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Blogging 101 for Beginners

Does size matter? You bet – find out why!

Blogging Mechanics

Blogging strategies by Mark SpragueContent is king if it can be found. At a minimum, the Blog should be accessible from the company home page. Even if you have optimal placement for your Blog, you still need to do your keyword research, and understand how you will work your important keywords into your content. For best results I suggest that you:

  1. Conduct keyword analysis and develop a search behavior model that mirrors your content strategy (click to see a behavior model example).
  2. Choose two primary keyword phrases to work with:
    • A branded primary keyword phrase.
    • A generic non-branded keyword phrase.

When you start developing content, you should think about all the parts of a good post, and how they collectively impact reader perception and search engine rankings. So, let’s dig into the details.

Does Size Matter?

Call now for free Social Media consultationIs a long post better than a short post? Many people think readers do not have the stomach for comprehensive articles. This is especially true if a longer post is poorly written. I think in practice it depends on what you are trying to get across. If you are responding to breaking news, then a short post fits the bill. If on the other hand, you are providing readers with subject matter expertise, it’s very unlikely that you can transfer knowledge of any real value in a short post. You do have the option of breaking a long article into a series of shorter posts for easier consumption. It’s your call.

Keep in mind that from an SEO perspective, search engines like meaty content – this fact will never change.

The Title

As in a main-stream website, the title is very important, so spend time working on it.

  1. Make it catchy and attention-getting – you have just seconds to engage the reader.
  2. Try to work your primary keyword phrase into the title so that your content is easier to find in search engines.
  3. Bold the title, and at minimum use the H1 tag, and if possible use the Title Tag to improve your SEO footprint.

The Introduction

Write a short introductory paragraph that makes a compelling point, and then tell them what the rest of the posting is all about. It would not hurt to follow the journalist’s rule of 5 W’s to deal with who, what, why, when and where if the subject you are writing about has this complexity.

The Body of the Text

The main argument should be well-developed, and be augmented by the following techniques:

  1. Readers like lists of observations such as Top Ten Reasons…
  2. Use links liberally. If you mention a product – link to it. If you mention an industry personality – link to their website. This aids in SEO, and improves content value to the reader.
  3. Spice up the narrative with images and graphs. People are inherently visual.
  4. When you tie it up, leave something open to encourage people to come back and ask you a question. Remember, you want to start a conversation.
  5. Ask the reader a question at the end of the post that generates comments.
  6. Also, ask the reader what they want to read. This will generate ideas you might not think of.

Comments

You have to enable comments, or your Blogging strategy will bear little fruit. Readers don’t really care for Bloggers who don’t want to hear from them. Comments are more important than many people imagine – without them the Blogosphere would not exist. You should have a commenting strategy, and you should:

  1. Make sure you enable trackbacks, so you can track where your posts are being referenced.
  2. Reply to all comments – readers like it.
  3. Comment on your readers’ Blogs with links back to your post.
  4. Comment on other industry Blogs, and reference your foundation articles.
  5. Use a comment tracking service such as those available at:
    1. CoCom­ment
    2. Com­ment­ful
    3. Co.mments

Make it Easier for Readers to Find Your Blog

Writing good content and having a sound keyword strategy provides the foundation for readers using search engines to find your Blog. But, you should make sure that you do two other things to improve your search engine presence:

  1. Develop broad topical categories that you classify each post to. All Blogging platforms allow you to do this. Base your categories on AdWords data.
  2. Tag each and every post with your primary and secondary keywords. Include synonyms as well.

Housekeeping

It goes without saying – make sure that you proofread, and edit your post. It does not make sense to waste one of your bullets on your big toe.

Blog layout:  You don’t have to navigate very far to find tricked-out Blogs with sidebars that have a dozen useless widgets that do nothing but detract from the content. I suggest that you keep it clean, and remove widgets if they do not support the content. You should deploy no more than three of these widgets – at most. Clean design matters.

A couple of observations:

  1. Tag clouds convey very little useful information, and do nothing but add to clutter.
  2. The scheduling widget is useless, and only casts you in a poor light if you miss a publishing deadline.
  3. Archiving posts by month is user unfriendly. No user is going to dig through three years of post to find what they are looking for. It’s better to archive your content by topics.
  4. If you have a lot of content, deploy the search widget.
  5. The reader’s experience should be about content, content, content – not widgets, widgets, widgets.

Liquid display technology allows a webpage to resize itself to fit the real estate available on your monitor. This may be useful in an e-commerce website, but is a poor choice for a Blog. The reason newspapers use a column format is because it aids in readability. A liquid display on a 22 inch wide-screen monitor provides a very unfriendly reading experience. Your readers will find it annoying to read a sentence that is 20 inches long.

Find Out More

To find out more about optimizing content for your website and the Enterprise send me an email at Mark@MSprague.com or call me now at 781-862-3126.

Lexington eBusiness Consulting

About Lexington eBusiness Consulting

Mark Sprague’s 25 years of product development experience which includes expertise in Search Engines, Information Products, SEO platforms and Social Networking applications provide in-depth expertise to help you refine products and services, and improve your web sites performance by:

  • Developing a superior data-driven SEO strategy for your website.
  • Understanding your customers’ search behavior and normalizing it to your content strategy.
  • Understanding how search engine technology practically impacts SEO and content strategies.
  • Understanding how search technology impacts content in a social networking environment.
  • Developing a superior user experience based on sound information architecture, usability and coding standards.

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Mark Sprague,  CEO
580 Lowell Street
Lexington, MA 02420

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Tweets that mention Blogging 101 « Lexington eBusiness Consulting: Mark Sprague's Blog -- Topsy.com
    Jul 28, 2010 @ 16:31:05

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