B is for blog
Many forget this basic principle; When you have a blog, you must blog. It is very disappointing when you like a brand, head to their blog and see that it has been months, or even a year since their last blog post. I’ve also seen blogs with the post date removed so they can “get away” with posting less frequently. From my perspective, no date is equivalent to an old post, but the writer is masking their lack of frequent updates. If you have a blog or call yourself a blogger, you should regularly post updates.
Regular blog posts also provide more traffic to your site – from both readers and search engines. Search engines favor websites that are more frequently updated. If you regularly provide new content, search engines will scan your website more often. The more often the bots scan your site, the more content you will have indexed, which can appears in more search results. Also, the more often your site is scanned, the sooner your posts will be indexed and appear in search results earlier. Having more content and content indexed sooner will bring you more traffic from search engines.
You can also obtain more readers by blogging regularly. If you post less often you may be forgotten or ignored. Every blog has a unique audience, find out how often your audience prefers you to post. Come up with a posting schedule and review your website statistics a day or two after each post to see how often you should post, even which day of the week and time of day. The goal is to post often enough so your readers remember you, yet not annoying by posting too frequently. Many successful bloggers post one to three times a day while consistently maintaining a high level of traffic and generating good income. For my own blog I have found that one post per week is ideal, while two posts per week doesn’t increase traffic enough to bother with a second post. With one exception, I use a second post in one week for newsworthy information, these posts simply cannot wait until the next week. These posts generate good traffic as long as the post is published quickly. One thing I have also found is that posting on a Monday or Friday is a waste of a post, much less traffic comes in on those days, so I post on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Weekend posts can go either way – generally speaking, there is less internet usage on weekends, but it will stand out more on social media because there are less updates.
In short, find out how often your audience likes to read your posts and regularly and routinely stick to that schedule.
L is for Listen
Part of providing valuable content is continuing to evolve, this requires continuous research and learning. Here are some of the most important ways you can listen to improve your blog.
Listen to trending topics
Your readers will give you insight on the content they like and want. Engage with your readers and you can learn from them. Ask your audience questions in your posts and on social networks. This interaction can inspire ideas for posts, while networking. Read and respond to comments on your posts; Whatever you wrote here was thought provoking enough for the reader to comment. Reply to comments in a timely manner to show that you value their time in commenting. After you have many comments, see which type of posts generated the most comments and write like this more often.
Listen to trending topics
Write about topics that are relevant to your audience. You don’t want to bore them with content that is a month old and has already been read elsewhere. If there is some big news in your industry, be sure to write about it immediately! Here are a few helpers: Google Trends – real time Google search popularity. Google Insights – keyword search popularity tool.
Listen to your website statistics
Website statistics can tell you things about your blog that you never could have imagined. This information can be used differently for blogging than from a typical website, such as:
- Traffic peaks – Web server logs can show such detail as traffic visits broken down per hour in each day. You can use these stats to see which hour of the day and which day of the week to post your blogs to obtain the most visits possible. You can also see the lowest traffic times/days and try to improve upon them.
- Traffic to each post – Posts with the least amount of visits should have the meta-description re-evaluated. Determine the posts keywords and get suggestions using Google Insights. Update the post by using these keywords in the meta-description and re-evaluate that posts traffic in a month or so to see if the changes have generated more traffic.
- Keyword search results – Within your webstats you can see which keywords come up more often in search results. What you need to do is find more keywords that come up often and update posts meta-descriptions with the more popular keywords. Each of your blog posts should generate organic search engine traffic from keywords, not just a few posts. Once you find your rhythm in using effective keywords, every one of your posts will get organic search traffic.
O is for Optimize
Your blog and/or websites traffic is very dependent on how well your site is optimized. There are many ways to optimize your site for search engines, overall website performance and page load time. All of these points play a very important role for your site, so don’t discount any.
The titles of each page are heavily weighted in searches and are also the title in search engine results. Make sure you also set your permalinks to reflect the page title in the URL (example: YourWebsite.com/Contact is superior than YourWebsite.com/page5).
