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Managers face a new challenge–managing a remote forex trader team with more and more Forex companies looking out for outsourcing. Events such as motivational tactics, task control and Communications still require a specialist approach even if this has been simplified using technology and a high-speed Internet. The advantages of employing people on a distance are endless and make your competitive edge easy. Your company can help create a talented team of the best specialists in the market because you can not just hire people from everywhere in the world. This is why a remote employment type will continue to gain momentum in the future. It’s all the challenges that value it. Remote job is very easy–output, autonomy and flexibility. You influence the manner you operate your team, the smoothness and achievement of the company procedures. And although most individuals still think that remote employees are not as productive as usual in office, the reality of the matter is that most remote employees actually see an increase in productivity equal to a complete additional working day. So how do you efficiently handle a distant team? How can you contribute to its growth, commitment and coordination? Below are some tips that we have collected to assist you find the response. TIP 1 – Maintain high performance If your team scatters throughout the world, productivity can be impacted, unless certain measures are taken to keep it. It is not only difficult to say in a virtual environment how much time your staff spend on assignments and how successful they are, but also it is essential to be evident how the entire team handles the workload. Therefore, it is essential that a business process is well thought-out and that several software tools are used. 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No, the British did not steal $45 trillion from India
This is an updated copy of the version on BadHistory. I plan to update it in accordance with the feedback I got. I'd like to thank two people who will remain anonymous for helping me greatly with this post (you know who you are) Three years ago a festschrift for Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri was published by Shubhra Chakrabarti, a history teacher at the University of Delhi and Utsa Patnaik, a Marxist economist who taught at JNU until 2010. One of the essays in the festschirt by Utsa Patnaik was an attempt to quantify the "drain" undergone by India during British Rule. Her conclusion? Britain robbed India of $45 trillion (or £9.2 trillion) during their 200 or so years of rule. This figure was immensely popular, and got republished in several major news outlets (here, here, here, here (they get the number wrong) and more recently here), got a mention from the Minister of External Affairs & returns 29,100 results on Google. There's also plenty of references to it here on Reddit. Patnaik is not the first to calculate such a figure. Angus Maddison thought it was £100 million, Simon Digby said £1 billion, Javier Estaban said £40 million see Roy (2019). The huge range of figures should set off some alarm bells. So how did Patnaik calculate this (shockingly large) figure? Well, even though I don't have access to the festschrift, she conveniently has written an article detailing her methodology here. Let's have a look.
How exactly did the British manage to diddle us and drain our wealth’ ? was the question that Basudev Chatterjee (later editor of a volume in the Towards Freedom project) had posed to me 50 years ago when we were fellow-students abroad.
This is begging the question.
After decades of research I find that using India’s commodity export surplus as the measure and applying an interest rate of 5%, the total drain from 1765 to 1938, compounded up to 2016, comes to £9.2 trillion; since $4.86 exchanged for £1 those days, this sum equals about $45 trillion.
This is completely meaningless. To understand why it's meaningless consider India's annual coconut exports. These are almost certainly a surplus but the surplus in trade is countered by the other country buying the product (indeed, by definition, trade surpluses contribute to the GDP of a nation which hardly plays into intuitive conceptualisations of drain). Furthermore, Dewey (2019) critiques the 5% interest rate.
She [Patnaik] consistently adopts statistical assumptions (such as compound interest at a rate of 5% per annum over centuries) that exaggerate the magnitude of the drain
The exact mechanism of drain, or transfers from India to Britain was quite simple.
Drain theory possessed the political merit of being easily grasped by a nation of peasants. [...] No other idea could arouse people than the thought that they were being taxed so that others in far off lands might live in comfort. [...] It was, therefore, inevitable that the drain theory became the main staple of nationalist political agitation during the Gandhian era.
