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Tried and tested Blogging Tips – from a relatively experienced blogger

When I started blogging about 18 months ago now – I wrote a post sharing tips on what I was doing.  Down the line, I thought it would be useful to update those tips and share some other pointers.  I say 20 Tips – but  it may extend beyond that.  Some 18 months later my passion for blogging is still there.  I’ve learned quite a bit about blogging over the past year – and keen to continue on this learning curve.  But meanwhile, I thought I’d share my ‘hands on’ Top 20 tips with you:

1) Keep your posts relatively short. Having researched blogging to a good degree – then 500-800 words seems to be a good benchmark.  Short and concise is ok.

2) Keep your posts varied. Have some posts that are very factual – drawing on information that will help the users. Make some light and humorous so that the user understands that whilst you know your stuff, you’re not taking life too seriously. And they get an insight to your personality. Make some posts a little controversial or challenging the user – to stimulate conversation.

3) Always watch your spellings. Poor spelling really does hinder credibility.

4) Use images in a post to break up the text and add some relevant interest. Check out www.flickr.com or www.istockphoto.com or www.fotolia.co.uk for some cheap yet very good quality shots.

5) Create attention grabbing headings. The piece of advice I came across (Hubspot webinar which was pretty useful) advised that you should write the headline imagining that the user won’t even see the article. So the headline has to grab attention and tell the story.

6) Use keywords where you can – in headers and throughout the content of the article.

7) Keep it going. Stick to a tight publishing schedule. Blogging pays off over time – it’s a marathon rather than a sprint and it takes time to build up relevant and optimised content. In my early days of blogging, I set my schedule to publish 3 times a week.  However, once a week would be great.  The challenge is that I now manage blog content for clients – and so whilst I have assistance from other writers – it’s not necessarily writers block that stops me posting – but more a case of having interesting and relevant comment to share.  I follow Seth Godin – and I’ve blogged about the fact that it’s not really ‘me’ to just chirp on about philosophical snippets each day.  However, I’m conscious that whilst first and foremost I write for an audience – it’s definitely useful to write for the ‘bots’ too – so to assist with SEO – I am going to try and pick up the frequency – without damaging my credibility for writing with integrity and authoritative content.

8) Insert a call to action such as Subscribe to Blog on the site so that users can easily subscribe. I use www.feedblitz.com but there are many others www.feedburner.com is popular too.  And of course – you can subscribe to my blog here…(smile).

9) Claim your blog on Technorati – Google Blogsearch and Technorati are the two main ways that people search for blogs. That way others can find your blog.  The Blog paper is another good one to sign up to – I’m loving what they are doing at the moment.

10) Promote links to your blog on your website and in email footers, businesscards and other off and online relevant marketing materials.

11) Get your blog noticed by publishing links on social media vehicles such as Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Linked In (all social spaces relevant to your industry).  (See my Social Media posts for more on this).

12) Try and provide one piece of practical ‘how to’ advice in each blog post. That way the user will learn that you are always going to provide something useful.

13) Don’t focus your posts around selling your products – users will switch off to this. What you should be focusing on is positioning yourself as someone, or a business, that is able to share advice, news and information which will prove useful to your readers (growing authority in the space). Remember, blogging is not about directly ‘selling’ your services – it’s a platform where you can advise and share information and knowledge about your products, services or expertise. Perfect ‘conversational’ marketing.

14) Be creative with where you procure your content – if you have published materials offline, then recreate them online. Duplicate content is a spiders web and I’m still figuring out what you can and can’t do, but what is clear is that you can post links to your site – and encourage the user to read the entire post via your site. (Hence why a great attention grabbing headline is necessary!). Top 10, 20 lists are good (hey, I’m practising what I preach) – but keep your posts mixed, don’t make every post a list! (Back to point 2 above).

15) Write short excerpts of your blog post – not duplicating the content – but summarising what your post and blog is about. Creating a short excerpt which is unique content each time, is a good tactic for giving users a taste of what the blog post is about, enables you to use keywords within the excerpt – and you can post this to social media sites to share news about your blog in a safe (non duplicate content way).

16) Follow the leader – if you find a respected and popular blogger/expert who focuses on areas you are interested in, your business area, subject etc – then write a post commenting on their post. Always cite the name of the author and provide the url directly back to the post you are talking about. This way you are joining ‘high volume’ and relevant and targeted conversations. And if you’re views matter – then they will be picked up on by others reading the ‘leaders’ blog.I have done a little of this  and have grown my blog subscription and my Twitter followers with some highly relevant and influential people.  And it’s amazing how far reaching your blog post can get – set Google Alerts on your name – and you’ll see where your posts turn up (be sure to include your name in your sign off signature on each blog post of course) .

