Templates
  • Data Security
  • Inventory Management
  • Multi-store Management
  • SEO Management
  • Comment Moderation
  • Drag-and-Drop Builder
  • Analytics
  • Survey Builder
  • Online Booking Tools
  • Landing Page/Form Builder

Wix pricing starts at $13 per month.

 

4. Drupal

Drupal is similar to WordPress in that it’s an open-source CMS with tons of customization options tailored to developers or folks that understand HTML, CSS, and PHP. Drupal offers over 40,000 modules that enable optimization and over 1000 free themes to help you customize your site design.

Drupal is best for enterprise organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions that have developers on hand to manage a large portfolio of sites with heavy traffic and data loads.

Drupal Key Features

  • Customizable Modules
  • Audio Content
  • E-forms
  • Full-Text Search
  • Pre-made templates
  • Text Editor
  • Video Content

Drupal is a free-to-use, open-source platform.

5. Joomla

Joomla is a content management system and website builder with loads of out-of-the-box features via the backend for developers including over 7,000 extensions that add functionality and control to your site.

Joomla has a steep learning curve, so it’s best for developers with experience in web development tasked with building a social network, community, or membership site that will support hundreds of users, custom post types, and multiple languages.

Joomla Key Features

  • Version Control
  • Document Indexing
  • Full-Text Built-in Search Engines
  • Text Editor
  • Asset Sharing
  • Asset Library
  • Search Filters

Joomla’s paid plans are not published online.

 

6. Shopify

Shopify is an eCommerce platform that offers store owners the ability to create their website with a professional online storefront complete with a POS system.

Shopify currently powers over 160,000 eCommerce sites in 100+ countries. Customers include Tesla Motors, Gatorade, Formes, and Maxim Magazine.

Shopify is best for small business owners as well as large corporations that need an eCommerce site to support their business.

Shopify Key Features

  • CRM
  • Email Marketing
  • Multi-Channel Marketing
  • Inventory Management
  • Multi-Store Management
  • Returns/Refund Management
  • SEO Management
  • Shopping Cart
  • Inventory Control
  • Catalog Management
  • Discount/Coupons Management
  • Customer Accounts
  • Mobile Commerce

Shopify pricing starts at $29 per month.

7. Weebly

Weebly is a great website builder for first time eCommerce online store owners. It offers curated templates and robust features like a drag-and-drop editor and integrated marketing features.

It’s also worth noting that Weebly was rated one of the most popular CMS platforms and website builders in the Apple and Google Play mobile app markets.

Weebly is ideal for creative entrepreneurs who want to build content-rich sites and unique online stores with an all-inclusive, easy-to-use platform that doesn’t require advanced features

Weebly Key Features

  • CRM & Analytics
  • Email Marketing
  • Multi-Channel Marketing
  • Promotions Management
  • Reviews Management
  • Pre-Made Templates
  • Multi-Store Management
  • Returns Management
  • SEO Management
  • Guest Posting
  • File Sharing
  • Drag-and-Drop Editor
  • Online Booking Tools
  • Landing Pages/Forms Builder

Weebly pricing starts at $6 per month.

 

8. Ghost

Ghost is an open-source, content management system, and blogging platform for bloggers who want to monetize their publications in a simple, easy-to-use platform.

Ghost is best for writers who prefer a more simplified solution to WordPress where they can control the design, content, and experience for their readers.

Ghost Key Features

  • Content Publishing
  • Membership and Subscription Management
  • 100’s of Integrations
  • Pre-made Templates
  • Collaboration

Ghost pricing starts at $29 per month.

 

9. Webflow

Webflow is a web design tool, CMS, and hosting platform all-in-one that empowers designers to build professional, custom websites in a completely visual canvas.

Webflow is best for designers, developers, and UX designers because the interface is very similar to most design tools. Of course, anyone can learn to use it, but there may be a bit of a learning curve for anyone who’s never used a design tool before.

Webflow Key Features

  • Shared/VPS/Reseller/Dedicated Hosting
  • Colocation Services
  • Storage Limits
  • Email Hosting
  • CMS Support
  • E-Commerce Integration
  • Database Support
  • Bandwidth Allowance
  • Control Panel Integration
  • Web Framework Support
  • File Management
  • Security Tools

Webflow’s pricing is not published online.

