In Links To Your Website From Blogging
There are two primary types of people out there; the ones where ideas are abundant and the ones that have to really tap into their soul to get inspiration on writing topics. There are positives and negatives for each type of person (and many people switch back and forth between the two).
Whether you are trying to type on the keyboard as fast as you are thinking about an exciting topic or you are painfully racking your brain for interesting things to say about that topic, it is important to be thinking strategically about what you are writing. For the basics of content creation, we encourage you to spend some time reading about strategies before just writing down whatever thoughts you have.
This is where SunCity Advising comes in… in some cases we offer strategic advice to our customers on how to get their blog writing perfected to start running full speed ahead in their own, and in other cases, we actually implement that knowledge by preparing the blogs for our customers. It depends on the level of sophistication and goals they have.
If you haven’t started a blog yet, in some ways you have an advantage over those that have. You are reading this article because you have interest in learning how to be effective before jumping head first. But, if you already have a lot of content, you can always adjust your approach as well. The setup stage is very important because you are beginning to ask yourself key questions like, “How should I structure my blog?” and “What should be the theme of my blog?” Let’s start with the structure.
The structure will determine how easily information can be absorbed and how exciting it is to the reader. This can mean that they either hang around to hear what you have to say or they leave immediately – so give it some thought. We recommend splitting the page into primary body text and sidebar text to get your calls to action noticed by visitors. We agree with experts from CoSchedule Blog that the key components that we can help customers with are the following:
There are other important aspects to consider as well when setting up a template for your posts. The use of sub-headlines, lists and bullet points like we did above can keep the reader engaged. Excessive use of related information and recent posts is something that you want to be careful of doing. Unfortunately, this is very common and ends up making the page look too cluttered for no reason. Users rarely actually follow those sidebar apps.
Instead, allow for some whitespace that allows the reader some space while they take in new information. And, you should be reinforcing their learning by asking a related question that entices them to read further by clicking to a new page. Also, this makes them more likely to comment below, where you should have a section setup specifically for that.
Finally, at the footer of the page, there should be an area where the reader can share the article on social media. Although some experts recommend putting every social media account there, we prefer to place only the primary accounts you are trying to monetize so that the reader does not get used to seeing unneeded information on the page. If you stick to this game plan, the basic structure of your blog should be quite strong. But, don’t be afraid to experiment and change things up every once in a while.
Now that you have decided to start with blog writing, you need to decide what subject matter you want to become an expert in or how you want to present the subject matter you are already an expert in to your readers. The best blogs are not ones where the writer rambles on about whatever pops into their head. The first thing we recommend is that you find a niche to blog about.
Jessica Knapp on Blogging Basics 101 says, “When you blog about what you’re passionate about, it shows through in your writing, and your readers can feel that. This, in turn, will lead to a larger following.” You are also less likely to run out of ideas or abandon your blog if you are passionate about your niche. And, it is not such a daunting task to sit down regularly and put your thoughts together during content creation phases.
Remember, the likelihood of you being the first blogger in the space that you determine as your niche is low. So, you need to have a way to grab and keep audiences that can also find similar information elsewhere. This is where your tone, or voice, becomes important.
English novelist Samuel Butler once said, “We are not won by arguments that we can analyze but by the tone and temper, by the manner which is the man himself.” He has a strong point that the content is less important than the way it is conveyed. A blog is no different than a conversation I your daily life.
The tone of your blog’s voice is an expression of who you, the writer, is. It is what sets you apart from other bloggers on the same topic and builds trust among your readers if you have the ability to let your personality come through. Once you have built this trust, you can begin to influence your readers to think the same way that you do.
Harriet Cummings of Distilled says, “By and large, a successful tone of voice should go without notice.” So, you don’t need to go over the top on developing a tone for yourself. What you should do is focus on whether you want to have a blog that is based on humor, knowledge, fun, etc. and stay true to that overall tone so that your readers know what to expect and keep coming back for it.
The frequency of your blog posts should correspond to the depth of the articles you create. For example, if you are writing 300-word opinion posts about current events, everyday might be a good idea. But, if you are writing well-researched academic articles that are intended to be referenced by other academics, you may need more time to prepare them. This could take months for each post to be completed.
One thing to consider is that people are likely to leave if they are constantly being barraged by content. So, we recommend writing 1-2 blog posts per week allows you to prepare well-written content that your blog followers will engage in without being overfed unimportant updates.But, as Ali Luke writes in ProBlogger, “There’s no “one size fits all” approach to blogging, and what’s important is that you find a routine that you can stick to over the long term—not one that leaves you burnt out after a few weeks.”
You can’t be all things, to all people, all the time. When creating a blog, you have to consider who you want to read the content you generate. If you narrow your audience, you are much more likely to grab people that can become passionate about your content and can significantly increase the conversion of visitors to readers. If you write about the best diapers, consider that you are most likely speaking to recent mothers and fathers. For an article on the details of a new app, you are talking to tech people.
Blogger Joseph Lalonde, on Michael Hyatt, says, “Choosing your audience avatar can be the toughest thing you do as a blogger, even more so than the daily grind of writing.” He continues that there are five people to consider when writing a blog that will keep you true to your own style while considering multiple perspectives. These are: your past self, present self, future self, someone you personally know, and someone that interests you.
Once you have an idea of general theme and voice for your blog, you need to start creating the right type of content that fits this persona. We have generated more content than we can remember, but the fundamental rules are consistent across blog specialties.
