If there are two important life lessons I’ve learned in my 16 years (gasp!) of blogging, they are these:
- There’s something new to learn every day
- It is always important to remember the basics.
In the course of time, as we become experts at what we do, it always helps to keep a check list of the basics to see if we’re missing something.
Let me give you an example.
I created a draft on my blog some months ago. I do that all the time. So, when I came across it, I thought, why not publish it. And did. Now the next thing one does is to see the published post, right? I did. It was missing. I just couldn’t crack the mystery. I could see it was published – then it occurred to me to click the “view” button. And guess what? It was published with the old date. What a headache! It led to a lot of googling to figure out how to make it appear. Sure, I could have changed the date, but you know, because of my link structure that would lead to a dud page. All I had to do was to check that the date was current before posting. D’uh!
So, I thought, why not compile a check list of basic points that will help us get the most out of our blog. Now, not everything may apply to everyone, but at some point, you might find it useful.
12 Tips To Make Your Blog Better
1. Structure your content
Let’s face it. With millions of blogs and websites vying for the distracted reader’s eyeballs, writing can be a tough baby. While writing amazing posts is not the only way, it certainly forms the foundation.
Ideally, we all want to write attention-grabbing posts and keep our readers reading till the end. And to truly connect with your reader, it is important to write or blog on a regular schedule. So, how to write attention-grabbing posts? I know this topic has been done to death, yet you’ll find even experienced bloggers falling short of some of the universal guidelines that guarantee success. It all begins with writing posts that are easy to read.
Some tips do make posts easy to read AND scannable, because that’s what your readers do as soon as they arrive on your blog. It helps them decide whether they really want to read all of it.
- Write as if you were speaking to a single person.
- Long content is good, but fluff is unacceptable.
- Write a short catchy headline. Put your keyword/phrase at the beginning of the headline. You want your reader to see it as soon as their eyeballs hit the page.
- Highlight your keywords. Link them prominently and make them stand out.
- Split your content into easy to read chunks. Avoid long paras that force your reader to choke to exit and never show up again.
- Format your posts using sub-headings that are direct and to the point.
- Use bullet lists to relieve the monotony of the text. There’s nothing as annoying as yards of text.
- Got facts and figures to quote? Do it! And don’t forget to cite the right sources.
- Talk about one thing per paragraph. If you cram it with your creativity, make sure you do it in the first two lines or it is likely to be skipped.
- Tell your readers in the first three lines what the post is about
- Use simple language, short sentences and short paragraphs to make it easy for the reader.
- Make your words count. Don’t use more words than are necessary to convey your idea. Which means zero fluff. And not beating around the bush.
- Which brings me to jargon. Don’t use it unless relevant to your audience and helps you connect with them.
- Use a warm, conversational writing style rather than a salesy voice that shoves stuff down your readers’ throats.
- If you are referring to existing content on your blog, link to it. It is good for SEO.
- Add images and attractive visuals that are relevant to your post. And oh, put some punch in them to make them pinnable on Pinterest.
I am a big fan of lists and use them liberally to highlight specific parts of the post.
2. Pay attention to keywords
When you understand what keywords bring you the most traffic in your niche, you can optimize your content accordingly. There are free keyword tools like Ubersuggest to help you analyse what works for you so you can build your content accordingly. I used to scoff at keywords. But over the years, thanks to doing the work for clients I’ve realized the importance of paying attention to keywords and phrases that will attract people to your website.
3. Add Images and alt tags
When you write a post, you add images, right? Make sure you add alt tags and captions to your images. This means keywords/phrases that will help search engines direct traffic to your site for those keywords. Also, it tells visually challenged readers what your post or image is all about. So rather than an image title like 81940554.jpg, make it 20 tips to make your blog better. Fill out that alt description for your image after you upload it.
4. Add Internal links
Every time you write a post, link to relevant posts on your website. Google wants you to do that so that their spiders can crawl your site and index these pages and bring you more traffic. So, if you are writing a post that relates to another post on your website, link to it. Also, this will keep readers on your site as they visit other pages via these internal links. Which, in turn, means a lower bounce rate. The longer your visitors stay on your site, the better for your search engine ranking and the lower your bounce rate.
