How to write a successful blog
How to blog
This blog is designed to clarify the reasons for blogging and common mistakes to avoid in the Blogosphere. It is a constantly changing environment of connected communities so keeping up with its features and how your competitors and peers exploit them will give you the upper hand.
What is a “blog”?
Blog comes from the truncation of the idiom “web log”. It has become increasingly popular thanks to the simplification of access to posting through content management systems and other online publishing tools.
A blog is a way of interacting with readers on a particular subject. Generally comments from visitors to the site or blog are welcomed. Unlike most websites that are static, a blog is something that is regularly updated. Blogs are often seen as more social than websites as they build a relationship with their readers based on a common interest.
Types of blog
Various types of blog exist in the following forms and genres:
- Personal blogs (diary, fashion tastes… with on-going commentary)
- Business (professionals divulging their expertise and engaging with potential customers)
- Private (schools for classroom assignments such as group projects…)
- Non-profits (for associations and groups to raise understanding and funds for their cause)
- Political parties for outreach and opinion forming
- How-to (fix something, cook something and so on)
- Corporate and organisational blogs used for social advertising of a brand or company
- Academic: language learning tools and exchange of resources
- Other niche market
Micro-blogging: in the form of short posts on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Constant updating and interaction with one’s community is made easier through smart phones and other modern devices. There is no need to be at home in front of a computer to post digital content.
Staying clear of bad blogs:
Stay clear of what is commonly known as a “scraper blog” which essentially steals content from other blogs without their consent. Duplicate content should also be avoided.
Creating content for the sole purpose of being “read” by the Google crawlers is penalised, just like any other poor quality or ill-intentioned blogs.
Other ranges of blog forms:
- Visual or mixed media type blogs called tumblelogs
- Photoblog with pictures
- Textual with text mainly
- Vlog comprising video
- Linklog containing links
Popular blog subject matters:
- Media-related blogs
- Art blogs such as photography (and used as a consortium of photos)
- More mainstream or political topics
- Health blogs
- Travel blogs
- Niche blogs
- Education blogs
- Fashion blogs
In our field of expertise – language learning and language teaching – our blogs will be developed as instructional resources. Depending on the field, each company has to choose what blog form will engage their readers and customers most.
What blog post types will drive more traffic to my blog?
If you want to improve your page ranking, please take into account the following SEO parameters when writing your blog post:
– Check your keyword density
– Use a focus keyword you have never used before
– Make sure your meta description contains the primary keywords or key phrases
– Create a title for each page which contains the keywords
– Ensure that you have subheading tags in your copy
– Verify the legibility of your copy – your readers must be able to navigate the post with ease
– Make certain that there are outbound links contained in your blog post
– See to it that your meta description for the blog post contains roughly 150 words
– Check that the keyword appears in the URL for the blog post’s page. If you change the name of the URL ensure that the old URL 301 redirects to the new one
– Ensure that you have taken out any “stop words” which in IT English or computing means words that are removed after or before processing of everyday language data.
– Introduce pictures in your blog, ensuring that the alt text contains keywords
This list is not exhaustive. Regularly analysing and updating your page content will ensure that your blog will stay on top.
Word count and content length
If you are wondering how many words you need to write, you will find that some believe it is 500, others 1500, and others 2000. There are statistics and research that seems to point to 2000 words.
But writing 2000 words means prior research and if done properly credibility in the industry you are working in. People will want to link to your fleshed out article and you will gain “Link Juice” from their highly ranked website or blog.
If however as a blogger you do not have the knowledge or data to back your ideas, it is best to keep a short post of 500 words on the interesting fact or opinion you wish to share. That leads us back to the eternal quest for quality content and its repercussions in the eyes of the readers and ultimately the crawlers. Search optimised blogs are everyone’s ideal but keeping your readers happy – whose concentration span is often limited – will also affect conversions. Creating quality content and following best practices can’t be highlighted enough!
- Get more page views
- Gain your readers loyalty through the creation of a strong relationship
- Multiply monetisation opportunities to gain more income from your blog
- Get more blog comments through improved interaction with your readers
On site blog:
An on site blog is very easy to set up as they are often part of the CMS (content management system) such as with WordPress.com which are free or WordPress.org which you have to pay for and get hosted by a third-party. On the plus side you can add paid advertising space onto this kind of blog.
Adding plug-ins to personalise and optimise the visibility of your blog can be achieved through quality content and clear layouts. Many plug-ins will enable you to make your textual or visual blog appealing to readers. You can add slideshows, automatic pinging and so on.