The key factor was Britain’s control over our taxation revenues combined with control over India’s financial gold and forex earnings from its booming commodity export surplus with the world. Simply put, Britain used locally raised rupee tax revenues to pay for its net import of goods, a highly abnormal use of budgetary funds not seen in any sovereign country.
The issue with figures like these is they all make certain methodological assumptions that are impossible to prove. From Roy in Frankema et al. (2019):
the "drain theory" of Indian poverty cannot be tested with evidence, for several reasons. First, it rests on the counterfactual that any money saved on account of factor payments abroad would translate into domestic investment, which can never be proved. Second, it rests on "the primitive notion that all payments to foreigners are "drain"", that is, on the assumption that these payments did not contribute to domestic national income to the equivalent extent (Kumar 1985, 384; see also Chaudhuri 1968). Again, this cannot be tested. [...] Fourth, while British officers serving India did receive salaries that were many times that of the average income in India, a paper using cross-country data shows that colonies with better paid officers were governed better (Jones 2013).
Indeed, drain theory rests on some very weak foundations. This, in of itself, should be enough to dismiss any of the other figures that get thrown out. Nonetheless, I felt it would be a useful exercise to continue exploring Patnaik's take on drain theory.
The East India Company from 1765 onwards allocated every year up to one-third of Indian budgetary revenues net of collection costs, to buy a large volume of goods for direct import into Britain, far in excess of that country’s own needs.
So what's going on here? Well Roy (2019) explains it better:
Colonial India ran an export surplus, which, together with foreign investment, was used to pay for services purchased from Britain. These payments included interest on public debt, salaries, and pensions paid to government offcers who had come from Britain, salaries of managers and engineers, guaranteed profts paid to railway companies, and repatriated business profts. How do we know that any of these payments involved paying too much? The answer is we do not.
So what was really happening is the government was paying its workers for services (as well as guaranteeing profits - to promote investment - something the GoI does today Dalal (2019), and promoting business in India), and those workers were remitting some of that money to Britain. This is hardly a drain (unless, of course, Indian diaspora around the world today are "draining" it). In some cases, the remittances would take the form of goods (as described) see Chaudhuri (1983):
It is obvious that these debit items were financed through the export surplus on merchandise account, and later, when railway construction started on a large scale in India, through capital import. Until 1833 the East India Company followed a cumbersome method in remitting the annual home charges. This was to purchase export commodities in India out of revenue, which were then shipped to London and the proceeds from their sale handed over to the home treasury.
While Roy's earlier point argues better paid officers governed better, it is honestly impossible to say what part of the repatriated export surplus was a drain, and what was not. However calling all of it a drain is definitely misguided. It's worth noting that Patnaik seems to make no attempt to quantify the benefits of the Raj either, Dewey (2019)'s 2nd criticism:
she [Patnaik] consistently ignores research that would tend to cut the economic impact of the drain down to size, such as the work on the sources of investment during the industrial revolution (which shows that industrialisation was financed by the ploughed-back profits of industrialists) or the costs of empire school (which stresses the high price of imperial defence)
Since tropical goods were highly prized in other cold temperate countries which could never produce them, in effect these free goods represented international purchasing power for Britain which kept a part for its own use and re-exported the balance to other countries in Europe and North America against import of food grains, iron and other goods in which it was deficient.
Re-exports necessarily adds value to goods when the goods are processed and when the goods are transported. The country with the largest navy at the time would presumably be in very good stead to do the latter.
The British historians Phyllis Deane and WA Cole presented an incorrect estimate of Britain’s 18th-19th century trade volume, by leaving out re-exports completely. I found that by 1800 Britain’s total trade was 62% higher than their estimate, on applying the correct definition of trade including re-exports, that is used by the United Nations and by all other international organisations.
While interesting, and certainly expected for such an old book, re-exporting necessarily adds value to goods.
When the Crown took over from the Company, from 1861 a clever system was developed under which all of India’s financial gold and forex earnings from its fast-rising commodity export surplus with the world, was intercepted and appropriated by Britain. As before up to a third of India’s rising budgetary revenues was not spent domestically but was set aside as ‘expenditure abroad’.
