In the years when the internet was just beginning to rise in popularity, blogging was generally seen as an outlet people use to express themselves. Over the years, however, blogging has become less of a past-time and more of a business opportunity for most.
Online marketing has become indispensable both for small-time entrepreneurs and large-scale businesses.
A blog is essential for any business website. It gives you a direct connection with your audience. Your blog is also a great way to roll-out company-related updates that matter to your customers.
The competition is becoming tougher and tougher every day though. As a blogger, you have to constantly find new and effective ways to enhance your blog content if you want to remain relevant in your niche. And the same thing applies when you starting a blog.
Moreover, you simply have to avoid doing things that kill your blog. So how do you ensure that your blog is competitive enough?
1. Focus on your business goals
Just because an idea sounds good for you doesn’t mean it’s good for your business as well.
So that you don’t get sidetracked, always consider your blog’s goals. Remember that the goal of your blog is to help grow your business. Avoid posting anything that is not in line with your industry, no matter how hot or trending the topic is.
2. Make your posts are easy to read
How good a writer you are doesn’t change the fact that people on the internet have very short attention spans.
And this needs to be said: not everyone will read your entire post.
People won’t care about who you are as a writer. No. What’s they’ll care about is if you can offer something new to them. Or if you can teach them a better, more profitable way of doing something. You get the drift.
3. Write about specific, high-quality topics
Oftentimes, when pooling for blog ideas, you could run into topics that are popularly discussed. But it’s quite easy to fall into the trap of tackling a topic that’s too broad.
As a blogger though, it will be a tough job to discuss broad topics because of all the details involved. It’s doable, but it will be a painfully difficult process.
As a rule, it’s better to be specific with your titles for the topics you plan to write about. Not only will this make it easier for you to write, it will also be more enticing to your readers.
Hubspot’s Corey Wainwright says that in deciding what to write about, you first need to know the difference between a topic and a working title. Basically, she says, a topic is general and can lead to lots of different titles and blog posts. A working title, on the other hand, is specific and will guide you to create one single blog post.
Then, Corey lists these 4 simple and effective tips in choosing a solid topic for writing:
- Ask yourself what the goal of the post is
- Figure out which of your posts have successfully driven traffic to your blog and how you achieved it
- Research for SEO-friendly topics
- Be specific about the topic to help you generate a working title
4. Back your information with data and statistics, then link to the proper sources
People, in general, want to read about tips and practical advice instead of facts and figures.
Still, solid data and statistics linked to credible sources give your posts more authority.
Data-driven content is effective in catching people’s attention and convincing them to take action on an issue.
- Hubspot Research
- Pew Research Center
5. Do NOT plagiarize. EVER.
ICYMI, plagiarism is a crime. It’s one of the worst mistakes a writer could ever commit. I get that it’s easy to do the old copy-paste trick. Trust me when I say it will not only fail to get you where you want, it would also hurt your blog exponentially.
Google could penalize you if you’re caught stealing other people’s work. This could deal a huge blow in your blog’s growth.
Ranking back up after such heavy penalization could take months or more. Aside from that, it would also invalidate all of the legitimate hard work you’ve put into your blog.
There are times, admittedly, when you’re not aware that you’ve actually plagiarized. For example, you come by certain data and it just sticks to your head.
After some time, while writing on a related topic, the words come to your mind and you unconsciously think that the idea yours. It’s a thing, and it actually happens.
Just to be sure, before submitting or publishing your work, run it through reliable plagiarism checking tools.
Some you can use are:
- Copyscape – high reliability, used by most writers and editors
- Duplichecker – free, but not as streamlined as Copyscape. You also need to register for an account to use
- Grammarly – highly popular, mostly used for clearing up writing errors but built-in plagiarism checker is also effective
When using direct quotes, never forget to clearly state the source and then link to it if possible.
6. Blog regularly and consistently
One of the biggest factors affecting how much traffic your website gets is how consistent you are at posting on your blog.
You have to set a posting routine that you and your readers can get used to. For example, you started out by publishing 3 to 5 posts every day for your first week. What you have to ensure next is that you publish the same number at approximately the same time every week from there forward.
This will help your readers know when to expect your posts and avoid confusing them.
7. Promote your content
Statistics show that there are an estimated 2.46 billion people on social media as of 2017. To overlook that fact and not promote your blog on social networking sites would be a huge misstep.