Off site blog:
This very popular form enables blogging to become as important. All you have to do is:
- Pick a piece of blogging software
- Choose a hosting company or blog hosting tool
- Define the topic of your blog or blog topic
- Start writing
Other blogging platforms for off site blogs include:
- Moveable Type
It is very important you research the blog designs and blog platforms available, to weigh its pros and cons for your business or idea. Some platforms might require some technical skills or knowledge. Most platforms can be navigated hassle-free but other applications will require in-depth customisation and you might feel a little out of your depth. Remember: do not waste time on technicalities if your skills lie in writing.
How to choose the right platform for you:
Defining your goals as a blogger is essential:
- For fun
- To make money
- To build a highly-trafficked blog
Assuming that your choice was “to build a highly-trafficked blog”, you have to ask yourself:
- How much space do I need?
- How many pictures or word clouds do I want to use to illustrate my blog?
- What kind of features will boost my blog’s popularity with readers and crawlers alike?
- How customised does my blog’s design have to be?
- How many co-writers do I need to produce content for my blog?
- How much do I need to spend on blogging software and hosting my blog?
Format of a successful blog
If you want readers to keep coming back to your blog, make sure that you are:
- Telling a story (addressing your readers and having something interesting to share)
- Being consistent (i.e.: format, writing style…)
- Using images with alt text
- Sticking to a colour scheme
- Adding titles and subheadings to your posts
- Leaving some white space to air the copy
- Keeping paragraphs concise
- Using bullet points and other list types
- Using correct punctuation
- Choosing and sticking to a certain font type
Prior to posting on your blog, researching your topic in your area, ensuring that your content is original and relevant, will gain you extra points!
Blogs tend to become popular through citations as well as through affiliation also called in the blogosphere jargon:
- Blogroll (being recommended in a lists on other blogs): a form of reciprocal link which gets you in front of more people likely to be interested in your posts.
- Permalinks (giving your posts authority as URL points to your blog through an entry that is now archived and unlikely to disappear)
Blogging tools to maximise your blog’s potential
Many Web analytics tools are available
Measuring a blog’s popularity is important in ensuring that you are getting the most out your blog.
Submitting your blog’s URL to search engines is also crucial in making sure that the search engine crawlers know of your new blog and index them so that you appear in the SERPs.
Making money through blogging
Some bloggers ultimate goal is to share their expertise or spread the word. Others aim at monetising their blog by turning into a sales tool. There are many ways to succeed in this:
- Creating adverting space on your site for banners. Selecting the right affiliate advertising program is key.
- Getting sponsored reviews
- Receiving donations
- Getting paid to guest blog: people are sometimes willing to pay for quality content
What is “guest Blogging” or “guest posts”?
Guest blogging is all about writing a post on someone else’s blog – that works in the same field as you – and including a link to your website.
This guest post is a chance for you for add links from a quality post from a quality website, thus receiving link juice. It is also an opportunity for the blog to receive relevant content free of charge. You are looking for constructive coverage; this must not be a pretext to get a link.
- Having a strong introductory sentence for your post will influence people’s interest in your copy. Bear in mind that you are producing something that people are reading, as you are a reference in this field. Address them without all the mumbo jumbo and keep the content relevant. If you need to use specific lingo, remember to explain the terms.
- The higher the quality of your subject matter, the choice of header and the layout of the post as well as your writing style will also be determining in the success of your post and consequently the impact of your link. Looking up why some articles are more successful than others may give you more insight. Getting researching before you start writing your own article.
- Do not delay in highlighting your achievements in your field of expertise. People want to read articles written by people who have experience. A concise profile containing your accomplishments and know-how will give more rank to your post.
Commenting on blogs or Blog comments
More research for you! Find blogs discussing topics that are related to your blogs and place interesting and relevant comments below their posts, including a URL to your blog. This will increase your visibility for readers and will contribute to your SEO efforts.
Having new entries is fundamental so posting regularly should be a priority. If you link a comment to a recent post, it will make more sense to the readers.
Comments are powerful tools to increase your blog’s traffic. Responding to comments left below your posts is also a way of interacting with your readers and creating more reader loyalty.
Do not forget to micro-blog, using social media to maximise your online presence. Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and YouTube are some of the most commonly used social media platforms for micro-blogging.
Joining the feeds will also show consistency in your marketing, aligning your marketing efforts and adding to your positive exposure. Adding copy on various platforms, your blog and your website and interlinking them means more channels and more coverage.
The Blogger’s Code of Conduct
This set of rules was created to ensure that comments left on blogs remained civil and bloggers moderated the comments. Following a series of trolling misconducts and threatening behaviours, this system of self-regulation came about in 2007. Its main goals were:
- To lift standards
- To impose civility and adequate behaviour
- To give guidelines to bloggers
Some dos and don’ts we can keep in mind:
- Remove anonymous comments
- Mark your tolerance level for abusive comments
- Do not answer trolls