Blogging Best Practices
Have you ever had the experience of doing your best work – a really outstanding job – and then realized that no one was there to see it?
Writing a blog is only part of the online publishing experience. In order to get the most impact from your blog you’ll have to optimize it. Taking these steps before you hit that publish button is worth the additional effort. The results are:
- Better online search results
- Greater exposure to your intended audience
- Higher levels of interaction
- More highly qualified prospects
Optimization is like dressing up for a party. The content is the same but it’s attractive to the eye and stands out a little more. It helps readers find you and interact with your content more easily.
1. Is Your Headline a Green Light or a Red Light?
Most readers will decide to read, or not read, your post based solely on the headline. The best headlines:
- Contain numbers
- Teach (How to, Why, Insider tips, etc.)
- Use convincing language
- Include a benefit to the reader
A good headline is to-the-point, clear and interesting, but your headline also needs to attract search engines. To do that, include keywords that are related to your blog topic. Which words and phrases do consumers use when searching for information on the subject you are writing about?
Resist the impulse to create a headline that many people will click on, but that has nothing to do with your topic. Implying that you are friends with Taylor Swift, Steph Curry or Bob Weir (for the three people who know who that is) – when the story really has nothing to do with them – will actually cause Google and others to downgrade your ranking.
2. Layout is as Important as Writing Well
- People tend to skim before they read.
- Bullet points are effective for retention and easy on the eyes.
- Write in short sentences.
- Readability is a Google ranking factor.
- Write appropriately for your audience.
- Keep it simple – use one- or two-syllable words when possible.
- The same goes for paragraphs — keep them short for readability.
3. Link to Additional Value
Embedded links in your content provide access to additional information that helps readers gather more knowledge on the topic you’re writing about. It’s like getting a surprise bonus. It reminds new and returning readers that you have in-depth knowledge. If you have previously written about a subject that is relevant to the current blog, guide them to those former posts. Links to your content and links to additional content boost your online authority.
4. Help Your Readers
Ask them to share. Placing social media icons or share buttons on your blog page allows readers to easily share your post. Ask your readers to share your content with their colleagues and connections. Bloggers that ask readers to share their content get more shares than those that don’t.
Sites with social sharing buttons generate up to 7 times more mentions.
Your readers may want to ask questions or get more information. Make it easy for them to interact with you and your audience. Invite readers to comment in an area set up specifically for feedback.
Meet Them Where They Are
People want to consume your blog on their terms, at their convenience on the device of their choice. That means your website and blog design must be “responsive” so that it looks as good on a phone or tablet as it does on a desktop.
5. Use Visuals
Well-placed graphics keep readers interested and help deliver your story in a memorable way. Images also boost your search results. Images bring your words to life. Appropriate graphs, photos, and infographics add to the reading (and skimming) experience. Images break up large blocks of text and give a reader’s eyes a well-deserved rest.
6. Have a Call To Action (CTA)
The goal of your post and your job as a writer is to move your reader to action. You should be constantly asking yourself:
“What action do I want my reader to take as a result of consuming this content?”
Whether it is to simply have them comment on your point of view, or fill out a form, or visit your website, every post and every web page should be created with a specific action-oriented purpose in mind. Placing a well-designed call to action within your blog leads readers to the next logical step.
When your readers are ready for more information, your call to action helps them along their journey. It’s a sensible way to sum up their blog experience in a way that educates and supports your customers. Every additional step your readers take is measurable. Collecting and analyzing the data helps you make future decisions about what type of content to offer.
This is Part II of a series, to view Part I click here.
Showcase Your Work
Do you know what attracts people to your blog? Are your most popular blog posts the result of particular keywords, or specific topics, or headlines, or promotional offers that you make? Over time, patterns will emerge. It’s up to you to measure and compare the results.
Optimizing your posts ensures that your best work gets the attention it deserves. Like many areas of marketing, optimization requires a strategic, proactive, approach. Through experimentation, testing and changes over time you’ll learn what resonates with your audience.
What have you found helpful when optimizing your posts? Let us know in the Comments section below. A real person reads and responds to all comments.
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At Crest, we help companies
- Create content that separates them from their competition
- Become subject matter experts in their field
- Measure the effectiveness of their marketing $$
- Generate a consistent pipeline of high-quality leads for less
- Turn clients into evangelists