 

10. BigCommerce

BigCommerce is the leading cloud eCommerce platform designed to help established retail businesses scale their offering. It offers enterprise functionality, open architecture, and an app ecosystem that provide award-winning performance.

BigCommerce is best for retail businesses that want to build an eCommerce website using customizable features and sales management through a centralized dashboard.

BigCommerce Key Features

  • CRM/Reporting/Analytics
  • Email Marketing
  • Multi-Channel Marketing
  • Promotions Management
  • Reviews Management
  • Pre-Made Templates
  • Data Security
  • Inventory Management
  • Multi-Store Management
  • Returns Management
  • SEO Management
  • Bulk Ordering
  • Data Synchronization
  • Mobile Commerce
  • Shopping Cart
  • Customer Accounts

BigCommerce pricing starts $29.95 per month.

 

11. WordPress.com

WordPress.com, as opposed to WordPress.org where everything is self-managed, WordPress.com offers an all-in-one web hosting and building platform and content management system.

With WordPress, you can build a powerful website and publish new content anywhere, anytime with help available when you need it.

Like WordPress.org, WordPress.com is for everyone but offers a much easier-to-use, done-for-you service.

WordPress.com Key Features

  • Pre-Made Templates
  • Data Security
  • SEO Management
  • Custom domain names
  • Customizable, WordPress Themes
  • Mobile Website Management
  • Customer Support
  • Content Management
  • Drag-and-Drop Editor

WordPress.com’s pricing starts $4 per month.

So there you have it- 11 great alternatives to using WordPress. If you’re looking to build a new site, or are thinking about migrating your current WordPress website to one of the aforementioned solutions, make sure that you get buy-in from other company stakeholders.

Once that’s in place, also make sure to have a realistic project plan. New website builds and website migration projects consistently take longer than people plan for because they underestimate how long it takes to complete all of the different stages of building a website. If you put a plan together and then get feedback from your team, then you should be in a much better position to not only be successful with your website but also hit your deadline.

How to Scale Content Production For High Volume Publishing

Scaling your content production for high-volume publishing is essential for businesses looking to increase their online presence and drive more organic traffic to their website.

After all, Search Engine Journal reports that over 73% of B2B marketers use content marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy.

Clearly, producing high-quality content to drive SEO coverage and organic search success is a non-negotiable, but increasing your content production can seem daunting, particularly if you’re already slim on resources.

If that sounds like you, you’re in luck! By following a few key steps, which we’ll lay out in the article, you can effectively scale content creation while maintaining high-quality standards.

Whether you’re looking to increase brand awareness or just get more authority amongst your competitors, this guide will give you the steps and tools to scale the content creation process quickly.

So let’s jump right in!

Start By Assessing Your Current Content Production Process

The content production process is the series of steps a marketing team takes to strategize, create, and promote content. Identifying bottlenecks and limitations in this process is a crucial first step toward improving the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy. 

Here are a few tips to help you evaluate your existing content production process:

  1. Look at the different stages of your process, from new content ideas to publishing. Identify where delays or inefficiencies are happening. Is the in-house marketing team at its full capacity? Are there bottlenecks in the workflow? Understanding these issues will help you make changes to improve your content production.
  1. Is the content that you are producing high-quality and engaging for your target audience? Are you producing scalable content assets? In other words, is your content even performing as is? Or should how you’re going about producing content get a face-lift before you try to increase the volume? If your content is not resonating with your audience, you may need to discuss it with your content strategist to improve the overall quality before scaling.
  1. Use metrics such as views, shares, and comments to measure how well your content is performing. Track your website traffic and engagement using tools like Google Analytics to see which content types drive the most traffic and engagement. This will help you identify which types of content are working well and which need improvement.
  2. Do you produce content that you can repurpose? One of the earliest steps you can take is to start producing content that can be repurposed into other formats. For example, a common practice at Interrupt Media, and with our clients, is to produce a white paper and then repurpose the content for that into a webinar, blog posts, podcasts, LinkedIn social posts, etc. and ensure that all assets drive are optimized to drive folks down the funnel.

By evaluating your current content production process, you can make improvements that will lead to more compelling content and a more successful content marketing strategy. Again, this is a really critical first step. We recommend optimizing marketing efforts first, before scaling them.

