21 Jun 10 Tips For Making Your Blog Work For You
“My brain hurts!” Have you ever uttered those words while staring at your computer screen? You’ve got a blog to write. Success demands that your blog gets frequent attention. It needs fresh content regularly, but how do you keep writing when you’ve exhausted all of your ideas? Wouldn’t it be nice if your blog worked for you for a change?
I had these thoughts and feelings, but then I remembered something I heard a long time ago: “Work smarter, not harder.” At first I just figured that’s what lazy people say to feel better about themselves. But then I grew up and realized that working smarter doesn’t mean putting in less effort.
Working smarter is a matter of learning how to make your blog work for you. Give it two feet, two hands, and a brain. In other words—collaborate with esteemed colleagues, connect with your audience, and engage your brand ambassadors. Doing so will give you a clearer vision of what your blog is currently doing and what it needs to do to survive.
Consider the following 10 tips. When applied strategically, they just might mean the difference between mediocrity and wild success.
1. Use Long-Tail Keywords
Don’t focus exclusively on the highly competitive short-tail keywords.
Here is an example of a short-tail: “restaurants in Lubbock.”
Sure, it would be awesome to rank on the first page of the SERPs for that keyword, but it is really hard to do. That’s because every restaurant in Lubbock, TX, wants to rank for it. The keyword is relevant to each and every restaurant in the entire city, and all things being equal, each restaurant should have a chance of ranking. But they don’t all rank on the first page of the SERPs. There is only so much room on the first page after all.
If you are new to the game, it is more likely that you’ll rank on the third, fourth, or even tenth page. Given enough time and effort, you could eventually make it to the first page of the SERPs, but that is a long way off.
So how do you make your keyword research really count? Shoot for the lower competition long-tail keywords! This essentially means to get a little more specific.
What sets you apart from your competitors? Do you sell the most authentic Italian spaghetti in Texas? Maybe your beef brisket is always cooked in a pit in the ground. Work those specifics in when writing content. Instead of trying to rank for “restaurants in Lubbock,” you could try for “authentic Italian spaghetti in Lubbock, TX.” That narrows down the competition by, well, a ton!
The key is to know what your target audience types into Google when they’re looking for what you specifically have to offer.
2. Optimize, Optimize, Optimize
Optimize everything on your site. If you don’t, you’ll miss opportunities.
Imagine that you are the new owner of the best taco place in the state—nay, in the world. Your tacos are seriously fantastic. They put hair on your chest, or take it off if that’s what you’re after. All your friends love your tacos. Acquaintances call you from the other side of the country and ask you to ship them in a temperature controlled van. So, you take that as a hint that you’re on to something special.
You build the restaurant, but you don’t sell a single taco.
You’ve put up a sign. You’ve advertised. Yet, you haven’t optimized. You used small font. You used words and phrases that people don’t normally associate with great tacos. People saw that you exist, but they quickly forgot about you when the rest of the onslaught of constant information invaded their brain.
In short, you forgot to proactively connect people’s love of taste bud-busting flavor with your fabulous food.
Onsite optimization is kind of like that. It doesn’t matter how much you rock. If you don’t succeed at communicating to the world that your restaurant exists and has the tacos they crave, no one will show up. If you don’t build your website with your customer’s search habits in mind, they’ll never know about your tacos. And that’s sad. It’s sad because I love tacos, and if you’ve got the best ones out there, I want to know about it.
Optimize your site so that Google (or another search engine) will know that you are the most relevant and useful search result to provide for the customer.
3. Internal Links
When you put an internal link on your blog, you place a link within a blog post that leads to another page within your own website.
Let’s say that you wrote a post a few months ago about how to make the best pizza dough on planet Earth. Later, you decide to write a post about how to make the best pizza this side of the Atlantic; however, you don’t want to go into great detail about dough making this time around. After all, you recently wrote that other blog post specifically about dough making. You still want your readers to know how to make the dough, so how do you make it easy for them to find that information?
