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Monday, January 14th, 2013

How to Be a Great Blogger

 

To many business owners blogging is a task they either cannot be bothered with or do not know how to work into their schedules. As an entrepreneur myself I completely understand most concerns about maintaining a blog because I have, at one time, been in the same position. After all, we are already so busy with keeping our clients happy and running our businesses that another task seems impossible to comprehend; never mind a task which many business owners are not convinced will help the bottom line.

All of that said, blogging has a good track record for increasing the bottom line when it is done for the right reasons and with dedication. In the following clip, Gil Namur, President of the popular ezine LifeasaHuman.com explains the motivation you require to be a great blogger:

How to be a Great Blogger from StepForth on Vimeo.

Some Basic Blogging Tips

  1. If possible (and it is not always) pick a topic to write about for which you are passionate so your enthusiasm comes across in your writing.
  2. Offer something of value and remember the chief goal of your content is to help others – NOT to market to them.
  3. Proof read your content and if possible I highly recommend having someone else with a fresh pair of eyes proof read it as well.

How to Find Blog Post Ideas

I find the best story ideas come from seeing popular or trending questions or discussions in my industry. With those angles in mind, here are a few resources and tips for hunting down questions and the latest trending news/topics:

  • Yahoo! Search Clues: just type in a phrase related to your knowledge and optionally add a comparative word and then see a ton of data based on the search such as demographics, search trend charts and most importantly the search flow that led visitors to that phrase and where they went after – this is what can be revealing.
  • Addictomatic: see what is trending for a particular term on multiple search and social platforms on a single page.
  • IceRocket: easily filter through the most popular blog posts about a particular topic by day, week, month, anytime, or a chosen time span. You can also focus the results for particular languages to increase the likelihood you are targeting a geographic region.

Technical Tips for Blogging

  1. When you have an idea for something to write make sure to write it down or save it as a voice note on your phone or portable memo recorder.
  2. Take your ideas for writing and create individual posts in your blog and save them in draft mode. If you think you might need some insight into your frame of thought for the blog post then write a basic explanation for yourself for when you come back to write the full post.
  3. Some people find creating the title first helps put them in the right mindset for the blog post and makes it easier to write. Others (like myself) prefer to write down the key points of the blog post in point form and then convert the points into content for the site; I write the title last, or at least polish it significantly. See what works for you and polish your process as you write more and more.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tips for Blogs

  1. DO NOT write the blog post with SEO in mind! Just focus on writing something your target market will genuinely like to read and which will give them the best bang for their time reading it. Only pursue optimization after and never at the detriment of the readability or quality of the article.
  2. Create a title which uses the keywords you know people are searching for online. Use Google’s keyword research tool to see what keywords and phrases are most often searched for and adapt the title from that valuable information; this way your article has a greater chance to be seen. Note this keyword research mates well with the tools I laid out above for determining what is currently trending.
  3. When it is time to optimize the post for your chosen keyword(s) make sure they are utilized in the Title Tag, the Meta Description Tag and the title of the article; in some systems like WordPress you can have a different title of the article than the page. Just be sure to write each tag/title descriptively while incorporating the keyword(s). This will ensure your titles have a clear purpose and are not over-optimized; something Google particularly dislikes nowadays.
  4. If you happen to be using WordPress then I highly recommend installing Yoast’s SEO Plugin because it assists you with this optimization process on a post-by-post basis by providing a checklist of sorts outlining the elements you should optimize and whether they are completed or not.

Final Tip: Keep Up to Date

If you stick to the tips above you will largely be fine throughout any ups and downs of the search engine rules and regulations. That said there is a great benefit to keeping on top of the techniques and tools you can use to further optimize your posts over time. As a result I suggest you spend time reading such mainstay sites as Search Engine Land,  Search Engine Roundtable, and Search Engine Watch to name just a few of the great SEO news sites available. And if I may be so bold I also suggest listening in to an online radio show called SEO 101 on WebmasterRadio.FM which airs live every Monday at 2pm PST / 5pm EST but then goes to podcast for download at iTunes and on Webmaster Radio’s Official SEO 101 page. You can even ask your own SEO 101 questions which we often answer live on the air by just posting your questions on our Facebook page or our Google + SEO 101 Community.

Special thanks to Gil Namur from the always awesome LifeasaHuman.com
Written by Ross Dunn, CEO, StepForth Web Marketing Inc.

 


5 Responses to “How to Be a Great Blogger”

  1. Ryan

    Excellent advice. That Yahoo Search Clues is definitely useful and I plan on using it and giving it a shot with my next post.

  2. Hong Naber

    Nice read! I think you missed out one of the key factors though. Consistency. It really takes consistency to be a successful blogger.

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