Blogging is more than just writing a few words and posting them to your website.
In practice, blogging centers around capturing the attention of your visitors through storytelling. Your stories may highlight the latest industry trends or your upcoming product launch.
Bloggers also must consider the content layout and image selection along with search engine optimization techniques. That way, you can engage visitors and continue to boost traffic.
Here are seven blogging best practices to keep in mind when starting your blog.
1. Craft concise paragraphs
Most visitors don’t read web pages like they read a novel or magazine. Instead, when visitors land on your site, they probably scan through it—looking for answers to their specific questions. Plus, they simply don’t have the time to read every single word.
When creating your blog posts, you’ll want to use concise paragraphs and avoid big blocks of texts. Copywriter Henneke Duistermaat offers more advice:
“You [can] eliminate excess words to create an enjoyable rhythm and a pleasurable reader experience. You allow your readers to dance through your content, feeling light and airy. You communicate your message with more clarity and strength.”
Another good tip is to use bullet points to emphasize your key points. You also can try limiting your sentences to 20-25 words for quick scanning.
2. Use relevant keywords
Keyword research is most effective when you understand your target audience and know how they are searching for your content. For instance, long-tail keyword searches have a click-through rate of 3% to 5% higher than generic searches.
Relevant keywords may include industry topics, customer questions, or even a unique aspect of your products. When uncovering new keywords, you will notice that search volume varies greatly. In some cases, you’ll want to focus on target keywords with a low search volume because they are less competitive.
A wide variety of tools exist to help you with keyword research. Check out this list to strengthen your SEO strategy.
3. Reduce the size of your images
Images act as a support aid to give context to your words. Infographics can explain complex concepts, and photos can humanize your content beyond the random stock images.
However, more images can cause your website to load slower. Somesh Khatkar, the co-founder of Imagekit, writes:
“If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, users are more likely to abandon it, which will drastically increase your bounce rate, and eventually affect your conversions.”
Image optimization is the process of decreasing the image file size without losing its quality. When you reduce the size, your visitors get the content they want faster.
Luckily, it’s easier than ever to compress your images and maintain the same level of quality. Try TinyPNG to compress PNG and JPEG images or the open-source app ImageOptim.
4. Add meta descriptions for each blog post
A meta description is an HTML element that summarizes the content of a specific webpage. It appears in the search engine results along with the title of the page.
Visitors use these summaries to help them find relevant information. So much so that 43% of people click on a given result, solely based on the meta description. That’s why it’s important to create a meta description that piques the interest of potential visitors.
Your meta description should include relevant keywords while communicating the benefits of visiting the page. Give visitors a brief insight into what they will learn. In the example below, the meta description highlights why blue flowers are fantastic and the best conditions for planting them.
Pro Tip: eep your meta descriptions concise. Experts recommend a length between 50-160 characters.
5. Add internal and external hyperlinks throughout your blog
Internal and external links play an integral role in your blog’s SEO strategy. When they’re relevant to your content, these links can improve your website’s visibility and rankings on search engines.
Internal links direct your visitors to targeted pages on your site; on the other hand, external links lead visitors to other websites. For your external links, choose authoritative sites with trustworthy material. Kali Bizzul, a senior marketing manager at Verblio, says:
“Your willingness to include valuable external links demonstrates that you care about your readers. Instead of wanting to greedily hold onto every second of their attention, you provide them with the resources they really want and need to fully explore the topic.”
You’ll also want to include clear and specific anchor text to the linking page to ensure visitors don’t get confused when they land on the next page.
6. Publish new blog posts consistently
Blogging is often referred to as a marathon because it takes consistent publishing to earn more traffic. Companies that publish more than 16 blog posts per month get nearly 3.5 times more organic traffic than those that publish 0-4 monthly.
To make blogging a habit, you’ll want to map out how long it takes you to create a blog post. For example, if it takes you 15 days, you can designate specific days to do keyword research, write the post, and source images. This strategy helps you avoid the rush to develop a quality post in a few days.
If possible, you also may want to hire a freelancer to help you with the blogging process. Maybe the freelancer can focus on the SEO part, while you concentrate on the writing.
7. Promote your blog content
Oftentimes, bloggers publish amazing content and forget the importance of promoting it. Without an effective content distribution strategy, you’ll lose the opportunity to attract interested visitors to your website.
Spread the word by sharing new posts with subscribers on your email list. Or you can use social media to promote your content. Will Blunt, the founder of Blogger Sidekick, provides a few tips:
“Social platforms are crowded, so there’s no guarantee interested people will see and share your content. To improve your content’s visibility, target interested people directly. Use a tool like BuzzSumo to find social media users who share content like yours.”
There’s also the option to share blog post links to members of a Slack or Facebook group. Just make sure content promotion is part of the group’s guidelines.
Cultivate Your Blogging Best Practices
Blogging is an ongoing adventure to grab your audience’s attention. From using relevant keywords to publishing on a consistent basis, you can earn more organic traffic for your website.
Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Originally from Louisiana, Shayla champions access to remote work opportunities. Connect with her on Twitter at @shaylaprice.