Owning a blog is all well and good, but it doesn’t help if it isn’t optimised correctly. You can spend hours upon hours getting the design perfect, but if it hasn’t got the correct SEO techniques in place then its existence is next-to-pointless.
So what can you, the blog owner, do to optimise your blog? If you follow these steps then your blog will definitely compete against other blogs in your industry, so prepare yourself as this will take time and effort, but it’ll all be worth it in the end.
1) The look of your website counts, everyday I come across blogs using the default template offered by the service provider. Not only is this unattractive but it is also off putting. It demonstrates that the owner of the blog doesn’t cherish it as much as other blog owners do; this isn’t good if you, the owner, want visitors to continue to visit.
2) The colour scheme matters, by finding the perfect mix of colours your visitors will thank you. It doesn’t matter whether you like the colour, the colour scheme depends around the topic you have chosen for your blog. Think about your audience and not yourself, you won’t regret it.
3) By including an RSS you will help visitors keep up to date with your latest posts. Where you place your RSS matters, by dropping it to the bottom of your page you may as well forget about including it, but including it near your links will influence more users to use the RSS.
4) The famous RSS logo, everyone knows it, everyone knows what it does, by including it on your blog you will help persuade visitors to subscribe to your blog and keep up to date with your latest blog posts.
5) OK, so maybe I’ve over exaggerated the “everyone knows what it does”, but allowing visitors to receive posts Via Email you will help eradicate the remaining few who don’t understand RSS but do understand emails.
6) Back to your RSS again, its decision time. Do you want to include full or partial feeds? By including full feeds your blog won’t receive the attention it deserves, but by including partial feeds in your RSS visitors will have to visit your blog to view your full post. Sure, full feeds have their advantages, not everyone wants to have to move from one site to the other to read different posts, so by including advertisements in your RSS you will help motivate visitors to visit your blog for more information. There is also the option of including two versions of an RSS feed, I recommend choosing one, but this is down to personal preference and the preference of your readers, so choose carefully.
7) Yes, this is another point about your RSS; I promise this is the last one. If you do use snippets with your RSS then ensure you make them compelling else readers will ignore your posts. By making them gripping, you will help encourage your readers to view the full entry on your blog.
8) The way you write has a huge impact on whether readers stay or go. If you write like an un-educated moron then you’ve no hope in hell of keeping the readers attention. By using correct spelling and punctuation, readers will continue to read your well written post to the end. Paragraphs are beneficial for huge articles as it can become a headache finding where you last read up to after blinking. Typos are also just as bad. I myself am a victim of including one or two typos in my posts, but by finding typo after typo I end up becoming frustrated and leave the post before I reach the end, not good at all. So make sure you read your content before posting.
9) Fonts, fonts, fonts. Everyone has a preferred font, admit it, you do. I myself favour Arial, but that is a personal opinion which I am entitled to, as are you. So by reading blog posts which have been posted in a “cool”, “trendy” font, I may as well read hieroglyphics. Also, you must take into account that not everyone has the fonts installed on their computer, meaning the time you put into discovering this font could have been put into optimising your RSS feed (just kidding). Use a standard font and a standard size with your posts, it may look boring but at least your visitors will actually be able to read your posts.
10) Can you drive a car to a location without a road? Maybe, but it’d be very difficult. This is no different for the navigation of your website. Make sure it is easy to find and easy to use, because not everyone knows how to move around a website as easily as others. It is also beneficial to include links to other websites you may own, such as another blog or a company website. By including links to other websites visitors will be encouraged to visit these other websites too.
11) In a previous post on our blog I explained the benefits of website speed in this present time, due to Google ranking websites through speed as well as search engine optimisation. Your blogs speed is just as important, and by leaving it to load as slow as a snail you may lose readers in the process, bad times for your blog. Find a decent host and invest some money to get the best service for your blog, your readers will appreciate it.
12) Alas, widgets, some can be cool and some can be beneficial, but are all your widgets necessary? By having a large number of widgets your blogs loading time will be decreased by a margin, this margin may result in the loss of a few readers. Is it worth losing readers over that cool looking widget that shows a swimming fish? No, I didn’t think so.
13) Your post titles matter, I make decisions through reading the title. If the title doesn’t seem relevant to what I desire then I won’t read it, simple. It may not always be your fault, some blog software includes the blogs name in every post title automatically, but this is only a waste of space if you are not a well known blog.
14) Have a look at your CSS, does it look a mess? It probably does. Not everyone can be bothered to keep it all organised, but it is very beneficial for you. By placing your CSS in an external file it will help de-clutter your web pages.
15) POST. I repeat, POST. If you don’t post then you might as well give up now and raise the white flag. If you post frequently then search engine bots will visit your blog regularly. Search engines love fresh material, so it only makes sense to keep feeding the bots new posts.
16) Is your blog post about an existing story? If so, then link back to the story and other blogs reporting about the same story. By doing this you will make other bloggers aware of your blogs existence. This may also increase the odds that they will link back to you in a blog post in the future.
17) Anchor texting exists for a reason; it helps visitors find other pages by finding descriptive links. These links can include keywords, which mean only one thing, optimisation. You can never have enough optimisation, right?
18) Not every post you create is going to be unique, it’s hard to come across something that no one else has posted about, but by creating at least one unique story then it will get attention. Search engines may appreciate fresh material but so do people. Your post may reach a point where every blog is talking about it, which means your blog will definitely spike in traffic. Not only will you receive more traffic, you will also encourage readers to visit more often for more unique stories. The more the better, so use your brain and think hard, your post may take a lot of time to write but it will be worth it in the end.
19) Plugins can help your blog, and one plugin that can help is included related posts with each post. This will help readers find other posts relevant to a chosen topic, giving your blog more exposure. Blog posts will eventually hide away amongst other posts, so by helping visitors find these posts you will give these other posts more attention.
20) Ping ping, round one! Well, actually, there are as many rounds as there are posts, my bad. You must ping your blog posts to give them immediate exposure to search engines, if you don’t ping then you may be waiting weeks before it is finally found. This will only make you look the fool if your post is behind the times by a long shot, and no one likes to look the fool so don’t let that happen to you.
21) Your domain name counts. By using the free domain name you are given a domain name which commonly includes the blog hosting companies name in. By owning your own domain name you will be able to help optimise keywords for your blog and help visitors find your blog easier by purchasing an easy to remember domain name. If a blog name you desired has already been bought then think about investing some money into purchasing this domain name, it not only gives your blog a personal feel but it may be the websites everyone is talking about in the future.
22) Don’t let people spam your blog and don’t let yourself become one of those people, it’s a vicious circle and it will only land your blog in trouble. By using tools available on the market you will be able to manage both comment and trackback spam, which will help your website avoid being penalised by search engines.
23) Use a decent URL structure with every post. Most blogging platforms allow you to customise your blog posts permalinks from the default style. The easier to read the easier for bots to crawl, so ensure it is structured correctly.
24) When writing a post find 1-3 different categories relevant to it. By categorising your posts correctly you will help readers find posts in a certain criteria. This will encourage readers to find and read older posts that may not have got found before.
So remember, the better optimised your blog is the better traffic your blog will receive. If you don’t want to optimise your blog then that’s fine, but if you end up at the bottom of the pile then you can only blame yourself.