5. Use an SEO plugin
SEO plugins help you assess how well you have optimized your content for the search engines to find you with your keywords and phrases. Plugins like Yoast, Rank Math, etc. provide you with a check list of things to do and rate you on a score of 100 to show you where your content stands. These plugins also give you information about your visitors and what they do when they browse your website. And of course, it goes without saying you should link to relevant other blogs. If you are on a self-hosted WordPress blog, (if you aren’t, you should be!) and use the SEO plug in, you’ll notice how it gives you a detailed analysis of how your post’s SEO fares. That’s a pretty good checklist to follow.
6. Take time to evaluate your existing posts
I know we are all anxious about publishing, publishing, publishing new content. The truth is, your blog can do just as well if you evaluate your existing content and spruce it up, improving its SEO, adding keywords, adding new pins for Pinterest, adding internal links and high-quality external links. The blogging world is changing all the time and it makes sense to do this. Also, your old posts will get more eyeballs when you do this. So based on your Google Analytics data, look at your published content. List out posts that are doing really well, and posts that are not. Promote the high traffic posts. Improve your weak content.
7. Make an editorial calendar
Another thing I used to laugh at. I used to feel rather proud that I write on the fly. But you know what? That doesn’t always work. It is a good idea to plan your content, outline it and be prepared. It also helps you organize your own time and work, especially if blogging isn’t the only thing you work on. Making an editorial calendar helps you do the research in advance, find relevant images, format your content and publish it as planned. There’s truth in the proverb: when you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
It is somewhat like managing your kitchen—planning your meals and ensuring all your ingredients are available before you start cooking. Imagine having to run to the store when the pot is on the stove because you forgot to buy something!
A blog planner helps you organize, plan and implement your blogging activities, including your social media sharing etc. and keeps you productive and successful.
8. Assess your website design
Is your site mobile friendly and responsive? Since most people access websites on the go via their phones, this makes perfect sense, so take this into account when you choose your blog theme. Nothing puts a reader off more than opening a link only to find the page is a mess. Keep it simple and clutter free. And do include a sign-up form to stay in touch with your readers. Email marketing is still the most effective and consistent way to connect with your audience.
9. Make sure you have an About page
I have a most embarrassing confession to make. Almost a decade ago, one of my posts was picked to be featured by a top personal development blogger in his list of “top 20” posts. He wanted to let me know. And he couldn’t figure out how because there was no about page, no contact me page. Ugh. He did manage to find my email and let me know.
Did you know that the About page is perhaps one of the most visited on your blog? Do add information that you want your audience to know. Go ahead and add a video, if you like. Such a great way to connect with your readers!
10. Create a “start here” page
This shows new visitors, or even old ones how to navigate your blog and find what they want. This is a wonderful strategy—and one I’ve been meaning to implement on my own blog for quite some time. I’ve found that when the blogs I visit have a “start here” page, it makes it easy for me to know what they are all about—and a wonderful chance for them to get me to sign up or respond to their call to action. If you have a product or service, this is one of the pages to feature it on. Also, list your best posts. And anything you want your visitor to know.
11. Outsource tasks you can’t handle
I’d be the first to admit that blogging is time-consuming. It doesn’t end with write and publish. There’s so much more to do—and if you manage more than one blog, do not hesitate to outsource activities that take up your time—time you should be spending on things only you can do. It is fine to hire someone to write for you. Make your Pinterest pins and other graphics for you. Manage your social media for you. There are excellent scheduling tools such as Buffer, Tailwind, these days that free up valuable time. Think about it.
12. Connect with bloggers in your community
Perhaps the most important thing to do as a blogger is to build your tribe—a community that will support you and help you grow. Example: LadyBloggersEngage. Your tribe will not only expand your reach but also give you opportunities to guest post, form partnerships, link to your website, share and comment on your content. Not only that, you have access to expertise when you hit a glitch in your blogging or your business. Nothing like brainstorming with a group of like-minded people to give your new perspective. More than anything else, blogging can sometimes be a lonely activity. And we need our gal pals to interact with and keep our spirits up.
At the end of the day, it is important to enjoy what you do and not get stressed out. So be yourself. Let people see and remember your unique side.
I’d love to know your tips to make your blog better in the comments!
Writer, Editor, Blogger, Collecting Smiles.
I write about all the things I enjoy in life: parenting, personal development, health and wellness, books, food, travel, gratitude, mindfulness, happiness–and showing my diabetes who’s boss.