It’s an easy solution. Just place a link within your pizza article that directs your visitor to the page that goes into detail about how to make an amazing dough. See how that works? This just makes it easier for your visitors to navigate your site in the most useful way. It maximizes the potential for “immersion.”
4. Use Pictures
Always include at least one great photo per blog post. Great photos get shared on websites that regular old text just doesn’t. Think Pinterest.
Pictures also engage parts of the brain that are left dormant by plain text; they make a connection with people that words on a page just can’t. Need I say more?
5. Invite Guest Bloggers
This one is big folks, but it is easy to screw it up. To make sure you do this right, you can learn more about guest blogging here.
Guest blogging means that you’ll invite other writers who you respect and trust to write an article on your blog with the assurance that you’ll include a DoFollow link to their own website in the content. Why? Because DoFollow links can be elusive, and they are very valuable when used correctly. They imply votes and/or trust, and they invite Google to pass their delicious link juice along. In other words, it helps other sites gain recognition and validity from Google.
And although you don’t need to come right out and say it when inviting guest bloggers to your site, what’s in it for you is that they will most likely return the favor and link to your blog from their website. They’ll want to share what they wrote with their own followers.
This helps you in a few ways. First, it removes some of the burden of frequently creating unique content from your own shoulders. Second, it creates an environment friendly to link-building, which in turn increases your blog’s reach. Third, it builds relationships with other writers. These relationships can mean the difference between success and failure, so treat them as though they are something special. They are!
6. Make Sharing Easy
To this day, I still come across websites that are not connected to social media. This is a serious omission. You want—no, you need to make it as easy as possible for your followers to share your content via their social media accounts.
If you haven’t already, include easy access to social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter on each blog post. If you are using a well-known content management site for your blog, you can use plug-ins or add-ons to easily add social media buttons to each post. Make it easy for your readers to share your content with their own friends. If you don’t, then they probably won’t.
7. Go Viral
Viral content is what every blog writer hopes for. It takes some planning and execution, but the rewards can be stunning. Think of all the time it takes to write content and share it regularly on your Social Media accounts. Imagine sharing it only one time and getting 10 thousand, 100 thousand, 1 million, or even 10 million page views as a result of that one share. How would that exposure change your life?
Viral content isn’t easy, but the principles are fairly simple. Cute and funny is always in. Unbelievable yet true seems to always work. A short video that encapsulate these things is one great way to deliver the content.
If your writing style is incredibly engaging, text alone can sometimes do it. Usually you’ll need visuals, though. Pictures, video, audio, captions, and lots of personality always help.
Once you’ve got the right content, share it. Invite others to share it. Get creative about where and when you share.
8. Timing Matters
Promote your blog via social media, but do it at the right times of the day during the right days of the week.
When do you find that you get the most interaction and engagement on social media from your followers? Post social media content during those times. Be flexible, though. People change, so your timing should adapt to meet the needs of your market.
9. Hire SEO Help
Let’s face it: SEO takes time. Even if you know everything there is to know about SEO, doing it right requires a time commitment. Failing to give SEO its due time can mean failure, so if you lack the time, then you may want to consider looking into outsourcing your SEO strategy.
SEO help can optimize your site, help you create new content, help you with your link-building efforts, give direction to your Social Media strategy, and more. All-in-all, it is designed to increase your reach and maximize your efforts.
10. Be Valuable
This one goes to the foundation of online content. If you write words that aren’t valuable to your readers, then why would those readers feel engaged? What is in it for them?
Everything you write should provide something of value to the reader. So, you’ve got to ask questions like, “What do my readers value?” “What do they need?” “What do they want?” “What are they asking for?” Figure out the answer to these questions, and then deliver content that meets your customer’s needs. If you can do it in a fun and engaging way, then you’ll be a step above the rest.
I really hope these tips have been helpful. I invite you to ask any questions you may have in the comment section below. Happy blogging!