Because writers like to write a lot of us have blogs, but just because a writer knows how to write doesn’t mean they know how to blog. I’ve visited more than one blog maintained by a writer that did not capture my interest and probably didn’t rank high in search engine results.
Key 1: Keywords and phrases To have a successful blog it needs to be found among the millions of others out there being crawled by search engines like Yahoo and Google. So the first key to unlocking the success of your blog is keywords. These are words and phases you use especially in your title and first paragraph, as well as throughout the post, that let search engines know what your blog entry is about. To figure out which words and phrases are key, use a keyword look up tool, like the one Google offers for its AdWords. Yes, this goes against what we learned as writers – to try to vary our words and phrases, and not repeat any one of them too many times. But writing for online is not like writing for print.
Key 2: Links Another difference writing online content offers is the ability to make your posts dynamic by adding links to other webpages, be it on your own website or somebody else’s. When I go to a blog and don’t see anything underlined or in a different color to denote a hyperlink, I think to myself that all the information I’m going to get is here, the subject won’t go beyond this page. Along the same line, if I don’t see any words in bold or italics, any bullet points, images or videos, I wonder how interesting the blog is gong to be.
Key 3: Value Some bloggers write in order to get their words out into the universe or to let their fans know how their week went. But if you don’t already have a following and you want to attack more followers, you have to give them something to latch onto. You can use keywords and phrases to help people find your blog, but if they don’t like what they see once they get there, they’ll leave without reading. In a recent post on Web Marketing Today Nick Usborne said, “Simply optimizing a page for organic search alone is not enough. The page also has to be original, engaging, and useful.” What turns me off the most is when I see post after post that are purely text. Try to embed a video now and then, or a PowerPoint through SlideShare, or even just an image – I think I took this photo of the keys with my iPhone.
Key 4 Comments If you disagree with anything I’ve said so far, or have something to add, please feel free to leave a comment below. Comments are one of the most important parts of a blog because they make it more interactive and social. The trick is how to get more and more of them, because more comments equal more popularity and make your blog attractive to search engines. Penny Sansevieri of Author Marketing Experts said, “Not just for the SEO benefits, but for the engagement and connections blog commenting brings with it.” You have to give in order to receive. Leave comments on blogs with similar topics to yours with a link back to your own articles. Ask your friends and family to comment on your blog as a favor to you, or join an online community in your field and get a group together who agree to comment on each other’s blogs.
Key 5 Social Media If you’re hoping to build your author platform by blogging, you’re probably also using other social media. Posting a link to your latest blog entry with a teaser on Facebook, Twitter, or a LinkedIn group can help create buzz for you and your writing. Those are only three of the biggest in the social media game but many, many more networks exist, as you can see if you click the Share/Save button at the end of this article, then the down arrow, you’ll see about a hundred sites listed. Having a button like this at the end of your post is handy so your readers can repost to their own network.
Writers who write to be read should be found, so I wish you much success with your blog.