Setting Goals and Objectives for Scaling your Content Production

Content marketing is a powerful tool for business growth, but it can only be easy to scale content with clear goals and objectives. Have you already determined the ideal content volume and frequency?

If your company publishes one piece of content per month, imagine how much more impactful it would be for your target audience if you increased that to two or three per month. Now, you’re talking about creating a real impact and reaching a larger audience.

The amount of in-depth content you produce each month will depend on a number of things including how much you can produce in a given time period with the resources you have, how many long tail keywords you’re trying to get coverage for, and how quickly you want to get coverage for all your goal terms.

And don’t stop there. Set specific and measurable goals for increasing your organic search visibility, like getting on page 1 of SERPs for a particular keyword that’s a high priority. With a solid SEO strategy, you’ll be unstoppable in driving traffic and conversions to your landing page.

You also need to take a moment to determine which tools, if any, you need to invest in to help you increase efficiencies in your content writing or production process.

Developing a Content Calendar and an Editorial Plan

As a content manager, you understand the importance of producing high-quality, engaging content consistently. One way to organize and schedule content production is to create a calendar that outlines the content’s topics, themes, and formats. 

This will ensure that all team members know the content plan and can work together to produce consistent, cohesive content. It will also help you to map your content to funnel stage so you’re prioritizing the right pieces to get your reader closer to a sale.

BONUS: Need help better understanding who your target customers are? Check out our guide to defining your ICPs (ideal customer personas).

When creating an editorial calendar, consider the following:

  • Identify key dates and events that will impact your content (e.g., holidays, product launches, industry events)
  • Plan content around those key dates and events
  • Consider how different types of content (e.g., blog posts, social media updates, infographics) will support goals and objectives.
  • One person can’t do it alone, so assign tasks and responsibilities to content team members or take advantage of outsourcing to a content agency to help you meet your desired volume and frequency.

Once the content calendar and editorial plan are in place, reviewing and adjusting them regularly as needed is essential. This will ensure that the content being created is aligned with the goals and objectives of the business and that it is being published at the right time.

Optimizing Content Production For SEO

Creating and publishing great content that resonates with your target audience and drives business growth is vital. However, you also need to ensure that it’s optimized for search engines to reach the broadest possible audience.

One of the most effective ways to optimize your content program for SEO is by conducting keyword research to inform your content strategy and targeting. You can create content that directly addresses the needs and pain points of your audience, by knowing what keywords they use when searching for solutions to those problems.

Once you understand the keywords you want to target, you can use header tags, meta descriptions, and alt tags to optimize your content for search engines. That’s how you help search engines to understand the content of your pages and make them more likely to rank for your targeted keywords.

Link building and internal linking is another important aspect of SEO. By building high-quality backlinks to your content from other reputable websites, you can drive more traffic to your site.

Additionally, by linking to your content within your site, you can help search engines understand the structure and hierarchy of your pages, making it easier for them to crawl and index your content. It also helps provide value to people reading your content and keeps them on the site longer.

Use these tips to improve your search engine performance and drive traffic to your site. It’s essential to act urgently and take advantage of the benefits a well-optimized content program can bring to your business.

Streamlining and Automating Content Production Processes

If you are here, you understand the importance of producing high-quality content regularly. However, creating and distributing that content can take time and effort. You can implement tools and project management systems to streamline and automate your content production process.

One of the most effective ways is by using templates, content briefs, and SOPs (standards of operation). These provide your content writers with a framework for creating content, making it easier to maintain a consistent voice and message across your materials.

Another critical step is to take advantage of technology and automation tools that can help with content creation and distribution. Here are a few we recommend:

  • A Content Management System (CMS) can be a great way to manage your content in one central location. Some tools can automate the scheduling and publishing of your content across multiple platforms, like social media posts and email marketing, making it much more efficient. At Interrupt Media, we use WordPress.
  • AI-powered tools can help content managers produce high-quality, relevant, and optimized content at a scale that can then be QA’d by a subject matter expert or a copywriter to add a human element, check for plagiarism, and optimize for marketing goals. Tip: NEVER rely on or publish unedited AI-produced content. We’ve worked with Jasper.ai and ChatGPT.
  • SEO research and content optimization tools are a must when conducting keyword research, running content audits, and optimizing written content for the ideal keywords. For this, we are fans of Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Clearscope.