So, what does this mean? Britain appropriated all of India's earnings, and then spent a third of it aboard? Not exactly. She is describing home charges see Roy (2019) again:
Some of the expenditures on defense and administration were made in sterling and went out of the country. This payment by the government was known as the Home Charges. For example, interest payment on loans raised to finance construction of railways and irrigation works, pensions paid to retired officers, and purchase of stores, were payments in sterling. [...] almost all money that the government paid abroad corresponded to the purchase of a service from abroad. [...] The balance of payments system that emerged after 1800 was based on standard business principles.India bought something and paid for it.State revenues were used to pay for wages of people hired abroad, pay for interest on loans raised abroad, and repatriation of profits on foreign investments coming into India. These were legitimate market transactions.
Indeed, if paying for what you buy is drain, then several billions of us are drained every day.
The Secretary of State for India in Council, based in London, invited foreign importers to deposit with him the payment (in gold, sterling and their own currencies) for their net imports from India, and these gold and forex payments disappeared into the yawning maw of the SoS’s account in the Bank of England.
It should be noted that India having two heads was beneficial, and encouraged investment per Roy (2019):
The fact that the India Office in London managed a part of the monetary system made India creditworthy, stabilized its currency, and encouraged foreign savers to put money into railways and private enterprise in India. Current research on the history of public debt shows that stable and large colonies found it easier to borrow abroad than independent economies because the investors trusted the guarantee of the colonist powers.
Against India’s net foreign earnings he issued bills, termed Council bills (CBs), to an equivalent rupee value. The rate (between gold-linked sterling and silver rupee) at which the bills were issued, was carefully adjusted to the last farthing, so that foreigners would never find it more profitable to ship financial gold as payment directly to Indians, compared to using the CB route. Foreign importers then sent the CBs by post or by telegraph to the export houses in India, that via the exchange banks were paid out of the budgeted provision of sums under ‘expenditure abroad’, and the exporters in turn paid the producers (peasants and artisans) from whom they sourced the goods.
Sunderland (2013) argues CBs had two main roles (and neither were part of a grand plot to keep gold out of India):
Council bills had two roles. They firstly promoted trade by handing the IO some control of the rate of exchange and allowing the exchange banks to remit funds to India and to hedge currency transaction risks. They also enabled the Indian government to transfer cash to England for the payment of its UK commitments.
The United Nations (1962) historical data for 1900 to 1960, show that for three decades up to 1928 (and very likely earlier too) India posted the second highest merchandise export surplus in the world, with USA in the first position. Not only were Indians deprived of every bit of the enormous international purchasing power they had earned over 175 years, even its rupee equivalent was not issued to them since not even the colonial government was credited with any part of India’s net gold and forex earnings against which it could issue rupees. The sleight-of-hand employed, namely ‘paying’ producers out of their own taxes, made India’s export surplus unrequited and constituted a tax-financed drain to the metropolis, as had been correctly pointed out by those highly insightful classical writers, Dadabhai Naoroji and RCDutt.
It doesn't appear that others appreciate their insight Roy (2019):
K. N. Chaudhuri rightly calls such practice ‘confused’ economics ‘coloured by political feelings’.
Surplus budgets to effect such heavy tax-financed transfers had a severe employment–reducing and income-deflating effect: mass consumption was squeezed in order to release export goods. Per capita annual foodgrains absorption in British India declined from 210 kg. during the period 1904-09, to 157 kg. during 1937-41, and to only 137 kg by 1946.
If even a part of its enormous foreign earnings had been credited to it and not entirely siphoned off, India could have imported modern technology to build up an industrial structure as Japan was doing.
