If you’re reading this, you know that blogging works.
Like anything else, though, there’s a good way to blog, and a great way to blog.
These four tips will ensure your bloggerly success.
1. Maximize your blog's SEO.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization—which determines how high up your site appears on any given list of search engine results. The higher up you are on the list, the more likely your blog is to be read. (It’s basically like Google giving you the stamp of pre-reader approval.)
To maximize SEO, focus each blog entry on a single keyword or phrase. Use the keyword often and strategically: specifically in the entry’s title, first paragraph, and in at least one subhead (H2). If you’re using a blogging platform (like Wordpress or Squarespace) that allows you to edit the entry’s URL, meta-description, and image alt-tags, consider using the keyword/phrase there, too.
2. Use images in your blog.
Let’s face it: we live in a flashy, visual, ad and social media-driven world. Images grab attention and help break up otherwise long, dry blocks of text. Key to populating your blog with images is making sure you have permission to use them. Source free images in the Creative Commons (and available for commercial use) from sites like canva.com and pixabay.com. Pay for higher-quality stock photos from sites like istock.com. Better yet, hire your professional photographer friend to shoot some images for you and support local small business in the process!
Without going into too much detail, let me just reiterate: permissions are super important. Once upon a time, I thought it was enough to credit the source(s) of the images on my blog. It’s not.
3. Vary your blog post types.
Begin each entry with an unusual fact, a quote, an anecdote, a question, or a joke. These “attention-grabbing openers” resonate with audiences, capturing and maintaining interest. Maybe one of these ‘micro-stories’ is enough, and then you can dive into the meat of the entry; or maybe the story is the entry. Try mixing it up with op-eds, reviews, lists, announcements, educational pieces, tutorials, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways.
4. Get your blog out there.
No blog functions in isolation. While yes, some readers will inevitably stumble upon a well-SEO’d blog entry, you can boost your numbers by disseminating your blog yourself. Post it on Facebook with a call to action. Send a digest in your next e-newsletter. Keep your entries short and reader-friendly (300-750 words is ideal), and always post on the same time/day of the week or month, so readers know when and where to find you.