The competition for consumer attention is fierce, and the need to produce high-quality content regularly is crucial to staying relevant. By streamlining and automating your content production process, you’ll be able to make more content in less time and reach your target audience more effectively.

Level up your Content Strategy with Interrupt Media

Do you need help to effectively execute your content marketing strategy and achieve your SEO and organic search goals? You’re not alone. Many businesses need help with creating and implementing a successful content marketing plan as it can be very resource-intensive. 

Interrupt Media can help.

Our team of experienced marketing strategists, professional writers, and a dedicated account manager will work with you to develop the content marketing campaigns geared to get you the online visibility, search engine results, organic traffic, or business growth you’re trying to achieve.

Partnering with a content marketing services provider like Interrupt Media means more then just writing a blog post or two. It means getting exposure to innovative strategies and content best practices to ensure that your brand is positioned as a thought leader with existing and potential customers. If you’re ready to work together, let’s talk.

Speak with a strategist.

 

How to Optimize a Backlinking Strategy for Local SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and local SEO is becoming a critical component to digital marketing, building awareness, and generating demand for businesses of all shapes and sizes. 

A recent report stated that search engines were the starting place for 68% of online experiences. 

Another SEO report showed over 90% of global web traffic came from either a Google search, Google Image, or a Google Map. Thus, ensuring that you have high-quality content that interested potential clients can find easily online is paramount to your success.

But there’s more to it than just good content. There are a number of factors that Google includes in its algorithm when determining where to rank a site or page in its SERPs. #2 on the list provided by MonsterInsights, after valuable content, are backlinks. 

We’ve already talked quite a bit about what a link-building strategy looks like and how B2B businesses can get backlinks, but when it comes to local SEO, not all the traditional backlink strategies work the exact same way. There are some nuances and some tailored strategies that must be implemented to make it work on a local level. 

So, for our third installment in our backlink series, we’re going to share SEO tips about link-building best practices from a local SEO perspective. But first, let’s recap briefly on what backlinks are and what local SEO is.

What are Backlinks?

Obtaining backlinks, backlinking, or link building is the practice of getting a link to your site or content in an external piece of content. Typically this will be anchor text that is relevant to your content. 

For example, we’ve linked to an authoritative report on SEO above and used the anchor text, “recent report” to link the article to.

This adds further credibility and authority to your content because, in essence, the site linking to your stuff is saying, “Hey- this content is valuable enough that we wanted to link to it in our own stuff to back up our points or add proof to a case we’re trying to make.” 

The more authoritative sites link to your content, the more Google will take note and increase the ranking of your content, thus, the more traffic your webpage will get.

So what about local SEO? What’s that all about?

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is the practice of optimizing content to increase traffic and ranking for a local search. Often a local business will do this to try to get traffic and awareness from folks located in the same geographic area. 

This isn’t super important for every business. For example, an entirely digital business may or may not care where their traffic comes from, but local businesses operating both online and in a local territory, they may choose to implement both general SEO and local SEO to attract local customers and those abroad.  

So you can see the difference let’s take a look at a general Google search, versus a local Google search:

  • A general Google search for a WordPress web design company may read like, “WordPress web design agencies”
  • Alternatively, a customer in New York that wants to hire a local agency might search for “WordPress web design agencies in New York” or they might search for “WordPress web design agencies near me.”

A web design agency looking for both local and general SEO traffic would have to ensure they’ve optimized their content and their site for both types of searches. The tactics for generating traditional SEO look a bit different than those tactics used for local SEO.

For example, traditional SEO will involve activities like keyword research and mapping keywords to topics and funnel stages whereas local SEO ranking factors include the aforementioned activities plus things like: 

  • NAP citations (business’ name, address, and phone number) 
  • submitting your business information to Google My Business listing (GMB), and 
  • ensuring all mentions of your address (whether on social media or Google Maps) are accurate.

So now that we’ve covered what backlinks are and what local SEO is, let’s put the two together and cover why local backlinks are an important part of an effective local SEO strategy.

Why Are Local Backlinks Important?