This is, unfortunately, impossible to prove. Had the British not arrived in India, there is no clear indication that India would've united (this is arguably more plausible than the given counterfactual1). Had the British not arrived in India, there is no clear indication India would not have been nuked in WW2, much like Japan. Had the British not arrived in India, there is no clear indication India would not have been invaded by lizard people, much like Japan. The list continues eternally. Nevertheless, I will charitably examine the given counterfactual anyway. Did pre-colonial India have industrial potential? The answer is a resounding no. From Gupta (1980):
This article starts from the premise that while economic categories - the extent of commodity production, wage labour, monetarisation of the economy, etc - should be the basis for any analysis of the production relations of pre-British India, it is the nature of class struggles arising out of particular class alignments that finally gives the decisive twist to social change. Arguing on this premise, and analysing the available evidence, this article concludes that there was little potential for industrial revolution before the British arrived in India because, whatever might have been the character of economic categories of that period,the class relations had not sufficiently matured to develop productive forces and the required class struggle for a 'revolution' to take place.
Yet all of this did not amount to an economic situation comparable to that of western Europe on the eve of the industrial revolution. Her technology - in agriculture as well as manufacturers - had by and large been stagnant for centuries. [...] The weakness of the Indian economy in the mid-eighteenth century, as compared to pre-industrial Europe was not simply a matter of technology and commercial and industrial organization. No scientific or geographical revolution formed part of the eighteenth-century Indian's historical experience. [...] Spontaneous movement towards industrialisation is unlikely in such a situation.
So now we've established India did not have industrial potential, was India similar to Japan just before the Meiji era? The answer, yet again, unsurprisingly, is no. Japan's economic situation was not comparable to India's, which allowed for Japan to finance its revolution. From Yasuba (1986):
All in all, the Japanese standard of living may not have been much below the English standard of living before industrialization, and both of them may have been considerably higher than the Indian standard of living. We can no longer say that Japan started from a pathetically low economic level and achieved a rapid or even "miraculous" economic growth. Japan's per capita income was almost as high as in Western Europe before industrialization, and it was possible for Japan to produce surplus in the Meiji Period to finance private and public capital formation.
The circumstances that led to Meiji Japan were extremely unique. See Tomlinson (1985):
Most modern comparisons between India and Japan, written by either Indianists or Japanese specialists, stress instead that industrial growth in Meiji Japan was the product of unique features that were not reproducible elsewhere. [...] it is undoubtably true that Japan's progress to industrialization has been unique and unrepeatable
So there you have it. Unsubstantiated statistical assumptions, calling any number you can a drain & assuming a counterfactual for no good reason gets you this $45 trillion number. Hopefully that's enough to bury it in the ground. 1. Several authors have affirmed that Indian identity is a colonial artefact. For example seeRajan 1969:
Perhaps the single greatest and most enduring impact of British rule over India is that it created an Indian nation, in the modern political sense. After centuries of rule by different dynasties overparts of the Indian sub-continent, and after about 100 years of British rule, Indians ceased to be merely Bengalis, Maharashtrians,or Tamils, linguistically and culturally.
But then, it would be anachronistic to condemn eighteenth-century Indians, who served the British, as collaborators, when the notion of 'democratic' nationalism or of an Indian 'nation' did not then exist.[...]Indians who fought for them, differed from the Europeans in having a primary attachment to a non-belligerent religion, family and local chief, which was stronger than any identity they might have with a more remote prince or 'nation'.
