Congratulations on having a blog!
As a platform for sharing your value, thinking and interests with the world, this online property is unmatched for putting any content, in any media, in front of anyone, virtually anywhere. And what makes a blog even better is how well it can raise your online visibility.
Unfortunately, you’re now competing with over 130 million other blogs (growing at over 2 new blogs per second!) for an online audience that is overwhelmed with choices, has limited attention and way too much to see and absorb.
Turn “ho-hum” blog into “oh wow!”
As the barriers to entry for self-publishing get lower with each passing day, it’s reasonable to take away that you’re going to have to do a lot of things right for people to find your value and to have a successful blog.
So in order to grow an audience of readers who will comment, share and further the reach of what you have to offer, what exactly do you have to do to get off to a good start? And more importantly, how can you ensure that you’re doing everything you can to encourage readership by the audience you’re targeting?
By listening to the experts, talking to other bloggers and gleaning from my own experience, the best-practices below are a good place to start. But like with most things, practice, perseverance and consistency usually make the difference between having a blog that’s just “ho-hum” and one that others find “oh wow!”
1. | Share what you know
Translation: Write good stuff. Things that you are passionate about. Things that you have expertise in. Things that inspire you. Copyblogger is a great place for tips and content creation inspiration.
2. | Make a lasting impression
Make sure every post begins with a captivating headline that communicates your content and entices readers to read on. Ensure that your content is easy to look at and read. Your blog theme (and maybe a little CSS editing) should take care of this. But make sure you break up content in easy to read digestable bites with subheads and consistent use of fonts, weights and colors.
3. | Worth more than a thousand words
Visuals: They’re not just eye candy. They are critical elements to story telling that further and enhance the written word. Whether you use pictures, info graphics, video or charts, all images provide the opportunity to improve your message and lift your content’s visibility by attaching key words to it with ALT tags. These tags are critical in helping search engines identify and find your content. Neglect adding them and you risk obscuring what you want others to find.
4. | Beyond the written word
Add video, slides, podcasts and downloads to engage readers, improve connections and extend the reach of your content. Online resources like Flicker for photos, YouTube and Vimeo for video, and SlideShare for posting presentations are great sites that integrate multi-media content to help your posts get noticed and read.
5. | Post to get found
Once you’ve got your content written, formatted and enhanced with visuals, post to your blog and ensure that you include relevant links to other sites or blogs. And most important, make sure you include keyword tags and a descriptive meta tag for your post. These seemingly mundane elements are amazing in how they help search engines raise the search results rankings of your content.
Translation: It means if you tag your stuff with the right keywords, people looking for it will have a much greater chance of finding it when it appears at the top of the search results page. And this is the aspirational goal of what is widely described as SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
6. | Publishing includes broadcasting
When you create content with value, you need to broadcast it. Every post should extend it’s reach by letting your community know that you have created something of value that they should be aware of. Social media channels like Twitter, facebook and LinkedIn are great for this. And you can optimize many of them to automatically broadcast your content by using solutions like the WordPress Linkedin App.
So write a short summary headline of your content and post it to Twitter and your facebook page with a link back to your blog. It will increase traffic and encourage others to share or comment on your post. And once the content is in your social networks, your community can pass it along to others in ways that extend reach and leverage your visibility like never before possible.
7. | Add to directories
Directories like digg, Delicious, Technoratti and others are great ways to extend the reach of your effort. You should set up accounts there and submit your content links to them so that others can find it easily if they are searching within these valuable repositories. Here again, key words and tags will help you immensely in helping to raise the visibility of your content.
8. | Join the discussion
You should be a member of groups on LinkedIn and Facebook and other social communities like BizSugar, Naymz and more. Joining in the discussions in these groups and directing relevant comments back to your blog posts to further a point is a great way to get additional leverage for your content.
Be careful not to be too heavy-handed with this technique as people in a group may quickly discern that you are just interested in self-promotion instead of adding a meaningful or relevant contribution to the conversation.
9. | Search: the metric of success
The best way to see how you’re doing is to search often on as many search engines as you like. Using Google, Bing, Yahoo and others are great ways to test to see if your content can be found just by typing in a few key terms. If you follow these tips, chances are your content will end up high on the search listings. For it is there where people are likely to click to your content and realize the value that you’ve delivered throughout your blog.
What’s working for you?
Do you have suggestions for a regular and consistent approach for improving your blog’s visibility? Please share. And best of luck in the new world of 24/7 publishing!