Effective blogs have good traffic, great content, and in many cases, make good money. But it all starts with getting good traffic to the blog. Yes, sometimes readership will come if we write for long enough, but creating good habits in blog producing will help your blog be found online, be more relevant for monetizing purposes, and be more attractive for readers. Here are 16 tips for writing better blogs.
- Know your niche and have a goal. Your readers are there for a reason. The better positioned you are in the mind of the reader, the more likely they will know what to expect from you and go back to your blog. Your blog should have a good reason for existing and your content should be written around it. Sure, sometimes you want to write about something out of the ordinary, but make this the exception, not the rule.
- Tell a good story. Resonate on an emotional level with your audience and remember that narrative writing is powerful. However, make your content easy to digest by adding titles, bulleted lists, bold font, pictures, and even video.
- Be in the lookout for great content. Seek Out Ideas, Trends, Questions, Visuals to keep your blog posts relevant. Google Trends is a good place to see how particular searches change over time. For example type “Healthy Meals” on Google Trends and you will see how this term has changed over the years. Many times, bloggers stay focused on what’s on their mind, and forget that their readers have expectations. Be in the lookout for relevant material, which means, get out of your bubble and watch out for good content.
- Don’t ignore SEO. Title tags are the one of the most important elements on blogs, or any web content for that matter. Still, when looking at the most popular blogs in San Diego, for example, I found many bloggers who do not use the title tag to optimize their blog. Many bloggers are still making the mistake of leaving title tags to be auto-generated, either from the post name, or from the category, etc . Override title tags w/ custom one (“SEO Title Tag” WordPress plugin). You should think about the title tag and write the title tag that you want the search engine to index. Description tags are just as important since they can display on search results right under the URL. Take a few minutes and write a brief description about the blog post.
- Establish Trust with your readers. Having an “about” section that talks about you, why you’re writing and what your goals are, can make a difference in terms of establishing trust with your readers. Another way to establish trust is by including Google Authorship (below).
- Use Categories and tags. This might seem obvious, but still many bloggers are not categorizing and tagging posts. This is a problem for both the reader and the search engines. Categories and tags are there so that content can be organized by silos. Yes, sometimes we have a blog that we like and we read regardless of the subject matter, so we’re ok reading chronologically, however, we must also give the readers an ability to find content based on subjects, so categorizing blogs is extremely important.
- Watch out for auto-accepting comments. Make sure you do not auto-accept comments. Many times, spammers use the comment section of a blog to try and post links, and/or other inappropriate content. Make sure you are able to review and approve comments before they automatically post.
- But, don’t ignore comments. Make sure you check on the comments made to see if there are any that you want to reply to, or approve for viewing. This will show readers that you do care about them and their interaction with your blog.
- Track, Track, Track. Install Google Analytics on your blog. Even if you don’t know what to do with it for now, it will track information about reader’s behavior on your site which will become of great importance as your blog increases its number of visitors.
- Use short URLs. URLs that are too long (too many words, too many directories). When a URL comes up on a search result, research shows that people are less likely to click on a long URL than they are to click on a short one. In fact, short URLs get clicked on 2X as much. Even worse, long URLs appear to act as a deterrent to clicking, drawing attention away from its listing and instead directing it to the listing below it. Posts that are worth reading typically do one or more of the following: entice, enchant, entertain, educate, and evoke emotions.
- Put together a content calendar. Yes, I know you want to post what you feel like it and that’s ok for the most part, but for those times where you feel you’re running out of ideas, having a calendar that shows potential subjects, topics, interest, etc, will be of great assistance.
- Link internally. Make sure you if you reference a topic that you’ve written about in the past, link back to it. Connecting related posts internally will create silos that are recognizable by search engines.
- Link out. Blogs are resources for people, and when they are reading a post that includes links to other relevant content, you establish yourself as a resource.
Dan Zarrella from Hub Spot has research that shows that positive emotions are more “shareable” than negative ones. Keeping a positive sentiment is much more powerful than having negative sentiment. However, having a sentiment one way or the other (yes, even a negative one) is better than being neutral. So write with emotion!