Chakrabarti, Shubra & Patnaik, Utsa (2018). Agrarian and other histories: Essays for Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri. Colombia University Press Hickel, Jason (2018). How the British stole $45 trillion from India. The Guardian Bhuyan, Aroonim & Sharma, Krishan (2019). The Great Loot: How the British stole $45 trillion from India. Indiapost Monbiot, George (2020). English Landowners have stolen our rights. It is time to reclaim them. The Guardian Tsjeng, Zing (2020). How Britain Stole $45 trillion from India with trains | Empires of Dirt. Vice Chaudhury, Dipanjan (2019). British looted $45 trillion from India in today’s value: Jaishankar. The Economic Times Roy, Tirthankar (2019). How British rule changed India's economy: The Paradox of the Raj. Palgrave Macmillan Patnaik, Utsa (2018). How the British impoverished India. Hindustan Times Tuovila, Alicia (2019). Expenditure method. Investopedia Dewey, Clive (2019). Changing the guard: The dissolution of the nationalist–Marxist orthodoxy in the agrarian and agricultural history of India. The Indian Economic & Social History Review Chandra, Bipan et al. (1989). India's Struggle for Independence, 1857-1947. Penguin Books Frankema, Ewout & Booth, Anne (2019). Fiscal Capacity and the Colonial State in Asia and Africa, c. 1850-1960. Cambridge University Press Dalal, Sucheta (2019). IL&FS Controversy: Centre is Paying Up on Sovereign Guarantees to ADB, KfW for Group's Loan. TheWire Chaudhuri, K.N. (1983). X - Foreign Trade and Balance of Payments (1757–1947). Cambridge University Press Sunderland, David (2013). Financing the Raj: The City of London and Colonial India, 1858-1940. Boydell Press Dewey, Clive (1978). Patwari and Chaukidar: Subordinate officials and the reliability of India’s agricultural statistics. Athlone Press Smith, Lisa (2015). The great Indian calorie debate: Explaining rising undernourishment during India’s rapid economic growth. Food Policy Duh, Josephine & Spears, Dean (2016). Health and Hunger: Disease, Energy Needs, and the Indian Calorie Consumption Puzzle. The Economic Journal Vankatesh, P. et al. (2016). Relationship between Food Production and Consumption Diversity in India – Empirical Evidences from Cross Section Analysis. Agricultural Economics Research Review Gupta, Shaibal (1980). Potential of Industrial Revolution in Pre-British India. Economic and Political Weekly Raychaudhuri, Tapan (1983). I - The mid-eighteenth-century background. Cambridge University Press Yasuba, Yasukichi (1986). Standard of Living in Japan Before Industrialization: From what Level did Japan Begin? A Comment. The Journal of Economic History Tomblinson, B.R. (1985). Writing History Sideways: Lessons for Indian Economic Historians from Meiji Japan. Cambridge University Press Rajan, M.S. (1969). The Impact of British Rule in India. Journal of Contemporary History Bryant, G.J. (2000). Indigenous Mercenaries in the Service of European Imperialists: The Case of the Sepoys in the Early British Indian Army, 1750-1800. War in History
Creating a blog couldn’t be easier and yet more complicated in 2020. There are so many different things to think about, and yet so many different platforms you can use to streamline the process. Understandably you’ll already have an idea of what you want to write about, I, unfortunately, can’t help you with that, but what I can do is show you how you can set up a killer blog that will drive readers to your website. We’ll take you through what you’ll need to get started, our five steps to setting your blog up, the best blogging platforms to use, how to get your blog discovered, and the do’s and don’ts of blogging. But first, we need to establish what type of blog you want to set up.
What type of blog?
Firstly you’ll want to have a goal in mind. What are you aiming to achieve through your blog? Do you want to pull in more users to your sales pages by writing about your brand, to increase its publicity? Do you want to build a blog that promotes brands and products from other companies? Or do you just want to set up a blog documenting your travels around the world? In order to pick the right software for you, you’ll want to have a grasp before you start of how big this blog is going to be, whether you’re going to monetize it, and what type of blog it’s going to become. For example, if you’re planning on building an affiliate blogging programme, where you promote other brand’s products and call readers to action to but the products, you’ll be writing a lot of content and will benefit from having a more comprehensive blogging system with lots of plugins to promote sales. But if you’re looking to just set up a personal, or a personal brand blog talking about yourself and your brand, you may not perhaps need as many comprehensive features as you would if you were building an affiliate blog. You may also want to build an online portfolio of your work, which could require an entirely different piece of blogging kit, as opposed to the traditional blog that hosts articles and journals.