There are a number of valid reasons why obtaining local backlinks is not only an important part of a local link-building strategy, it’s a crucial aspect that business owners should prioritize.

  • Local backlinks can drive targeted, relevant local traffic to your business’ website and landing pages
  • Local backlinks can help to establish your brand as an authority and a trusted resource in your area
  • Local backlinks require outreach and communication which makes it a great way to make connections and build relationships with other local businesses in the area.

Now that we’ve discussed local SEO backlinks and why they’re important, let’s move on to some strategies you can implement to help you get local backlinks.

7 Places or Strategies to Obtain Local Backlinks 

The following are some of the strategies we use and recommend to our clients when helping them to build their local SEO presence through backlinks.

1. Local Business Directories

While you should be submitting your NAP business listing to the major directories like the Better Business Bureau and Whitepages, they may not do a ton to help you with local search results. That’s why it’s important to submit your business listing to local directories as well such as Yelp, Google My Business, and any additional directories that are specific to your region.

Also, it’s important to focus on those local area directories that see a decent amount of web traffic and are a good fit for your business. Furthermore, if they charge fees for the inclusion of a local citation, that’s another consideration you’ll have to take into account.

2. Industry-Specific Directories

Speaking of directories, there are a number of industry-specific directories that exist as well. 

Niche directories, for example, G2 and Capterra for those who sell software or SaaS application, can be a critical component of the buyer journey as searchers typically investigate these sites as a means for evaluating potential options. 

These types of backlinks can send targeted, qualified leads to your site. Furthermore, they can also be a great source for testimonials as G2 and Capterra allow verified buyers to leave reviews after their purchases. 

Similar to local directories, some industry-specific directories may have subscription fees to join.

3. Social Media

Creating a social media profile or business listing is a simple and effective way to add to your backlink profile. Facebook, LinkedIn, even Instagram can be a good fit to promote your business depending on your industry and your target audience.

These social media sites tend to have high domain authority, so having your homepage linked to them can help to boost your search rankings and your local rankings although not as much as having a link in a local blog with high domain authority.

Having your NAP details on a social media platform like Facebook or LinkedIn can also help validate your business’s information on search engines. 

4. Local News Sites

Being references in local content, for example on a local newspaper site or community forum, is another great opportunity to add a quality backlink to your link profile. 

This will require a bit of outreach but could serve multiple purposes including getting a free press release and awareness for your business in addition to increasing your rankings and domain authority.

Many publications offer a way to submit a press release or list the contact info for their editorial resource that you can reach out to request opportunities for collaboration or to promote a local event. 

You may get further if you first reach out to establish a connection before pitching your idea for content.

5. Work with Influencers or Bloggers

Another great strategy is to reach out to a local blog or influencer and seek opportunities for collaboration. This might mean submitting a guest post or asking the person or publication to collaborate on a piece of content. 

This could be a case study (if they’re a customer or willing to become one) or perhaps a round-up post.

Another option is to offer to trade products or services so that you can both offer a review of each other’s products. Regardless of the form the collaboration takes, it’s always a great idea to offer something of value in exchange for the value you’re requesting.

Additionally, being promoted on a high-domain authority site can help to expose your business to a wider audience full of potential customers. This is why it’s important to work with someone in a non-competitive, yet adjacent industry.

6. Pursue Sponsorships

Leveraging a sponsorship is another way to obtain local backlinks and leverage a potentially new community to increase your brand awareness.

Ethically, you should only pursue a sponsorship with a brand or company you know, trust, and value and you also should disclose the partnership on your site.

7. Utilize Tools to Identify Competitor Backlink Opportunities

Another option is to utilize SEO tools to identify opportunities to outrank competitors through backlinks. Great examples include Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMrush

With these tools, you can often just plug in your competitor URLs and/or local keywords you both use to see where your competitor’s backlinks come from. 

With this information, there are many options. You can seek out these publications to have your link included or offer a more valuable piece of content to replace your competitor’s content. 

Another option is to reach out regarding broken backlinks and offer a piece of valuable content to replace the broken link. 

 

We hope you’ve found these seven local link-building strategies helpful. However, we also realize how time-consuming it can be to try to implement these strategies full scale when you’re strapped on resources as it is. 

So, if you’d like a guiding hand to help you build out your backlink strategy, Interrupt Media can help.

