You can’t type in a query without being faced with a wall of blogs. Whether they are official company thoughts (sales pitches), fashion icon musings, or personal rants about the intricacies of the Hunger Games saga, everyone has something to say. In 2012, the likelihood of most of the people reading this article has their own blog, or contributes to a blog, is very great.
Gone are the days of primitive blogging on Open Diary, Xanga, Type Pad, and Live Journal. Once reserved for turn of the century Internet geeks, blogs are so commonplace that addresses are linked in e-mail signatures and printed on business cards. Today’s blogs live on Web 2.0 with customizable WordPress sites and hip, easy to share Tumblr.
Aside from personal expression, the past 10 years has proven that blogs are vital pieces of a marketing strategy, as well as content beacons of SEO light.
With all the personal and industry shouting it’s more imperative than ever to distinguish your blogging voice, and more importantly, BE FOUND amongst the blog-crowded search results page.
Here are a 13 tips and tools you need to follow in order to have a successful, shareable and searchable blog in today’s competitive content world.
- Use WordPress.
It’s awesome and it is free!
- Write a title for robots and humans alike.
Don’t write discriminating titles! Make sure to write a title rich in both SEO value and user experience. Be certain that Google spiders can clearly read and understand the blog’s title and intent by including well researched relevant keywords. At the same time, use attention grabbing headline language for your more complex human audience.
- Add share buttons.
If you are using WordPress as instructed, you have access to excellent Trackable Social Share Icons! The fastest way to let content go stale is to limit its mobility. Give your blog entry a fighting chance at staying alive with the addition of easy social sharing buttons.
- Get Analytics.
How will you be able to enjoy the fruits of your blogging labor, if you have no idea what they are? Get a Google Analytics account, install and then add the Google Analytics Dashboard plugin. If you have problems installing the Google Analytics tracking, use Google Analytics for WordPress plugin. Gauge traffic and user interaction to adjust your content strategy.
- Install WordPress SEO plugin from Yoast.
Making sure every single blog entry is optimized is super tedious. Simplify your workload with easy to control basic (and some advanced) SEO considerations. Don’t rely 100 percent on the defaults.
- Link out to authoritative sites.
Link bait is old school SEO; it’s all about shares, not links. Not to mention, a bunch of bad links could lead to major easily avoidable penalties. Limit your external links from authoritative sites to only where it makes sense within the content. Keep the frequency of links in general to a minimum and make sure any linking is relevant to your users and provides a better user experience overall.
- Install W3 Total Cache plugin.
This will make sure you keep your blog up to speed.
- Create categories that make sense.
Categorizing your posts is crucial to having an optimized site. Make life easier for those robots. It may seem redundant to the user experience to construct obvious topic sections in your site, but in all reality it will make organizing your content easier on users and search engine spiders. Don’t rely on tagging, as it’s fickle and can create duplicate content issues.
- Never keep the default on Permalinks.
The Yoast plugin will remind you to change this. The default might be great for geeks who understand code, but http://www.yourdomain.com/?p=22 doesn’t really tell robots or users what the heck the blog entry is about.
- Include static pages.
The standard “about me” can be augmented with “what I’ve done,” “contact me,” etc. It makes the site more engaging and gives Google additional ‘meat’ in understanding who and what the site is all about.
- Give yourself a little credit.
Google is all about awarding credit to authors of original content, so make certain you add a link to your Google+ account. Author Box After Posts plugin is a good start to your fifteen minutes of Internet fame.
- Post frequently.
Most people know this one already, but very few can put it into practice long term. Keep your content fresh by creating a schedule and sticking to it! Google rewards fresh content, so adding 3-5 posts a week (or more… don’t be shy) can really help increase rankings and traffic.
- Become the expert you are.
Online media consumers are savvy as ever, which means they can see right through fraudulent nonsense lacking factual evidence. Research, interview, and encourage guest bloggers. Dominate your niche by being the authority. If your blog is more personal, use to promote “you the brand”. Be authentic, transparent, honest, and respond to comments.
There’s no need to sugar coat this, it’s a lot of work to maintain a successful blog at any level of following. However if you adhere to these tips, and use the recommended tools, you will have a thriving blog that is both shareable and searchable.