Original content is the most important factor to the value of your writing. Even if you are discussing a topic that is widely covered or if your opinion is that of the majority. The reader wants to know what you think and wants research to have been done that can explain why you think a certain way.
Forget about the readers for a moment and consider this statement from Zach Bulygo on Kissmetrics, “Copying other people’s content will result in a punishment from Google.” On the other hand, Google and other search engines will reward you for original content by increasing your searchability. At this point, the only way to organically grow your SEO is to generate high quality, original content.
Headlines are just as important as the content itself. We have tested thousands of headlines and found that if your headline doesn’t grab attention, then even the best copy below it won’t be read. Copyblogger says, “On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This is the secret to the power of your title, and why it so highly determines the effectiveness of the entire piece.” Don’t make the mistake of overlooking the first – and sometimes only thing people will see.
Your content must answer questions that people have. Your goal is to answer specific questions that can ultimately be found when someone asks that question in a search engine. If you can get Google to provide your answer to people with that question, you know the focus of the content was clear. You also want to make sure that once you are recognized as an answer provider, that you have a call-to-action. What’s the point of answering questions unless the reader is compelled to do something with that knowledge?
Beyond just answers, the content must be interesting. If you want your audience to become engaged, then you must have engaging content. One way to do that is to try to leave them with questions so they are compelled to read further, comment on the page, or sign up for more information. Story telling is a great way to add unique perspective and can grab a reader’s attention and keep them engaged.
Video and images are a great way to enhance your content as well. Jesse Mawhinney from Hubspot says, “Researchers found that colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%.” So, don’t forget to get some visually pleasing content on your pages. And, it can help to keep your content short and sweet while still getting out the information the reader needs.
Keywords are still relevant to SEO since they are what help you rank organically and can tell you how much interest there is in a subject. But, things have changed since the pre-2013 days when the Hummingbird update occurred. Jayson DeMers on Audience Bloom says, “Hummingbird introduced the concept of “semantic search,” which looks at the context of a user’s search query rather than its exact keyword composition.” Things have gotten even more sophisticated since the Penguin update. But, keyword research still helps create a strategic plan for your content. This is how marketers build modern SEO strategies.
If you have a couple of ideas that you are debating about for your next blog, you may want to consider how much traffic is searched for each one. For example, two of my hobbies include playing golf and collecting coins. I did a quick search to determine which one I would write about if I wanted to write an article about my hobbies. Golfing would reach a larger group of people, according to this chart from Google Trends. So, that’s what I would write about.
You can research your competitors and find which keywords they are ranking for. Then, you can start targeting the same words that you may not have thought of. Similar to this approach is searching for new campaigns in AdWords to determine related key words that neither you nor your competitors are targeting. Another use for keywords is that you can look for seasonality. If you are debating when the right time to write an article about weight loss is, you know that it is best to publish it right before the New Year since there is a significant search spike every year for the last 5 years at the end of December.
Just like in college, there are different types of assignments for bloggers. Not every post is the equivalent of a senior thesis that requires 30 pages of content and dozens of cited references. But, not all posts are simply a 100-word blurb with your opinion on Donald Trump’s hair that day. So the question remains, how do you know how much content to create when blog writing and what type of academic rigor is required?
According to SEO content specialists Yoast, “A blog post should contain at least 300 words in order to rank well in the search engines.” But, that really should be considered an absolute minimum. Lengthy posts rank better in Google because in lengthy texts google can more easily determine what your post is about. The keyword will be found frequently because of the length and the extra headings, links and pictures will add to the keyword frequency.
Long-tail keywords are the best way to rank highly in very specific search queries and there should be many variants of them in a lengthy text. Over 1,000 words is considered lengthy, but some high ranking posts are over 2,500 words.
The problem with going above 1,000 words is that it can be difficult to structure it properly to keep readers interested. Even worse, it might completely scare them away from reading any of it and could result in a bounce from your website. Google’s definition of bounce rate is “the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).”
So, the best length for a blog post should start at a minimum of 300 words and end at about 750 unless you have excellent writing skills.
According to Neil Patel of Moz.com, “Inbound links no doubt have high impact on your search rankings. But so do outbound links…especially if you are linking to authority sites.” He also says that when it comes to linking to your own previous posts, these “inks are one of the best ways to direct Google spiders through your site.” There’s no doubt that utilizing links and citing the sources is valuable – and not just for inbound links.
There is no magic number for the number of sources you should use in your blog. The primary goal should simply be to make sure that your sources are relevant to your content. You certainly don’t want to overcrowd your content with a ton of links, so be careful only to use a few per page unless it is a lengthy or academic post. Sometimes having only one prominent link can be more beneficial.
Interviews are one of the easiest ways to get free publicity and high quality content at the same time. In a blog interview, you have the ability to control the conversation and make sure that your readers are getting the information you think they will want. You control the questions, can edit the responses in most cases, and can direct it in alignment with your SEO strategy.
Many of these have gone viral because you have the opportunity to leverage your followers as well as the other person’s. many times these experts are other bloggers and they have significant impacts by bringing in two expert perspectives on the same topic. So, we recommend you start contacting people to interview now if you’re not already doing so.
Now you know the basics about blog writing you should be ready to tackle your own blog if you decide you want to. But, if it sounds like you don’t have the time or resources to get it done on your own, SunCity is here to help!
Is there anything else you want to know about blogging that we didn’t cover?