We are a full-stack B2B marketing agency. We help our clients to implement full-scale marketing strategies to generate demand, improve ROI, and increase the number and quality of leads.

If you need help building a successful backlinking or overall marketing strategy, let’s schedule a time to chat about how Interrupt Media can support your unique objectives

The Ultimate Guide to SEO Backlinking 

Whether you’re a blogger, webmaster, or digital marketer, if you’re incorporating SEO strategies into your tactics, you’ve probably at least heard the term “backlinking”, “link building”, or “backlinks.” 

If that’s the extent of your knowledge, then don’t worry because we’ve got you covered in today’s post.

A whopping 55.24% of web pages don’t have backlinks, and this can hurt your content’s ability to rank well in Google SERPs and Pagerank.

Backlinks within your content are a great way to add authority to your content and back up your positions. However, it is equally important for other sites to link to your content to help build the domain authority of your website and bring new traffic to your pages. 

So today, we will dive deeper into the concept of backlink building, why your website needs to incorporate strategic link building, and offer step-by-step guidance to help you improve your backlinking strategy.

What is Backlinking or Linkbuilding?

Backlinking or link building is the practice of linking to an external piece of content within your own as a way to add authority or credibility. Additionally, it adds to the authority of the source content as well. 

Backlinks are the #1 ranking factor for SEO on Google year in and year out. 

They can increase the number of clicks and therefore, increase the content’s Google ranking, credibility, and visibility as more organic traffic finds your site. 

Now that we have a sense of what backlinking is and why businesses do it, let’s talk about the different types of backlinks you can make. 

What are the Different Types of Backlinks?

Not all backlinks are the same. There are several types of backlinks and it’s important to know the difference.

Natural Links

Natural link building is when the site owner uses backlinks within the content on their own accord, without any prompting from the content’s owner. 

Internal Links

Internal linking involves creating multiple links to your existing content to purposely increase traffic to those pages. These differ from natural links in the sense they’re more strategically placed for optimization and self-promotion.

Promotional Backlinks

These are the types of links that will be pitched from one company to another. 

For example, the owner of an SEO software may reach out to a high-ranking site owned by a digital marketing agency and request that a link to their content is included in a current post, or within a guest post if you’re guest blogging. 

This is a win-win for both parties as the recipient gains valuable content that will add to their site’s credibility and the inquiring party gains added domain authority for their site through the backlink.

What Kind of Content Can I Use For Backlinking?

Just about any content can be used when backlinking so long as it’s high-quality and relevant to the topic. Here are several types of content marketing assets that can be used for link building:

Blog Posts

Product Reviews 

  • What They Are: A product review can be posted as a blog post like the example below but is specifically an opinion piece around a particular product. In the case, below, we reviewed a popular marketing automation tool and provided in-depth details about pricing, features, and pros and cons based on our experience.
  • Example: SharpSpring Marketing Automation Tool Review

White papers

  • What They Are: A white paper is a report or guide that informs readers concisely about a complex issue and presents the issuing body’s philosophy on the matter. It is meant to help readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision. 
  • Here are some examples of Whitepapers.

eBooks

  • What They Are: An eBook or electronic book, is incredibly useful as a means to educate your target audience on topics related to your product or service. They are typically more researched and in-depth than a blog post and are presented as a downloadable PDF which makes them an excellent vehicle for capturing lead information.

Infographics

  • What They Are: Infographics are colorful and visually eye-catching while also displaying information that educates the reader about your lead capture content or the product/service itself. 
  • Here is an example of an infographic.

On-Demand Webinars 

  • What They Are: Webinars are a live (or pre-recorded) video presentation that typically incorporates a video feed of a live person in conjunction with information slides. After hosting the webinar live, you can continue to get traffic out of the webinar by offering it “on-demand” through a page on your website. 
  • Example: 12 Ways to Reallocate Your Event Marketing Budget and Save Money

FAQs

  • What They Are: An FAQ is similar to a blog post except that it specifically seeks to answer the “Frequently Asked Questions” around a topic.
  • Example: What is RegTech and Why Does it Matter?

