Ready to blog? Having a content strategy is crucial to blogging success. If you have determined that a blog is the right platform to deliver content for your business, here are some of the most important best practices to keep in mind so the time you invest in creating content provides a return.
1. Brainstorm Blog Topics Before Picking One
Consider industry relevant current events that you have an opinion on. Outline answers that your target audience would be actively seeking. Leverage multimedia content as a resource. If you have recently created a presentation, upload slides, share a video or a list of resources you have gathered that would be valuable to your audience.
2. Identify Keywords For Your Target Audience
Not everyone has fancy keyword research tools, but Google offers a tool that can help get the job done for free. Check for keyword opportunities under all the topics you’ve brainstormed. Add a few variations of how people might search and let Google help create a well-rounded list. Also, make sure you check the option on the left for “exact match” so the estimated monthly traffic and competition is specific to the exact version of the keyword and not similar phrases.
When you see the results, comb through and looks for keyword that are more specific. General phrases always have more competition and will be less likely to rank. Ultimately, you are looking for a combination of high traffic and low competition.
3. Select a Compelling Blog Format and Title
The topic you end up choosing will likely fit naturally into a proven blog format. Here are a few types of blog formats that have passed the test of time. For SEO, having a strategic format could mean more links, and more links to your posts means it will be more likely to rank in the search engines.
Best of Lists – “10 Best Ice Cream Flavors of All Time!”
Video Blog Post – “Video Blog – IScream making Ice Cream”
Controversial/Shock and Awe Blog Post – “3 Ice Cream Brands with Quality Control Issues”
Tutorials – “How to Make Your Own Ice Cream in 5 easy steps”
Recap of Events – “IScream Recaps the 2013 Ice Cream Convention”
Answering Questions – “What’s in Ice Scream? – You Asked, We Answer”
4. Write Optimized Titles and Meta Tags
You will want to use what you think to be the most relavent keyword in the title tag/blog title and description. Also, make sure you use a compelling call to action in your description to encourage people to click-thru when they see your blog in the search engine.
Title tags and meta descriptions should not be longer than the character count displayed by the search engines. To help visualize and test your lengths, you can see what they look like with a little help from a tool SEOmofo has created.
5. Include Visuals and Alternate Tags for Images
Every blog post, in my opinion, could benefit an image. If you do end up using images, be sure to include “Alt Tags” to define what the images are. Try to use keyword if possible, but it’s better to first be relevant. Adding alternate tags can differ based on the blogging platform you are using. You may have to do a little extra research in how to tag your images with an alternate tag. The use of multiple types of media and tagging with alternate tags is a smart SEO practice.
6. Balance Content Length for Users and SEO
More content for your blog post might help SEO, but too much content might hurt the readability for your readers and decrease the sharing of your post. Work to find the balance between being brief and providing enough content for the search engines to understand what your post is about. A general minimum to consider is about 350 words.
7. Make Your Posts Sharable
Almost all platforms have the ability to include sharing widgets for Twitter, Facebook, etc. Add these to your blog ASAP. SEO and social media go hand-in-hand, and when viewers share your post, visibility will increase.
8. Have Fun When You Write
Writing without heart will show, and if you don’t care about what you are writing no one else will. Ultimately, when you write quality content with your audience’s needs top of mind, you’ll see results.
9. Sign off with a call for engagement.
Blogs are social and it should be a goal to get your readers to engage and comment. I hope you find these tips helpful. If you have any questions, comments or more blogging best practices, let me know below and we will get them added!