After 4 years of non-stop writing you learn more than a thing or two about blogging, not necessarily out of brightness but out of effort and an incessant process of trial and error. Yes, successful blogging is a bumpy road that not only depends on your content but also on your survival abilities in a not so friendly environment. It’s no secret that content is king but that is not a free ticket to top ranking positions if you don’t take into account external factors so spiders and search engine algorithms find what you have to say. Nothing is an absolute truth here and there are different formulas to bring visitors to your site. I am no guru but I can share my particular experience. Maybe they work for you too. Here are my favorite ten quick tips to make your blog stand out:
1. Content is king: Obvious things are easily overlooked and many times we complain not to have traffic after doing so much for our blogs. We have a wonderful template, a bunch of interesting links and an impeccable style but we leave content unattended. Let’s face it, people come to you to find something useful, interesting or educational. They can be sympathetic with your personal problems and even share your political views or your philosophy but when you don’t give anything in return, when you don’t hear back the conversation is lost. Content is the best way to attract spiders which in turn bring visitors in an endless loop. Content must be original and if collected elsewhere you should mention the source. Many times I do take information from a lot of authors. When I do, I try not to take whole excerpts and limit myself to rephrasing the text. Think of it as making a composition at school and consulting books in the library. You document yourself and then try to tell your own story.
2. Style: There are many things that influence your style, knowingly or unknowingly. Pace, vocabulary, tone, word color, figures of speech, sentence structure. Not that you have to become a literary critic but being aware of the elements won’t harm you. Maybe a simple list will do sometimes. To me many posts are like a short story with an introduction, a development, a climax and a conclusion. With that in mind, the storyline can be changed in many ways. Spelling is very important as well. If you analyze your audience by segments of age and educational level you would be surprised at how your style can influence on the resulting data. Google algorithm indirectly does take into account style because it uses latent semantic indexing. But that you don’t need to know now.
3. Be colloquial or grandiloquent when the topic requires it. Say the post is about Art Nouveau, well, you might need a more complex vocabulary than that you would use to describe a recipe. Don’t be pompous though. Sound near to your readers. Don’t approach content as the author but through the eyes of your future readers. Ask yourself what is it you would like to find in your blog.
4. Find yourself a good topic: Your topic is an asset and market rules apply. You have something that others want and are willing to ‘pay’ for. Before going around in circles with no topic of your own, determine what your blog will be about. It would be great to talk about matters you are keen on.
6. Choose a great title and make the article or post be concordant with it: How many times have we written a wonderful article and seen it drift away from top ranking positions just because we chose the wrong title and what’s worse we forgot concordance. With real time search and the pressure of our competitors, the situation is no better. Try using combinations of keywords that your ‘rivals’ did not think of and if they have, use a synonym, or add an extra word relevant to your niche. Sometimes it’s no use fighting for obvious niche keywords
7. Buy a domain of your own: As silly as it may be, a dot com really makes the difference.
8. Links: Don’t be afraid of linking to good content no matter how low their pagerank is and do not ignore internal links. After years of blogging, I’ve noticed that my PR has not been affected by linking to low PR blogs with relevant information. And remember, the more internal links you include the easier it will be for robots to crawl your content and for visitors to find interesting older posts.
9. Avoid bad link neighborhoods: sometimes you don’t see what is behind that beautiful site you have just linked to. Next time try using tools like this text link checker to determine if your links affect the way search engines see your blog. You may be associating to sites with illegal content and that is penalized.
10. Social networking: Last but not least, it is essential that you build your presence on the web, sell your product, not only from your blog but from social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Posterous, Flickr, Reddit and so on. Don’t forget using your mobile phone if you have to. Try to be everywhere at any time, that is my best advice.