I’m about to start blogging. What should I do?
Firstly, set goals. Your blog goals can be centred around number of views, posts, comments as well as growth in writing quality and experience. In addition to your goals it pays to be very clear why you are writing. The “why” will keep you motivated even when it seems like no one is reading your great work. Check out Simon Sinek’s Start with Why to discover your “why” factor.
Secondly, create a list of content/post ideas that you can tackle further down the track. Much like you might plan out writing a book, list the topics that you wish to cover. Write some content before you “go live” so you avoid the awkwardness of luring in readers with your first post but leaving them hanging with nowhere to go.
Here are eight blogging tips to get you started.
I’m not a great writer but can I blog anyway?
Technically, yes you can – anyone can and there are a plenty of horrendous writers with famous blogs. But if you’re intending to create a text heavy blog (as opposed to images or a vlog) I would cock an eyebrow and ask why you aren’t interested in being a great writer first and foremost? Your SEO will be disadvantaged with poor writing and your audience will give up on you if they don’t understand your message or you’re not doing the topic any justice.
Read: grammar for blogging.
I’ve been blogging for a few months, what should I do now?
Refer back to your goals. Are you on track? Do any of your goals need to be revised or shifted?
Conduct a thorough self review of the following areas:
Which is more important – writing or promoting your writing?
It’s certainly a delicate balance between the actual writing and promoting yourself. Unfortunately, (or fortunately) this is the double edged sword of being a writer these days. If you are interested in pursuing professional writing as a career, I would recommend that this is part of your learning experience. In short: do both if you can! But not at the sacrifice of your writing.
The best thing you can do is keep blogging – consistently and frequently. It’s something that will build over time, not an overnight thing.
How can I promote my blog on Twitter?
Although Twitter may not be the most effective tool for brands, it still hosts a lot of readers and writers. To really reel in the reader, you have to craft really short (less than 140 characters) lead lines that make people want to click on your link. This can be tricky but fun. Take a look at Why your business writing is probably crap.
If you want to tweet an annotated screenshot, read this article from the New York Times.
Make sure you know where your readership are. If you’re writing about building muscle and weight lifting, your audience are likely to be in topic specific Facebook groups or online forums. If you’re trying to connect to a more corporate audience, then Linkedin is your way forward. Find your target demographic here.
And importantly, don't forget to set up an email list and campaign to help promote your blog posts.
No one is reading my blog posts. Is blogging really worth it?
It depends on your goals and desired outcomes but almost invariably the answer is yes! Keep writing! Keep blogging and experimenting with promotion until you find the thing that work for you. Blogging, like any writing or micro business is a long term investment, so consistency and dedication are the key attributes that you can apply.
Here are some useful articles on building an audience:
Do I need to include pictures on my blog?
Yes! It helps with SEO and attracts eyes when promoting via your social media platforms.
Blog Tyrant sums it up really well below:
‘At a minimum, you want to be part of a quality stock photo site that allows you to use photos on your site with an attribution license. I use Dreamstime for any stock photos but an even better option is to take your own photos, make your own images, or have a professional do it – that really sets you apart from the rest.
Visual content has been growing for years and it appears to be speeding up, not slowing down. We now have retina display tablets and our smartphones are getting bigger. Social networking sites like Facebook and Google+ are favoring images and videos over text – never mind sites like Pinterest which are totally based around photos!’
Remember that using your own content and royalty free stock images prevent any copyright issues. Don’t pull a Marie Claire and share an image with proper attribution or permission!
Need more help? Check out How to start a blog here.
If you have a question not answered here, please feel free to pop it in the comments section below or leave a link to your blog so we can have a read!
If you want anyone to find you through an organic search on the web and want optimal reach, it’s not enough to have a great website; you need to employ SEO tactics even if you only start with the basics.
Incorporating effective SEO techniques is a precarious balance between pleasing the robots and pleasing the people. I’ve always thought our modern world would come to this!
Following on from my post How to top Google’s search results here are some additional tips to that you can easily implement over a weekend to vastly improve how people find your site.
'Successful SEO is not about tricking Google. It’s about partnering with Google to provide the best search results for Google’s users,' Phil Frost, Main Street ROI.
According to Raven Tools, 78% of all SEO issues are related to images.
Include images where possible. An image or two per blog post and page is not only visually appealing but will help the bots that crawl your site and see how user friendly your site is.
Ensure all images are labelled/named clearly and relevant to your text and insert a suitable keyword or phrase into “alt text” section. Keep images at a reasonable size so it doesn’t hamper website loading time.
Google has even told us that it factors in site loading speed into how your site ranks.
‘You may have heard that here at Google, we’re obsessed with speed in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed.’
Keep the image size between 100kb and 400kb and your site needs to load within one to two seconds or you have potentially lost most of your site visitors. Sorry to be the one to tell you that. Check your site load speed here.
As you can see from this image, I’ve got a bucket load of work to do to get mine up to scratch. Another item for my “to do” list.
Write terrific content
Make sure it is written well (as if you were a journalist or professional writer). That means that sentences should be cohesive and not "waffley". Standard writing best practices apply throughout your whole website, from blog posts to static web copy to behind the scenes in your meta data description. Maybe now you finally have a legitimate excuse to sign up for those writing classes you always wanted to take?
Spelling and grammar should be faultless. Believe it or not, Google now judges you based on your grammar and spelling (Hallelujah, the writers cry). This pleases me as we’re seeing a lot more credible and well written content on the web, rather than just anyone with a blog and some time on their hands.
Ensure your meta descriptions are up to date, well written and contain your keyword/s. Each web page values from having its own meta data descriptions written well, not forgetting they have to be interesting enough for someone to want to click through to your website, when they read the short blurb on Google. Put simply, these descriptions will need a sales flair that entices people to click, without sacrificing good writing and sentence structure.
SEO leaders, Moz, provide a clear definition of what meta descriptions are:
'Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that provide concise summaries of webpages. They commonly appear underneath the blue clickable links in a search engine results page (SERP).'
Write compelling and keyword rich meta data descriptions. Make sure the meta data description reads really well and has a sales flair that entices people to click, without sacrificing good writing and sentence structure.
And of course, we’ve discussed that it’s imperative to keep your content fresh. You need to be posting new content super regularly (ideally, more than once a week) to appease the spiders.
Stay tuned as this post will be updated regularly with more helpful SEO information.
You may also like to have a look at online writing.