Blogging is one the greatest ways to gain links, page rank, and relevancy in search engine results. Google and Bing, heck, all search engines, like sites that have fresh content. And as an added bonus by creating consistent content for your site you also have a reason for the search engines to revisit as will as more pages to crawl which leads to more keywords that your site could show up for.
So in the spirit of content marketing we're going to go over some basics of how to get your content out in front of as many people as possible.
Pick Your Audience
Before you write even one word you have to know who you are speaking to. I find the easiest way to do this is to picture in your mind your current customers or the customers you'd like to have. Are they younger or older, men or women, etc. It also helps to keep in the back of your mind why you want to start a blog in the first place. What's the goal of your website that a blog will help you achieve?
As an example, my blog is to help educate my current clients and to show people who may be looking for a web developer that I know a thing or two about what I'm talking about. My clients range from adults in their twenty's to senior citizens and many of them are female.
It probably goes without saying but once you start writing stay on topic. If your site is about DIY home improvement projects an article about the movie you just watched the other night probably wouldn't fit well in there. However if the movie you watched was the DVD box set of This Olde House you could talk about some of their home improvement ideas and stay on topic.
You can make the topics you discuss as thin or as wide as you like but always ask yourself this question. “Will this article help my website achieve my goals?”
When I was a kid growing up and going to school we had to watch dry videos in science class. Black and white boring movies about space, the life-cycle of a frog, even the human reproductive system. They all had the energy of Ben Stein from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It put me to sleep and I learned nothing. Don't be that guy.
Always write as if you are talking to a friend. The internet is a complex place that can be difficult to understand even for the most web savvy. When I write I do my best to make complex ideas easy to digest and hopefully my visitors stick around, learn something and maybe even read the next post I put on the site.
There is a wide range of ideas on how often you should add content to your site. I've heard as much as every day. What you should do is try to keep it consistent and work within your schedule. As ideas for articles come to mind write them down. Even if it's just a title. This way those who's attention you've gained will be able to get on a schedule. They'll know they can expect another riveting post every week or month or quarter. And if you have a writing epiphany and do several in a day or week, just save them for publishing at a later date.
Images and Titles
We as a people have always been a visual society. All you need to do is look to our ancestors to know that the first stories ever published were drawings on cave walls made with animal blood or dyes made from plants. As the web matures we can now use that to our advantage now more than ever before.
There's a lot of content on the web to consume on a daily basis so you need to stand out from the crowd. You can't get on top of a soap box with a bullhorn but you can use a captivating title and an attention getting image.
Crafting a well written title takes time to learn, I'm still learning. Make sure your title tells the topic of your article and try to use keywords that help you be found in search engines and fall in line with your sites overall goals. Don't use bait and switch tactics to get visitors to read your post. It will do nothing but make them angry you wasted their time.
If your blogging system has the capability you should pair that well though out title with a captivating image. They say a picture is worth a thousand words so try to pick one that sends a visual message of what your article is about. Just as with the title, don't use a misleading image to get page views.
I think it also should be said that you need to use images that you actually have the right to use. Just because it's on Google Images doesn't necessarily mean it's okay to use it on your site. There are plenty of royalty free and creative commons image resources on the net to choose from. Just Google it.
Now that you've got your article written you need to promote it.
The easiest and cheapest way is to post a link on your social media channels. If you don't have one what are you waiting for. Social media is the best way to get your message out. Odds are your customers are using at least Facebook if not more than one social network. Remember though, don't make it a one way street or eventually they will just tune you out. If someone comments on your post, either on your website or social media, make sure you respond. They may have questions, or bring up something you missed. Start a conversation. Isn't that why you wrote the article in the first place?
Other ways to promote your blog posts is to create an RSS feed, add it to a newsletter, or submit it to blog directories. You could even post a link to your most recent article in your emails you send to customers.
By following these simple guidelines you have the potential to increase page views, become an expert in your field in the eyes of Internet searchers and gain an audience that may one day purchase your product or service. It will take time, but the effort is worth it.
So did I miss anything? Do you now have more questions than answers? Let me know in the comments below and I'll do my best to help you out.