Checklists 

  • What They Are: Checklists again are similar to blog posts but are typically less text-heavy and more geared towards providing steps via checklist items to help the reader learn how to do something. 
  • Example: The 2021 WordPress Website Security Checklist

 

Datasheets

  • What They Are: Datasheets are often used in B2B or tech industries to organize large amounts of information and data in a concise manner that’s easy for prospective customers to read. 
  • Example: Here are some examples of datasheets.

Buyers Guides 

Now that we know what backlinks are and what types of content you can use to build links or obtain links from third-party sites, let’s discuss how you can find valuable resources to target with your link-building strategy.

How Can I Find Valuable Sites to Get Backlinks From?

Before we get into best practices to build backlinks (either to or from your site) let’s look into finding how you can find sites to link within your content, or during backlinking outreach to other sites.

The first thing to remember is that not all links are valuable.

Not all inbound links are credible or offer value. It’s necessary to verify links aren’t spammy or carrying malicious links within them. This means you need to do some research when looking for high-quality links.  

They need to come from authoritative sites that offer quality content. The domain authority of the site should be considered as well. 

The domain authority (DA) of a website is a measure of how relevant it is for the subject matter it promotes or the industry it is in. Scores range from 0-100. 

This metric was developed by the company Moz and is directly related to its impact on ranking within the Google search engine. The higher the score, the better.

Now that we know how to identify quality content to link to, let’s review some quick best practices for building your internal backlinks. After that, we’ll review some outreach strategies for obtaining links to your site from another. 

Linkbuilding Best Practices

Here are some key takeaways for link building that can help improve your current strategy or allow you to begin a new one. 

Utilize Keywords in the Link’s Anchor Text

To boost your chance of adding authority via links within your content, you should aim to link target keywords you’ve discovered through your keyword research. And of course, these keywords should be highly relevant to the content you’re linking to.

So for example, if we wanted to link to a site that provides a valuable article on technical SEO best practices, we would likely use ‘technical SEO best practices’ or whatever keyword is most relevant for that content. 

Do Not Recycle Old Links

Another best practice is to avoid using the same backlinks over and over. This is one of Google’s ranking factors and they will identify it as a low-quality link due to its excessive use. 

That’s not to say you can’t link to the same content, but try to change up the anchor text so that it is still relevant but not an exact copy from previous use.

Use “Dofollow” Links

Ensure all strategic backlinks are “do follow” links. If they’re “no follow” links, Google and other search engines will ignore them. For example, in Google’s latest version of their algorithm, Google Penguin, no-follow links can provide some value, but it’s minimal. Thus, it’s best to prioritize do-follow links in your optimization strategy. 

Most content is “do follow” as a default, but some that you may have issues with are press releases, podcast scripts, blog comments, and paid advertisements. 

Avoid Any Blackhat Techniques

Black hat SEO techniques are those practices that go against guidelines provided by search engines. They’re considered to be “shady” or misleading tactics that fraudulently increase search rankings. Once spotted, these tactics can get you flagged and penalized on search engines. 

Common blackhat SEO tactics include: 

  • Keyword stuffing: misusing SEO keywords out of context or in blatantly irrelevant ways simply to bolster searchability.
  • Cloaking: a technique in which content submitted to the search engine is not the same as what is seen by the user when they click on a link to view the same piece of content.
  • Misleading re-directs: intentionally misleading a reader to believe they will be opening a link to a certain type of page or content and instead, re-directing them to something totally unrelated. Typically this is to insert malicious content or part of a paid link opportunity.
  • Paid links: links to content that you were paid to include in your content. While they may be relevant to the context, they are against Google’s TOS.
  • Poor quality content: content that contains tons of errors, poor formatting, no use of headers, or doesn’t read well can signal an issue to Google and it will de-prioritize the content. 

Instead, white hat SEO techniques, which generally consist of creating high-value, authoritative content and a good user experience for readers, are recommended. 

Tips for Obtaining Backlinks From Authority Sites

Now that we’ve covered some best practices for the links you use on your site, let’s discuss some outreach best practices to use when attempting to obtain links from external sources.

To obtain the link, you will need to contact the publication (typically through email) and ask them to link to your content. You can find a relevant email address through a company directory or “About Us” page.

Look for titles that would indicate the person is in charge of the page (i.e. Editorial Director). 

Do not attempt to reach out to someone who is clearly not responsible for the content (i.e. Head of Sales)- this not only looks spammy but creates a poor first impression with a potential partner.

