- Create a clear & concise goal or agenda of the blog
- Write with personality
- State your point and then do it again…and again
- Use specific key words in your H1’s
- Create and outline or a template for the blog
- Gather data and content regularly
- Citing your sources and concrete details
- Blog consistently and deliberately
What is a blog?
A blog is a digital compilation, diary, or journal of topics, news, events, products, services, profiles, or anything really. The platform can be used in several ways, but most notably is for an audience of your friends, family, colleagues, or the general public. Usually the blog posts appear in reverse chronological order with the latest post being the first displayed. Imagine a place where you can store and archive information that others can access freely across the www (okay boomer). Remember the last thing you wanted to look up how to do such as a thai curry recipe? (Yum). That was done through the content stored in a blog with the power of search engine like Google or Bing.
Why is a blog worth the time?
Well, it depends on the goal of your blog. My blog, for example, is a tool I use to market myself to potential employers, contractors, and clients. This is a pool of my knowledge archived in one place to show what I am up to and how I am keeping up with my career, my personal life, and the setting and completion of my goals and milestones. This is important for people who do not know me to learn about me and connect with me on some kind of level.
However, a blog can be used for various other things. Many bloggers in the blogosphere today use it as a platform to generate potential leads for themselves to sell a product or a service (both digital and physical) to a specifically targeted audience. Others use it as the original intended purpose: to talk to people. Back in the early days of the internet, the first blogs were political in nature. They represented certain political parties and institutions as a way to connect with their audiences. Even more, many blogs today use the traffic they get to generate leads for other companies, known as affiliate marketing. Amazon (a prime example heh) uses affiliate marketing very successfully. They offer their affiliates a generous advertising fee of 10% for every purchase generated from the lead of the affiliates link (through the blog).
Create a clear & concise goal or agenda of the blog
Don’t be wordy.
When blogging, use the lesser amount of words possible. I say lesser because you still need substance to be found on the search engines. Google, Yahoo, and Bing search engines currently own ~%90 of the market and you should still have substance in your blog to sustain the search engines and ultimately your audience. Using the lesser amount of word choice will help you to be clear to your audience.
Stay on point, reiterate your point, and use concrete supporting details.
Whatever happened to the MLA formatting? Well, we don’t need to go that far with blogging, but it helps to have at least 3 details per topic (we’ll talk more about this later) and to use different words to describe them. Not only does this help with search engine ranking, but it also helps your readers to find a solution to an issue they’re having which makes you a reliable source of information that they can come back to.
This is where many bloggers can fall into trouble. There is a saying in marketing that many do not understand: if your audience is everyone, then your audience is no one. Choose a topic relevant to your target audience for your blog and then stick with it. Of course there are nuances to any topic, but staying within that realm of specificity is ideal and healthy for a blog.
Write with personality
Use your voice! And write like you normally would talk in real life. It’s okay to use contractions and abbreviations (sometimes) and references to words created out of time periods or culture for sure. There are millions of bloggers in the world, why should anyone listen to you? Give them a reason to listen to you through imagery and imagination of your poetic voice.
Reiterate your point again…and again
Make sure your audience sees the same message over and over. It’s okay to repeat yourself! It’s good to repeat yourself. Repeat after me: “blogging will make my business better.”
Use specific keywords in your H1’s
This is also known as “on-site SEO”. Make sure your keyword is something people are searching for. You can figure this out a couple different ways.
- Research your competition and see what key words they’re using
- For example: if I wanted to figure out what other freelance developer’s were getting picked up for on the search engines, I would type in the search engine “Freelance Web Developer in [my city]”
- Use the keyword in your title, your meta/description, and in the body of your blog
- Use synonyms of your keyword (it’s time to dust off that thesaurus)
- Make sure your title is actually an H1
When I was learning how to “research” keywords I didn’t quite understand how to come up with something that people would actually search for. There are several free and paid tools out there that can help you with this such as MOZ, Ahrefs, and that which cannot be named…keyword planner.
Create an outline or template for the blog
Generally a blog will have some or all of these elements:
A heading with an clear and concise title
A featured image and relevant supporting images
A sidebar with contact information, maybe a newsletter subscription, or external/internal links
Content with a short description and an orderly and relevantly display of the material
And a footer
Gather data and content consistently
Whenever you have an idea you want to jot down or to extrapolate on in long-hand form, research and collect data from relevant sources and make a note of it. This can help you during the process of writing a blog by adding value to your viewers by using legitimate and reputable sources that give clear and [more] definitive answers.
Good sources of information can come from:
- Articles written by authors in relevant fields of study
- Government agencies such as the FBI or CDC
- Collegiate editorials
- Live electronic journals from reputable scientific publishers
A mistake in content gathering and management is citing from 3rd party sources. Although they may be factually accurate, it’s always good to double check and cross reference the primary sources. Tertiary sources can always have more bias and opinion than intended. They can confuse your readers and lead them to conclusions that are not helpful.
Every blogger will end up with more content than they can use. That is a good thing! However, I would get good at writing things down and make use of tools such as the browser bookmarks (demarcated by a star at the end of the URL bar), a google spreadsheet, or screenshots. All these methods have their upsides and downsides, but the important part is that years down the road you want to be able to pull information from resources you’ve gathered. Don’t let your reading go to waste!
Give credit where credit is due (except when it starts with a “G-o-o” heh)
I believe many of you will connect with me on this level towards the feeling of the notorious corporate internet overlords. Nonetheless, cite your sources!
99% of the time a blogger is recycling information that has already been created and either condensing it down in simple terms or is narrowing its relevance to a particular topic or context. If a certain piece has a specific point or applies to certain topic, give your readers the context to that topic, because chances are your blog entry alone will not satisfy their knowledge. Showing your readers that you care by giving them access to the rabbit hole will increase your reputability.
Blog at consistent intervals
What this does is to keep your blog fresh. Many of your visitors will return if you’re constantly updating and making changes because you have established that you’re a reliable source of information. The search engines like this too. It shows that you’re active and gives you more credibility because it indicates you are immersed in the subject and it’s what you love to do.