New to blogging? Confused about what makes a good blog?
It has recently been brought to my attention that the process of blogging is not as intuitive or easy as others who are more experienced may make it seem. How do you know if you have written a good post? What are the 'need to have' elements to incorporate? How can you improve the chances of your blog being read? There are many more questions of course; and I hope this blog post will go someway to answering some of them. I have written the post in the form of a checklist; if you can say yes to all of them then you have every reason to believe you have written a great post!
1 Have you crafted a great headline?
The headline of your post is perhaps the most important element of your entire post, as it is the invitation to read on. The more enticing the invitation, the greater your chances of your post being read. Effective headlines will come in the form of (usually) a "how to" post, eg " How to submit your Blog to the Main Search Engines"; a useful resources listing, eg" 50 free SEO resources to have in Your Little Black Book" or statements, eg " 5 things David Beckham can Teach You about Adversity". An emotional hook also works well – whereby you identify an emotional (usually painful) trigger with a suggestion of a solution. It goes without saying that you will need to include your main keywords in the title of your post to increase its visibility to the search engines.
2. Have you researched the relevant keywords?
We have written quite a bit about the importance of keywords; they are the bedrock of any internet marketing strategy. If you are a small business new to Internet Marketing, you should head on down to Google's free Keyword tool to research the related keywords that most people use. Not only is this of value from an SEO perspective, but it will make your post more accessible to visitors. In example, you might be writing a post about "charities for children". Should you call this " childrens' charities" or " charities for children"? Here is where Google's free keyword tool can help; for example by helping you select the keywords with the highest search volumes, or alternative keywords to use in the post.
3. Have you researched the post fully?
Do you need to add more paragraphs or explain concepts more fully? Once you have completed your post, critically determine whether or not you will need to add extra content or even delete redundant paragraphs. Having your post as "complete" as possible will help you increase your chances of generting more backlinks from other sites. Imagine, for example, you are writing a post about business develoment. You will need to discuss targeting accounts, understanding the contexts of those accounts, developing a plan, implementing the plan and reviewing the plan. You will need to include examples, and perhaps case studies. These are just some of the aspects you could include making your post much more useful to your potential readers.
4. Have you linked back to your older posts?
Decrease the "bounce rate" of your site by giving your visitors valid reasons to remain on your site. By linking to older posts within your blog's archives you will help your visitors explore your content and expand on information they have just recieved. Linking to older posts is also a good way of getting your blog get "crawled" more effectively by the search engine bots. Make a list of all your blog posts so you have them to hand and select the ones you want to link to. Make sure you use keyworded anchor texts too, again to improve your SEO.
5. Can you link out?
There seems to be an inexplicable fear about linking out to other websites. This fear is related to the concern about losing PageRank, but I have it on pretty good authority that this will not be the case. Indeed linking out to relevant sites is good practice!
6.Have you included a good image to accompany your content?
Not only do images make a blog post look more inviting, they can also help with your SEO and bring in traffic from Google search. If you are a small business new to internet marketing, there are plenty of free image sites that you can use , under the creative commons licence. It is of course vital to link back to the original source of the image. Read this post to check out the image libraries I use for this blog.
7.Have you credited your sources?
If you have used information from other websites, or repeated the opinion of someone else on a topic, make sure you link back to the source. There are several authority blogs that I take inspiration from, such as Jeffbullas.com, and Searchengineland.com, and will make sure I link back to these blogs where appropriate.
8. Have you read your post after writing it?
Have you checked your content for style and grammar? Do your arguments make sense? Do you introduce the reader nicely into the subject of the post, and do you end with a form of conclusion? If possible, ask someone else to read your post too as another pair of eyes on a subject can be invaluable.
9. Are all your links fully functioning?
Nothing will be more frustrating for your visitors than a link which doesn't work. I suggest installing WordPress' broken link checker or another tool such as Xenu Sleuth's broken link tool to highlight any broken links that exist. All it takes is a tiny omission in a link to render it broken, such as an extra dot or letter. Double check the links by clicking on the and making sure they will take your reader to the correct destination. In addition, set your links to open in a blank window so they can remain on your site.
10. Have you included a call to action?
The most common reason for starting a blog is to develop a community of like minded people around it. To do this you will need to have engaging content of course, but give yourself a reason to engage. This could be asking them a question on the subject you have written on for example, or a survey to complete. You can use the information you get back in another post too, and so the conversation can continue.
What are the other elements you feel are vital to turn your blog into a masterpiece? Write in and let us know – use our contact form and we will get back to you straight away!
Image Credit: www.flickr.com/photos/mariareyesmcdavis
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