What you’ll need to get started.
There are 3 key things you’ll need to get up and running.
A blogging platform.
After you’ve identified the type of blog you want to set up, plus whether you’re going to make money from it, you’ll then need to pick a blogging platform tailored to your needs. Many people chose to operate on WordPress as it is one of the most comprehensive blogging systems going, but they forget platforms like Wix and Squarespace that are great for both helping you save and make money and are great options for those who are less tech-savvy and are new to the blogging game. Plus if you’re blogging for business, you might want to think about using LinkedIn for your business blog. We’ll go into more detail on what blogging platforms are best for your needs shortly, but make sure to keep in mind your objectives and technical experience when choosing the right platform for you.
A hosting platform.
Every website needs a web host to store their website’s information on the internet. A web host is an online service provider that will store your website’s information on one of its online servers. This will put your blog out there to the world. The best web hosts will perform a variety of functions for you, for example, Wix is an all-in-one package that will host your website for you, allow you to register a domain name, and has easy to use website design tools to help you start your blog. Web hosting can be expensive though so make sure you pick the best value for money host that can cater to the amount of traffic you have running through your website. Check out our post on the 11 best hosting providers. [Insert blog link here]
A domain name.
I’m sure by now you already know what sort of blog you want to set up, whether that’s a travel, blog, a blog accompanying your online store, or perhaps an affiliate marketing product review blog. You’ll have a niche and an idea and now all you need is a name. Every website online has what’s called a domain name. It’s included in the website address at the top of your search bar, for example, our domain name is www.digitalsupermarket.com. You’ll need to register a domain name after you purchase a hosting plan, to enable customers to find your site quickly and easily. One good tip is to find a hosting platform like Bluehost or GoDaddy that will provide you with a free domain name when you register for one of their web hosting plans as domain registration can be fairly pricey. Pick a great domain name that is easy for customers to read and type into Google so they can find it easier online. TOP TIP: To increase your blog’s search engine ranking, and to help more people find you on Google, try to pick a domain name that has either a .com or .co.uk ending. These domains often rank a lot higher in Google searches than .org’s, .net’s, and .info’s, and for that reason can be slightly more expensive, yet can help boost your site’s reach and credibility.
The Best Blogging Platforms For You.
There are a wealth of platforms out there catering to all your blogging or online portfolio needs. We have listed some of the main ones below shedding some light on what needs they service and why they might be a great option for you.
WordPress - The best software to give you full customisation.
WordPress is perhaps one of the most renowned blogging platforms in the world, running approximately 35% of the internet. It’s favoured highly by professional bloggers because it gives you total freedom to do whatever you want with your blog. WordPress can help you build your blog using one if its search engine optimised themes, you can customise using its drag and drop website builder tool to create a stunning blog. What’s more, is you’ll be able to use its professional blogging service to post your content online and take advantage of the hundreds of third party app plugins, you can integrate into your blog, to improve automation, add new features, and drive traffic to your site. The only downside of WordPress is that it can be quite technical and can take some time getting used to, but once you’ve got the hang of things, you’ll have great control over everything on your webpage. Pros: Cons:
Domain name registration
Tons of third-party plugins and apps
Technical and can take some getting used to
Not the best if you’re not tech-savvy or are just starting out.
Wix - Best for monetizing your site.