Social media is a rich platform to get attention and direct people to your blog.
More than just getting people to read your content, the ultimate goal is to turn those visitors into subscribers and eventually into customers.
Facebook still remains the most popular social network worldwide, however, Instagram is the one that is getting bigger the most from all.
Research and explore opportunities to use that to your advantage. When it comes to Instagram, it’s a good idea to cooperate with influencers.
8. Optimize your keywords
Keywords are an absolute necessity for on-page SEO. Research on tools and techniques to find out what and how people are searching for online.
Determining trending keywords by using various tools and techniques is a good way to start.
Google Keyword Planner, KWFinder, SEMrush, and Ahrefs offer tools for finding the right keywords that best fit your topic. Some of them even give you an insight as to what words and phrases your competitors are targeting to generate traffic.
Next, use those keywords throughout your blog and content. Just make sure that you use them in a comfortable and natural manner though. You don’t want to be penalized for keyword stuffing.
For optimum effectiveness, try and include your keywords in these places:
- Headings or subheadings
- Introductory sentence
- Anchor texts
- Title tags and meta descriptions
At the same time, you also have to be careful with your tags. Mistakes when creating title tags are bad for SEO and adversely affect your rankings.
9. Be consistent with internal links
When it comes to link building techniques, consistency is king. Overlooking internal links can have consequences that will backfire on your SEO rankings.
Although backlinks still have the highest significance for search engine ranking, strategic internal linking can amplify their effect.
- Have at least 3 to 5 internal links for every single blog post
- Create a drop-down or navigation menu to make it easier for users and search engines to reach deep links.
- Determine which of your internal links have the most authority and get the most traffic. Place internal links on these and other posts of high value to further distribute authority throughout your blog.
- Always have a sitemap. This ensures better search engine crawling and indexing. Prior to that, however, make sure that your URLs are keyword-optimized and clean.
- Optimize anchor texts to better drive readers to linked web pages. For greater ranking for multiple search queries, make sure to choose unique anchor text phrases over time.
10. Optimize images and videos
Eye-catching and share-worthy images and videos are one good way to drive traffic to your blog. They make your posts a lot more interesting and help you explain data and concepts better. Plus, they make it easier for you to get more attention on social media because of the easy-sharing factor.
Nonetheless, images and videos that are not optimized do tend to slow down your page load speed. This is detrimental to you as studies have proven that an alarming 40% of users will leave a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
So how do you optimize your images and videos?
- Filename – rename the file into something that’s informative and describes the image accurately.
- File size – remember that the size of the file (in bytes) matters more than the actual dimensions of the image. Research on tools, software or plugins that you can use to reduce your file’s byte size while not affecting the quality of the image negatively.
- Image caption and titles – provide descriptive titles and captions when you post your images. The Search engine will use these to better determine the topic or subject of your image.
- Alt text – Alternative texts. Text browsers and other web user agents that are not able to view images use these to know what your image is about. This article from ThoughtCo paints a pretty good image of an excellent alt text.
- Image position – it’s much more preferable to position your image closer to the top to make it easier for search engines to detect them. Again, emphasis on proper titles, captions and alt text.
- Ensure that you equip your videos with meaningful titles and descriptions. Set unique titles and descriptions for all videos that you post.
- Video thumbnails should be at least 160×90 in size.
- Create a dedicated page or category for your videos. Make sure that the videos are properly indexed on your sitemap.
- It’s also important to check your robots.txt. Make sure that your videos are accessible to Google.
- Visual elements such as videos and images have a big impact on your SEO. For that reason, taking time and effort to optimize them is definitely worth the benefits.
To recap, these are the ten tips you should always remember when blogging.
- Keep your goals in mind
- Make sure your posts are legible
- Choose specific working titles instead of taking general topics
- Back your arguments with data and statistics linked to reliable sources
- NEVER plagiarize
- Post at regular and consistent times
- Use social media to promote your content
- Optimize your keywords
- Optimize your links
- Optimize images and videos
Time, research and experience are the best teachers. Always be on the lookout for tips, tricks, and techniques that you can use to be a better blogger. There’s always something new out there that you can use.
Blogging is no easy-peasy walk in the park. Still, how strictly you adhere to these guidelines affects how blogging grows your business. When in doubt, always go back to your business goal. It will always lead you to the right direction.