Last week I was given the opportunity to appear on the Dee Armstrong show to discuss blogging (click the hyperlink for the video). I figured I would do a follow up and elaborate on what I talked about on the show. Blogging 101, if you will. Read through to the bottom for some links to get you started!
Research: If you are thinking about starting a blog, but have no idea where to begin, like any project you’ve got to do some research first. Read other blogs then figure out what it is you want to write your blog about, how much you want to write, what style and format you want to write it in and whether or not you want to include media.
Consistency: Your blog posts should maintain a consistent theme, whether it be their topic, writing style or format. This is a way of keeping your blog organized so it doesn’t look like a jumbled mess. Don’t confuse your readers with a random discombobulated mixture of topics, styles and formats. They won’t come back and visit.
Frequency: Keep writing. It’s easy to feel like you’ve run out of ideas, but before you surrender to writer’s block remember that the longer you leave your blog without new posts, the quicker your readers will forget you exist. To remind them that you’re still here, you have to write and you have to write frequently.
Keywords: You want people to read your blog, so you’ve got to make it easy for them to find. Blogging improves your search ranking through inbound links and keyword optimization. Include keywords in your posts so that when people search those keywords, your blog will have more opportunities to be found.
Links: Including links in your blog posts makes them less two dimensional and more interactive. They also gives readers the opportunity to find out more about what you’re writing about. Use links strategically. Include them to cite a source or as an aid to explain your subject better.
Media: Similarly to links, media (images and video) add dimension to your blog posts. You can include media to help your readers better understand what you’re writing about and to give them a break from reading a bunch of text. If nothing else, for the sake of our continuingly shrinking attention span, add some pictures and videos.
More traffic: On average, businesses that blog drive at least 55 percent more traffic to their sites than non-blogging sites. Boom. What else is there to say?
Longer Shelf Life: Unlike a Facebook posting or a Tweet, which typically lasts only a few hours before they get lost in our news feeds, blog posts stay around until you delete them. People can continue to read your blog posts and find them via web searches.
Talk Yourself Up: Whether you’re blogging for your business or for personal branding purposes, use your blog posts as a way to justify. Think of blog posts as an opportunity to inform, defend, promote and brag. Talk yourself, or your business, up. Because no one can do it better than you can.
Control and Freedom: You are the blogging master and the ball is in your court. You control everything about your blog so use that control to your advantage. You decide the who, what, when, where, why and how of your blog posts.
FREE: You can’t afford not to blog. What have you got to lose? Blogging is a completely free way to create more content for your website, and in turn, creating more reasons for people to visit your site.
Good resources for folks just starting out:
Blogger: Blogger is Google's blogging platform. You can sign-in with your gmail account and setup is a breeze. There are tons of free templates and plenty of tutorial content to at least get you up and running.
Tumblr: Tumblr is a fabulous platform for folks that want to have a more image-driven blog, or are looking to put up short, inspirational passages. Tumblr is somewhere in between Twitter and full-blown blog and is very popular amongst the college set and below, as well as the tech and design community.
Wordpress: Verge Pipe Media builds most of our blogs on Wordpress. WP is the most flexible and powerful of the bunch as far as customization goes, but it still maintains a degree of layman accessibility.
SEO & Analytics Tools: the key to effective blogging is to understand your audience, how you get traffic and serve your business needs. We encourage folks to be conscious of where your visitors are coming from, how long they are staying and what attracts their attention will help you hone that strategy over time. Google Analytics is free and, of course, Verge Pipe Media is always a phone call or quick email away if / when you are ready to get serious about drafting a strategy!
Article by: Elizabeth Weeks, Client Relations || firstname.lastname@example.org