Tips for Effective Blogging: Part 1
So you’ve been persuaded that blogging is not a waste of your time. You’ve chosen your perspective (student laying a foundation, career enhancement or promoting a business) and have decided to create your blog. There are free options available, which for a student are perfect. However, if you’re a professional or a business, or a college student who is really driven to the very best, you will want to create your own website, with a unique domain on your own hosting package. Reasons for this are:
- You have more flexibility, options and control of the functionality and design of your website.
- You are in total control!
- You will have better SEO (search engine optimization).
Therefore, think through your options and budget. Since this isn’t an article about how to create a website and blog, we will assume you already have one and are ready to put words onto virtual paper. So here are some tips to make sure you are effective with your time, content and results.
Write micro-faceted articles
One of the biggest objections I get from clients is, “I don’t know what to write about?” The fear is that once they’ve written their first article, they will have nothing else to share. If you have that problem, then you gave away the farm.
You don’t want to write an article that is all encompassing. In other words, if I am trying to write about creating a website and I wrote an article that covered every aspect, where do I go next? You hurt yourself AND your reader. Why? Many people have the attention span of a gnat; if you give too much information, you will lose them. They become overwhelmed. So you want to give them bite-sized portions. Moreover, you can’t do justice to good tips and information if you’re trying to write it all into one article; because you will gloss over important nuggets and elaborate less, which makes the difference between an ineffective and effective article.
A good example is this series. There’s so much we can talk about when it comes to blogging. I touched on the “why” and how it may apply to your unique circumstance in the previous article. Read Stop Sabotaging Yourself by Not Blogging. I am sharing four (4) tips in this article, will share an additional five (5) in the next and a final five (5) in the last one. In doing so:
- The reader gets to think about a few tips at a time, allowing him or her to really wrap his or her mind around them.
- It keeps the reading to a minimum; hence they will be more apt to read it.
- By spoon feeding the information, it builds on each other, providing a complete picture without beating them up with it.
- It allows me to have four articles to share, instead of just one.
So make sure you pick one facet of your topic and expound on it well. The smaller the facet, the better. This will give your article meat, substance and people won’t only read it – they will share it.
Finding topics to write about
If you have writer’s block or you feel your articles aren’t pulling as well as you’d like, then use Google Alerts to find out what is trending in your area of expertise. If the topic is trending, it means there’s high interest. Therefore, if you write on that same topic – from your unique perspective – chances are it will pull as well.
You will want to go to https://www.google.com/alerts and sign in with your Gmail or Google-Plus account. If you’re a business, you’ll want to set up alerts for your company name and the leadership team’s member’s names. This way, if something good is said about you, you can capitalize on it; however, if something bad is said, you want to address it right away.
Then setup alerts for the topics you can write about. You’ll get alerts daily or weekly (depending on your choices). This will give you not only ideas, but sources to cite to add credibility to your article.
Cite sources when possible
Which leads us to tip number three, use citations whenever possible. Your unique perspective is your own; however, it must be based on something. So finding reputable sources that validate key information or points will show you do your homework, and build trust and credibility.
You don’t want to overdo outgoing links, however. One or two citations per article is enough. You see, if you have more links leaving your website than you have coming in, it hurts your Google ranking for SEO; because it gives the impression you are sending your readers to another site for reliable, quality content. If you have more links coming IN to your site, the impression is reversed – YOU are the source of quality content. However, if it’s supporting your article, you will want to make the sacrifice.
Write at a 10th to 12th grade reading level
This is a sad statement, but the reality is many people don’t read well. So avoid trying to impress using the vernacular of your academic vocabulary to depict your allusions at a doctoral plane, or the masses will not comprehend your literary aptitude! See what I mean? Keep it simple! Write at a 10th to 12th grade reading level.
You are off to a great start! Next week we will cover an additional five (5) tips that will round out the writing portion of your blog, then we will focus on some promotion tips to drive the traffic to your website. After all, you’re not doing this to keep a journal! Never forget the number one reason for a blog is to drive traffic to your website, because it’s the only place where you can project your image correctly and be in control of your message. You do this by providing high-quality content worth reading.