Wix is probably the most streamlined and easiest blog providers. It’s so simple and easy to use, it’s therefore great for anyone just starting out in the blogging world. You can customise one of its stunning templates with Wix’s drag and drop editor, and then upload blog posts to your site by slotting in pictures, gifs, social media buttons, sidebars, and other widgets that will help your blog stand out. One of the coolest features about Wix is its marketplace integration, where you can install a whole variety of third-party applications to your blog to provide your users with greater features and usability. Wix is the perfect all-in-one blogging solution to help you easily build a platform to amplify your business to the world, helping you to make more money, but it can also save you a lot of money as it’s cost-efficient plans roll up, web hosting, blog posting, and domain registration all into one product! Check out our Wix review and our comparison of Wix and Squarespace for a deep dive into Wix’s main blogging features. [Insert link here] Pros: Cons:
Streamlined and easy to use blogging software
Includes as a package, web building tools, domain registration, and web hosting
Tons of third-party plugins and apps on the Wix marketplace
Great platform to help make money and save money on its reasonably priced subscription plans
Don’t get the same full control as you see with WordPress
Locked into using Wix’s templates.
Squarespace - Best for creating visually stunning blogs.
Squarespace is very similar to Wix, in that it is an all-in-one web building and blogging platform that can help you build a blog you can monetize efficiently. It sets itself aside though through its better design and customisation features, making it one of the best platforms on the marketing if you’re looking to design a visually aesthetic blog. I’d recommend using this platform if you are a business operating in some sort of design, arts, or culinary industry. Although it offers minimal template options, Squarespace’s templates are works of art and offer you great customization when building your blog. Plus Squarespace offers a great blogging tool that lets you schedule posts and customize your blog to suit more mobile audiences. Pros: Cons:
Streamlined and easy to use blogging software
Can build a visually stunning blog on Squarespace with its streamlined tools
Excellent blogging features
All-in-one web host, domain registrar, and web builder
Can’t add third-party applications on Squarespace
LinkedIn - Best for blogging businesses.
Aside from setting up a blog on your own site, corporate entities can use LinkedIn to enhance and amplify their presence online. LinkedIn has more than 575 million users, most of whom are professionals and members of corporate conglomerates, and you can use this social platform to target some of the most influential people in the world. If you’re blogging about business this is the perfect platform to use a pre-existing community of people to enhance your social standing. You’ll then be able to build connections and followers on your profile who can easily share your blog on their platform through a couple of simple clicks. Pros: Cons:
Utilise LinkedIn’s pre-existing community of business people to amplify your brand
Target corporate directors and influential people directly through LinkedIn
Check out what people are looking at on LinkedIn and tailor your content to that market
Again you are confined within what LinkedIn’s platform will let you do, it’s not your site and you don’t have full customisation
Instagram - Best for the Artists.
Instagram is one of the biggest blogging sites in the world and without realising it, we are all technically bloggers in some way with our Instagram accounts, right? Ultimately for professional use, it is great for building a portfolio that has some form of visual or graphic eye-catching media around it. Instagram lets you post videos, photos, boomerangs, even write a blog in the photo’s caption if you wanted to! Best of all, Instagram is free, and you can use its business software to link up your online store, to drag users away from your profile, using its product tagging features, and land them in your online checkouts. Our top tip for using Instagram is to post regularly and keep on the theme of your blog. Don’t go off-piste as you’re followers will catch on quickly and unfollow you. And with 1 billion people using the platform each day, it is a great way to gain people’s attention and build your brand’s presence online. Pros: Cons:
Best for the creatives.
Totally free and easy to use interface.
Access to a pre-existing community of people.
Online selling capabilities.
Again you are confined within what Instagram’s platform will let you do, it’s not your site and you don’t have full customisation
The Do’s And Don’ts Of Blogging
Here are a couple of top tips to bear in mind when building your blog to help you create an awesome, lead driven platform.
Don’t use complicated language too soon.
With that in mind, do include language that your target audience will understand. But remember they are still here to learn, so don’t drop people in at the deep end right away by using complex jargon off the bat. Define terms and spell it out in layman’s terms for people at the outset, and as the post goes on, then introduce more complex writing. Introducing technical jargon at the start of your posts is an instant turn off for most readers.
Don’t waffle - Keep it succinct.
