Social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, have become a primary avenue in distributing information quickly and effectively. At any moment, we can gather information on what’s going on around us. Yet, there is another way that information is being created and distributed daily…through blogs. There are no rules on how to blog, but there are tips that will help yours get noticed.
Are you aware that there are over 900,000 blog posts created daily? Not only is that number astonishing, but as of July 2011 it was estimated that there were 164 million blogs up from 3 million in 2004. As new blogging platforms are available, mostly are for free, anyone can create a blog and possibly reach hundreds and thousands of people daily. Like any marketing plan, a blog must be done correctly to ensure that it’s not lost in the shuffle among the thousands of blogs. Below are suggested tips to improve the appearance and quality of your posts.
1. High Quality Content. When it comes to writing a blog, there’s a great saying: Create quality content, rather than quantity of content. By creating a blog “just because” doesn’t do you any good and it sure doesn’t grab the readers attention. How may times have you started reading a blog and found yourself closing the browser or leaving before you finished the article? It happens to all of us. Do you know that the average person has time to read approximately 28% of the words in a blog post? Don’t let the statistic scare you. To ensure a following, you must write about a topic that you find interesting and passionate about otherwise it will come of as “boring.” It’s been known, that the most successful blogs are created by people who are passionate in the subject they are writing about. Make sure you communicate your main idea within the first 10 seconds, if not, they will find one of the 900,000 that grab their attention on the same subject.
2. Include Images. An image can speak a 1000 words. As a child, do you remember how we always seemed to gravitate towards books and magazines that offered images? Why is that? The image makes the page seem “more interesting” and it’s will grab the readers attention. Well, even as adults, it still seems to still work the same way. It’s important to include an image into your blog, either in the opening paragraph or in the body of the article. Not only can they grab the readers attention, but they also have great Search Engine optimization value as well. Properly using the alt tag and a keyword file name of your image (image included) this will allow it to be optimized for search engines. If you’re unable to find an image, try to generate one on your own. Graphics and original photography can add value to your blog and make it appear more personal than with standard images. There are website that offer free images, such as stock.xchng if you’re unable to use or create one of your own.
3. Short and Simple. There is no right answer on determining how long a blog should be. The type of blog you’re writing will often determine it’s length. Try to mix up the length regularly. Clearly communicate your idea/topic within 10 seconds. Not only is the 10 second rule important, including a clear informative first paragraph emphasizing the topic will more likely keep the readers on your blog and continue reading. Most readers are short on time and their attention span is generally low, it’s been said somewhere in the 96 second range. Without a lot of time, most readers may skim or scan over your material. Try to steer away from publishing long posts unless it is something that requires a lengthy blog. It should take three to five minutes to read a blog and the average length is around 400 – 600 words. If its longer than 600 words, try to incorporate bullets. By creating bullets, this will help break up the information and it will be easier to read than the standard text paragraph.
4. Integrate SEO. Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website in search engines either in the paid or non-paid search results. Using keywords and back links will ultimately help with the ranking of your blog. How can you do that? When creating your blog, include keywords in your title as that’s an effective way to have the audience find your blog topic. Include links to your previous work or another writer’s blog as this will increase the organic search engine optimization. Take time and include useful links, but make sure you’re not over linking your blog. By over linking your blog can make it look more like an advertisement for a product or idea, rather than an informative publication. Remember to name your images by using keywords and descriptive text related to your blog topic.
5. Use Social Media. Sharing your blog online is very important and can be done easily through numerous social media sites. The sites can help you maximize the use of certain social tools such as Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Digg are just a few offered. By creating a Facebook and Twitter profile, take time and install the free Twitter widgets and Facebook plug-ins, allowing you to easily distribute your blog to your friends and followers all at once. Encourage them to share your blog with others. (Read Tweet This, Like That)
6. Consistency. What’s worse than waiting for something you enjoy? Not getting it! When writing a blog, try to stay consistent with publishing your work. Readers are more likely to follow what you have to say if your posting them regularly - either weekly, bi-monthly or monthly. It really doesn’t matter which route you choose, but you should always try and stick to a schedule.
7. Remove Clutter. As mentioned above, it is important to use images, but don’t allow the content and images take over the page. What does that mean? Allow some “white” space throughout your blog. Have you ever seen a website that’s so busy with an array of colors and images making the main objective become completely lost? White or the use of spaces can help make your blog “eye friendly” and easier to obtain the information. If the images and text are too close together, it’s can become hard to read. If you are running into this problem, just think less is more.
When creating the layout for your blog, make sure you keep your readers in mind…make the blog “easy on the eyes” – that means make it easy to scan quickly. By follow these suggestions will ensure you’re on the right path to creating a better blog.
- Create headings and sub headings
- Include bullets to emphasize their importance
- Display images – try to use high quality images or one you have created
- Include quotes if possible
- Make sure you include color (background)
- Bold important words or facts