To set up a blog and get up and running takes you just a few minutes, to become a successful blogger and start attracting readers could take you months. But there are a few best practices you’ll need to put in place in other to get more readers at the shortest possible time and keep them growing. Believe me, if I say this, blogging could be a full-time job.
In this post, I’ll give you tips and best practices you could add to your blogging workflow to write pretty unique and interesting articles. I’ll be focusing more on WordPress, but some tips and techniques will definitely be applicable for any blogging platform you’re using.
If you haven’t create a blog yet, you may need to read this post Thinking of Starting a Blog first and then come back to this post later. This post is actually meant for those who already have a blog up and running and want to go a little further.
Over the years of being a blogger, I have definitely learned so many techniques along the way, which I’m actually going to share with you. Now let’s look at the best practices you may add to your blogging workflow.
Blogging (Best Practices)
Blogging might look something easy but there are many things you should put into consideration for you to become a successful blogger.
As a blogger you should be creative and keep adding new contents to your blog frequently, you don’t want visitors to find the same content every time they visit your blog. Blogs are meant to be dynamic.
So you should always make sure that your blog looks good, updated and informative so that visitors will always want to come back for something new.
1. Use Catchy Titles and Descriptions
One of the most important things in blogging is using the right title for a post. Most bloggers would write first and then give a title later and others like me give a title first and then write later. No matter how you do it just make sure you have a catchy title.
Your post titles and post meta descriptions are the first things your readers see especially when you post it on social media, so they better be catchy to attract people to click and read.
2. Write At Least a Minimum of 300 Words
Avoid writing short posts, always give your readers detailed information about a certain topic. This could make your readers to always come back for more. Compose a well-formatted post and use a font size of at least 14pt for good readability. Use heading styles like Heading 1 or Heading 2 for titles. Using heading styles is also good for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Headings help Google to grasp the main topics of a long post. Google might scan your post as well and why not make that as easy as possible?
3. Avoid Plagiarism
Try to always write your own content and avoid copying and pasting directly from other people’s content in your posts. Even if you do, you should cite the source or give credit to the original author. Your blog could lose credibility if you don’t avoid plagiarizing.
4. Be Resourceful and Creative
It’s fairly important to be a resourceful person as a blogger. Try to always write about topics that are of importance and creative. You always need to think out of the box and wow your readers, let them feel satisfied after reading your post and that could make them click on the next post and then the next one.
5. Add Images to Your Post
A post with only text could be boring to your readers. Always try to insert images related to your blog post with good quality and alt attributes. This will spice up your articles and make them more interesting.
Try not to use copyrighted images. Create your own images if possible. You can get free images from freeimages.com.
6. Always Attach a Featured Image to Your Posts
A featured image is an image that appears at the top of your blog post or when you share your blog post on social media. The featured image should match with your post title. When you publish a post without a featured image, usually, the first image will be automatically be used.
When I started blogging I wasn’t using featured images, because I didn’t know how useful they were to my blog posts. So I decided to create a featured image template using Photoshop so that my featured images can be consistent.
7. Allow Blog Subscription
To turn your readers into subscribers you may need to allow them to subscribe to your blog to receive email notification of every blog post you make. Try by all means to add a blog subscription form somewhere visible on your blog. This is a great way to improve traffic to your blog which may lead your blog being ready to attract advertisers.
8. Use Read More…
Make sure you always use the read more option before publishing your post in the visual editor or on WordPress you can go to Settings > Reading and choose Summary.
If this is not done whenever your subscribers receive an email notification of new posts they will be able to read the post within the email without going to your site to read more, this is not good for your blog’s traffic.
With the read more option they will only see an excerpt of the post on their emails with a read more link that will take them to your blog to continue reading.
9.Easy Navigation and Post Categories
Give your readers an easy navigation to your posts and pages. Categorise your blog posts to allow readers to choose posts they are interested in, place a search box somewhere visible on your blog, and making sure your post page is your home page so that when readers visit your blog they will see your latest posts.
You can simply create a post category within the visual composer in WordPress.
If you’re running a blog where you write on different areas; make sure you have a menu or a drop-down list of your post categories to make it easier for your readers to navigate to posts they are interested in.
10.Work on SEO
Search Engine Optimization(SEO) is a very important thing to consider when blogging. SEO is the way your blog or website ranks on search engines. By setting up keywords, post descriptions, alt attributes, readability techniques etc. it improves your posts rank on major search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo. If you’re using WordPress I recommend the Yoast SEO plugin, which analyses your post and make recommendations on what you need to improve on your post.
Remember there might be thousands of bloggers writing about the same topic as you’re but why when that topic is searched on search engines some appear to rank higher than others? Well, it may be that they have a better SEO technique than others. That’s why it’s important to always apply common keywords on your posts, short titles, at least 300 words or more, using alt attributes on images, short paragraphs to improve readability etc…Just think if it was you, how are you going to search for a particle post? People use keywords to search for things on search engines. So your keywords better make sense.
11. Add Links to Your post
When composing a blog post try to include links to give your readers more resources. This could be a link to another post you wrote related to the current one or to an external resource.
12.Link to Social Pages or Profile
For your blog post to be reached by many readers you may want to consider linking it to your social media profiles or pages.
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google +, WhatsApp and others. This could tremendously boost your traffic.
You can also make sure at the bottom of each post there are social media share buttons; to let your readers be able to share it on social media.
To achieve this on WordPress, go to Settings > Sharing and connect your social media profiles or pages. Now when a post is published on your blog it will automatically be shared on your social media profiles. For self-hosted WordPress users, you will need to install and activate the Jetpack plugin to have this feature.
13.Monitor Blog Traffic
You may need to monitor your blog traffic to get statistics of hits on your blog. Fortunately, wordpress.com has a statistics feature called WordPress.com Stats. This lets you know how many visits your blog gets, and what posts and pages people visit each day or where did they click it from. This gives you a fantastic amount of information about your blog traffic.
If you prefer using an alternative analytics tool like Google Analytics then create a Google Analytics account first and then install and activate the MonsterInsights plugin and place the tracking code there. Get started with Google Analytics.
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Ousman Faal [Digital Vigilante] is a Tech Entrepreneur & Digital Skills Trainer who teaches both in the classroom and online. He has experience in various technologies and likes sharing it with others. Ousman has published 144 articles on this blog. He is the CEO of Faalen Technologies and Skills.gm.