People want to get to the punchline now. 43% of people admit to skimming through blogs to get to the information they need, meaning to get your blogging site converting leads, you need to engage the reader early on and offer information succinctly throughout your post. Plus don’t make your blog too long. Depending on what you’re writing, a lot of people will see large volumes of text and will switch off immediately. There is no set limit for what a good and bad amount of text is, that’s something you’ll have to figure out per your industry, but from my experience, the shorter, the better.
Don’t make headlines too long.
Also ensure that your headline is not more than 60 characters long. If it gets too long it won’t rank well in search engines and people just won’t want to read it. Check out this headline analysis tool which will analyse the effectiveness of your proposed headlines.
Don’t plagiarise or use credited images.
Copying other people’s work is lazy and can land you in a lot of hot water in extreme cases if you breach a copyright regulation. But it’s also just unfair on the person who has worked hard or been creative to write that work. The same goes for images, people need to make a living from the content and photos they’re taking so don’t steal that off them.
Do write killer headlines.
People are like goldfish. You only have about 3 seconds to get their attention. That’s why it is important to write catchy, funny, and enticing headlines to draw your reader in. One good way to do it is to use the “How To” and “10 Best” strategies. These sorts of titles telling people ‘How to set up a blog’ or ‘the ten best web hosting platforms’ are search engine optimised, lead winning titles that rank highly in Google searches. Try them out and see!
Do post regularly.
The key to creating a great blog that builds leads is posting regularly. Although it is not the best idea to post regularly. Ideally, you want to post 3-4 times a week to get the best influx of traffic to your site. You’ll also want to check out when’s best to post for your target audience, for example, if you’re in the FOREX market, you’ll want to post your blogs perhaps at 8 AM, before the markets open when city workers are on their staring at their phones on their morning commuter trains to the city.
Do share on social media.
Share your content far and wide on your social platforms. Everyone is on social media these days and its outreach is simply phenomenal. That’s why you should always share your posts to your social channels to get greater traffic on your website, and include share buttons all-around your blog to invite your readers to share your articles too!
Do use SEO keywords to drive more traffic.
In a nutshell, SEO keywords are the phrases people put into search engines when they are looking for information on a certain subject. They are how you get found on your website. Depending on what you are writing about, there is always a set of keywords relating to that topic that you can implement, to help you show up higher in people’s google searches. For example, people might regularly search in google, ‘what is the best compost for growing sunflowers?’ When you come to writing about growing sunflowers in your blog, you might want to use these words or incorporate this question into your blog somewhere, to help you rank higher on Google.
Do use call’s to action to take your readers to the next step.
If you don’t challenge your reader at the end of your blog to follow you on Instagram, or check out your sales pages, you’ll never get the leads or sales you are looking for. With that in mind, build compelling calls to action at the end of each of your posts, to pull readers into taking the next step. Check out our post on landing pages to see a couple of cool ways on how to implement calls to action on your site [insert link here].
Do identify a target audience.
People will often tell you to write as though you were in the shoes of the person you’re looking to bring to your website, but it’s true! Identify what type of people you’re writing to, for instance, if you’re writing a business blog about FOREX trading, you’ll write with potential traders in mind who have one eye on the stock market and the other on your blog. Or if you’re a wedding florist, you’ll set your portfolio up to target those people looking to get married in the next year.
Leads, Sales, Results.
Blogging is one of the most influential marketing strategies in the world and the best bloggers can reap some awesome rewards for producing some truly awesome content. It is fairly straightforward to get started and we advise if you’re a small business, or someone with minimal blogging experience, to try out Wix or Squarespace first before you jump into using more technical platforms like WordPress. Once you’re up and running remember our top tips on what to do and what to avoid when writing your blog. Plus don’t forget to think about optimising and adding useful applications to your site to help you build and grow your content. Check out these 39 awesome blogging tools you can use to drive greater traffic to your site! Found this article useful? Make sure you share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter and let us know in the comments if you have any other useful blogging tips.
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