Blogging is a popular method of online content creation. Unlike most other websites, a blog site focuses on written content as its primary value. Alternately, larger websites maintain a specific blog area on their sites.
One reason websites do this is to maintain a strong online presence. Specifically, search engines such as Google tend to rank sites more favourably when they maintain a blog.
The reason is fairly straightforward.
Adding new content to a site regularly provides proof to a search engine that the site is active and not abandoned and, therefore, is more likely to have content that is relevant and not dated.
Whether you are considering blogging to improve your search engine visibility, you hope to monetize it, or you are starting a blog because you simply have things you want to share with others, the same principles will apply for successful blogging.
What is a Blog?
Firstly, it is useful to precisely describe what a blog post is. Blogging is distinctive to other forms of writing in that it is commonly written in the first or second person. It is a more personal form of writing where you actively and intimately try to engage with your audience.
As such, it is usually important to remain conversational in tone. More importantly, even if the blog is to support your larger website, you should avoid sounding overly “salesy” in your blog.
The purpose is to provide useful and/or entertaining content to bring readers back regularly, alongside boosting your SEO efforts.
Tips for Effective Blog Writing
With that in mind, let’s explore some basic techniques and considerations for good blogging.
Again, it cannot be overstressed that blogging is not a platform for marketing. To pass this litmus test, it should be text that would clearly stand alone and be of value.
Write About What You Know
The easiest way to write quality blog content is to write about what you know. You don’t need to be an expert on anything, but if you aren’t, then your blog should be something you are passionate about.
Consider a few examples.
Perhaps you are writing a blog on marketing. That being the case, clearly, you’ll have to have expert knowledge on the subject to engage readers and offer them something of value.
On the other hand, if you do reviews of music, being an expert can be secondary to having a real passion and understanding of your subject material.
You may surprise yourself at what you have to offer. The key is to be genuine and write about what speaks to you.
Write Compelling Content
Your passion for your chosen topic should translate into compelling content. Passion alone will go far toward writing effective blog content. However, you should also keep in mind the value of what you are offering.
To ensure good content, ask yourself if what you are providing serves a purpose.
- Does it inform?
- Does it educate?
- Does it provoke thought or reflection?
- What is its purpose?
The internet is a vast place and is full of people with varied interests. As such, your topic of content matters little in comparison to what insights you offer.
Use White Space and Images
In an ideal world, content would be all that matters. But there are practical considerations to take into account when publishing your blog online.
One of those is the visual flow of your blog. This wasn’t always the case, but the rise of mobile internet devices has made this far more important.
If you consider the limited visual size of a phone screen, this issue becomes more apparent. A thought needs to be comprehensible visually all at once.
To achieve this, you need to keep paragraphs short and limited to no more than three or four sentences. Any longer, and you risk readers not comprehending what you are trying to convey.
In addition, images can be important to break up text and create a smooth flow of dialogue. Images are also important for SEO, as image “alt tags” will help Google rankings and help Google further understand what your blog is really about.
There are several reasons to keep posting regularly. Obviously, the primary one is to keep your readership entertained and engaged with fresh content. More pragmatically, regular postings are “proof of life” to Google that your site is still alive, active, and relevant.
Best practice is to construct a regular posting schedule. Whether it be daily, weekly, or monthly, commit to a predictable schedule so your viewership will return and grow.
SEO is always a practical consideration. Even if you have no plans to monetize your blog, at the end of the day, you did create it to be read. If no one can find your blog, there was little point writing it.
Even more important, you want your blog to be found by the right people. That means you need to consider proper SEO.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a central concern for those trying to make a living online. SEO means making sure your site is as visible as possible online to search engines, so your blog will show up if people type in a subject related to it.
Even if you’re just blogging to connect with other people that share your common interest and you’re not blogging as part of your career, you still want to attract the right guests. That’s where good SEO comes into play.
Consider Google for a moment. They’ve developed an AI system that attempts to discern what your web content is about and who would want to view it. As good as it is, at the end of the day, it is “artificial intelligence.” That means it has rules that help it to simulate smart decisions.
To do this, Google does things such as considering the H1 and H2 headers on your website. It also examines “alt text” for your images, to try and determine what your website is actually about.
So, labelling sections of your blog appropriately, as well as providing info for images, is important to your overall Google ranking.
There are many other considerations for creating successful blogs. In fact, the breadth and scope are far outside the possibilities of what can be covered here.
However, there are some fairly universal issues for posting blogs that are useful to consider.
Hosting Your Blog
To blog, you’ll need a place to put it. Publishing it online is what makes it a blog, after all. There are several options depending on your needs and preferences.
Different hosting sites offer different packages, ranging from reserving a domain name for you to offering advanced editing software to extremely inexpensive hosting costs.
It’s encouraged to shop around and choose the solution that fits your needs and budget.
Promoting Your Blog
Of course, there is little point in blogging if it never gets read. Promoting your blog is an art unto itself. Yet, there are some basic, helpful tips to bear in mind.
The easiest way to start is self-promotion on your social media. Be it Facebook, Twitter, or any other account you hold – if you have followers, you have a place to promote your blog.
You can also comment on related blogs belonging to other people. Just be respectful of any rules they might have on posting links.
Ironically, the best way to start is just to start writing.
Once you’ve decided on a general topic and purpose for your blog and established a place for it, the first article can be the most difficult.
It doesn’t have to be perfect; you just need to get over the initial fear of posting. The best way to do that is to not let yourself procrastinate.
Remember that the internet is a huge place. Perhaps your blog won’t appeal to every reader. It may not even be for a majority of people if you are blogging on a niche subject or hobby.
But, the vastness of the internet means there is always a sizeable audience out there for most topics.
So, simply decide what your blog is to be about, find a place to host it, and get started.