In most cases, they won’t just do this for you unless there is value for them. Here are a few ways to add value for them. 

Also, it’s worth mentioning that some sites will not be willing to include your backlink for free. They may request that you purchase your spot on their site but this is against Google’s TOS and is not recommended. 

The Skyscraper Technique

The Skyscraper Technique is a system for turning content into high-quality backlinks and was created by Backlinko’s Brian Dean. The strategy is pretty simple.

First, you find the publication you want to obtain a link from and find a relevant topic that they’re currently linking to. Then you write a better, more valuable piece of competitive content and offer it as an alternative to the site owner and any other site currently linking to that content. 

The Broken Link Building 

Using an SEO tool, like those we’ll cover later in the post, you can search for relevant sites to your strategy that currently have broken links and dead-end pages within their content. 

The strategy is to reach out to let them know about the broken link and offer your content in place of the broken link.

The Link Roundup Strategy 

Since blog content has grown enormously in the past few years, some blog posts’ sole purpose is to be re-linked to other quality content, often by influencers, in a roundup post. Often these are promoted as “Best of” or “The Top X” resource type posts.

All you need to do is research similar keywords to your niche and find those roundup posts. Then, you can reach out and ask to have your page or site included in the round-up.

Guest Posting

Another pretty straightforward link-building technique is to simply reach out to relevant publications that offer guest posting opportunities and include strategic, relevant links to high-quality content. Keep in mind that many sites that offer guest posting will have restrictions on the types of links, or how many, can be included in your post.

In the next section, we’re going to discuss some tools that you can use to aid in your link-building campaigns. However, it’s important to note that you don’t need an expensive tool to start obtaining backlinks when you’re just starting.

Outbound Backlinking Tools

The following are a few of our favorite tools for identifying good targets to reach out to with our backlinking strategies. 

BuzzSumo

Tools such as BuzzSumo can help find quality content and relative topics to backlink to your website. We like to think of BuzzSumo as the Google for content marketers. We use it to look up content on a topic and see what’s been written about and how it’s performing. This provides a clear indicator of good backlinking opportunities. 

SEMrush 

SEMrush is a helpful platform for navigating content and keywords needed to help improve your search ranking, including backlinks. We really love SEMrush for performing competitor analysis. Their competitor data has been the most accurate of all the tools we’ve tried when looking at figures like competitor traffic, keywords, % of traffic to pages, etc.

Ahrefs 

Ahrefs allows you to analyze the data behind your website. It looks at traffic, SEO, ranking, etc so that you can find the best areas to improve your website and your content. 

Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, it provides you with insight into your competitor’s sites and their link profiles so you can apply techniques like the skyscraper method, to better compete with their content.

BuzzStream

BuzzStream is a web-based outreach software that helps digital marketers promote their products, services, and content by helping your content get found via inbound marketing channels.

Pitchbox

We use Pitchbox heavily for the actual outreach/emailing process involved in trying to obtain backlinks from other sites. It provides the ability to track and send auto-followup emails which saves a lot of time during the outreach process.

Clearscope

Clearscope is an SEO tool we use to help better optimize our content and increase its competitiveness. Essentially, Clearscope pulls the top-ranking content for posts on the same topic and gives us keywords we can use to optimize our post. Clearscope also has a new feature that provides guidance on outlining the post so that we can create a more competitive, comprehensive post than our competitors.

How Interrupt Media Can Help With Your SEO Strategies

Understanding the techniques and best practices of backlinking is an essential marketing strategy you cannot overlook. 

Having a strategy to enhance the authority and SEO of your site should be a priority if your goal is to increase brand awareness, encourage more traffic, and add to your revenue and SEO ROI. 

However, if you aren’t sure where to start, we can help!

Interrupt Media is a full-stack B2B marketing agency. Our job is to assist B2B companies in incorporating marketing strategies to improve ROI, improve demand generation, and increase the flow of high-quality marketing qualified leads (MQLs).

If you need help building a successful backlinking or overall marketing strategy, let’s schedule a time to chat about how Interrupt Media can support your unique marketing initiatives.

Eager to learn more about backlinking? See our post on backlinking for B2B and backlinking best practices for local SEO.

 

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