17) As well as having a formal call to action – such as subscribe to blog, always ensure you include a link at the bottom of your blog post encouraging the user to subscribe and citing your blog’s URL.  And your name and perhaps a short bio! You’ll see that I do this below… (don’t forget to use the http:// before the www. url to ensure it links).

18) Be prepared to review lots of blogs, see what’s working for others and learn about blogging the hands on way. Whilst I’m no longer a newbie to blogging, I still learn new things about it every day… I don’t have to accept everything I read –but remain open to learning.  Best to try a tactic and see if it works for you.

19) Join relevant forums and start joining in conversations – I’m a regular participant on http://www.ukbusinessforums.co.uk – and I regularly throw in a blog post thread into the forum for debate. I once posted a piece titled: Is your ringtone part of your personal brand. It caused quite a response on the forum – and is still adding traction to my blog. Warning: I don’t recommend doing this every time you are on the forum as people will think you are just there to flog your blog – but you can throw a post in occasionally, particularly if it’s worthy of debate – or relevant to a topic – and provided you position it correctly – ie: you’re looking for feedback, doing research etc – then it can work in a forum arena.

20) Always keep the user in mind. Remember, people are far more interested in what you can do for them than what you do – so always aim to add value via your blog posts.

Happy blogging.

For more marketing news, views, tips and advice why not subscribe to my blog

Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative – a graphic design and marketing services agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire.  The agency covers all aspects of graphic design and marketing – covering social media marketing and website planning and website design.

Comments

Comment from Lucy D
Time March 29, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Thanks for this posting – we’ve been considering setting up a blog for our website (http://www.launchmarketing.co.uk/) and this has been really useful. We recently launched and keen to direct more traffic to the site – think a blog would be a great starting point – although finding the time?!

Comment from Adrian Swinscoe
Time November 17, 2010 at 9:40 am

Hi Michelle,
These are some great tips. Only some of which I have picked up on my blogging journey (11 months short) I try to do many of these and have been working out what works for and what doesn’t. I tend to hover around the 400-500 words mark for each post…..bite sized chunks work for me but need to work out (more) what works for my readers a bit more.
Adrian

Comment from Wendy Kier
Time December 18, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Hi Michelle,

Really great blogging tip! As a new blogger you have given me lots to think about.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been creating what I call open learning blog posts. By creating polls on the blog post the readers can actively have their say which is really great fun. I find the challenge is getting people from 1 platform to another.
I use Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter I find that it is a real challenge to get people leaving comments on a blog post they will however actively comment in LinkedIn and Facebook and Tweet.

Why do you think people are less likely to comment on a blog post?

Happy Christmas

Wendy

Comment from admin
Time December 20, 2010 at 9:09 am

Hi Wendy – I like the concept of the polls running on the blog posts – good way to engender some interaction. You’re right though about getting people to comments on blog posts. If you look at heavy commented blogs such as http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com or http://www.econsultancy.com and http://www.hubspot.com – you’ll see that blogs such as these attract a high number of comments. I think this boils down to the basic – ‘what’s in it for me’ – as there is generally recognition that those blogs and the comments are widely read and shared – and so there’s always the opportunity of getting picked up – someone liking your comments and checking you out. Another big factor is content – and content integrity. If the content of the blog fits with what you are about – then you are more likely to want to contribute. And so it’s ensuring that the right audience are seeing your blog – and that’s a lot to do with getting exposure. I’ve read a number of cracking articles on blogs which have no or low subscribers – but the content is superb – I do endeavour to link to those in my blog – and hopefully, this pattern of sharing and promoting could lead to those that are great authority writers and thinkers offering practical opinion and advice – being picked up. On Twitter, Linked In and Facebook – there’s an immediacy – and again, a simple comment on linked in is going to get tracked by the search engines – so it adds some value. That said, one of my resolutions for 2011 is to comment on posts where I have a viewpoint – and make more of an effort to contribute and feedback, regardless of popularity. It’s a long game – and so my advice is to keep at it – comment on other blogs, keep writing great pieces – try out different incentives to engender interactivity. Sending best wishes for a great Christmas. And thanks for the comment… Michelle

Comment from Wendy Kier
Time December 20, 2010 at 9:32 am

Thanks Michelle,
You have given me lots to think about!
I look forward to reading your 2011 posts
Wendy

Comment from Eva
Time May 9, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Thank you for these great tips. I am just about to start my own blog, and your article gives me some really useful pointers. I saved in my my favourites:-)

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Time June 9, 2011 at 10:37 am

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