Put a keyword rich description on every page. Search engines use this description to display in search results. This description can set you apart from your competition. Research keywords and key terms to include in this page description and limit the description to 160 characters.
Keywords are used less frequently than in the past, descriptions are used more now. Keywords are still important to use and are picked up by websites other than search engines. It’s best to use both meta descriptions (with keywords in the description) and keywords, if you choose to only use one, then use a description. Search for keywords using Google Insights, AdWords Keyword Search and Word Tracker
Appropriately name photos and use alt tags on all photos. Image searches display images from all websites, so don’t forget about being found by image searches. Websites are seen in a better light by search engines and website graders when your images have alt tags.
Since you have a blog make sure you also have an RSS feed. I recommend using Feedburner to do so, as you can also track your subscribers and obtain statistics.
- Minimize redirects – redirecting, rather than linking directly, can take longer for the page to load.
- Page errors – make sure all of your pages are working properly and successfully link to one another.
- Outbound links – if you link out to another website, make sure that as long as you have the link listed, it works (sometimes they change).
The faster your website loads, the better. Your search engine rankings improve and you won’t test website visitors patience. People leave slow websites before they fully load and you’ll lose traffic before you even have a chance to gain a reader.
- Reduce number of WordPress plugins. Delete inactive plugins.
- Optimize images – shrink the actual image, don’t just resize the image.
- Delete unused files or duplicate files
Test your website’s load time at: Pingdom and Google Page Speed (Pingdom also shows you which files take longer to load).
G is for Goals
Bloggers should establish goals they would like to achieve while blogging. Begin by establishing your starting date, dates you would like to reach milestones by and ultimately, and when and what you want your blog to become at it’s fullest potential. There are many different avenues a blogger can take to promote and monetize their blog, increase traffic, and gain readers.
Here are a few different ideas on which goals you should set for your blog:
Establish and maintain a regular blog posting schedule. Set a schedule that you can stick to and not break, no matter how busy you are. This may start out with one post per month in the beginning, with a goal of several posts per week. You get out what you put in and you may find you can be a full time blogger!
Each blog has its own subscriber list and it is gold. Subscribers are regularly and voluntarily updated with your new posts, without having to go anywhere to read it. First of all make sure you offer a few different subscription options to satisfy everybody’s preferences. Set a subscription number that you want to reach and test out methods for reaching your number. A few different methods can be email subscription in your sidebar, within a blog post, or on pages. Don’t discount rss reader subscriptions too!
Determine if you want your blog to accept guest post submissions; If so then establish a guest post policy. Perhaps you would just like to be a guest poster on other blogs to drive more traffic to your own blog. Both of these can gain readers from other blogs; However, many bloggers avoid accepting and submitting guest posts all together.
You should know how you would like to obtain the most traffic: referring sites, natural search results, social media posts, or other methods. Once you determine where you want your traffic to come from, do what you need to on the appropriate websites to achieve your traffic goals. No matter where the traffic comes from, you should also establish a specific number of unique visits per week/month/quarter you would like to have. Continuously monitoring this data will help you reach your goal.
Blogs can bring clients in to utilize your business services or you can make money directly from your blog. If you use your blog to bring in clients then determine specifically what you need to write about to bring them in. If you want your blog to make money on it’s own then determine which means would earn the money you are trying to earn; affiliate ads, search ads, donations, advertising, or product sales. Whichever method, or both methods you choose, set a monthly or yearly dollar amount that you want to reach.
Social Media Network
Some bloggers only care about the number of followers and fans they have. For blog promotion, social media network quality is better than quantity. Be amongst those who you can learn from, those who will learn from you and share your knowledge. You can set a goal of how many fans/followers you would like to reach, but I would suggest setting a goal that will help you, such as number of people or number of times one of your posts is shared or republished.
All of these elements go hand in hand to ultimately reach your blogging goals, some cannot be reached without others.