The Most Important Things I’ve Learned About Blogging

Blogging is a lot harder than I thought. I created this blog 5 months ago, but have been writing for print and the web for nearly 10 years. However, blogging is very different. When writing for the news or for magazines, you already have an established audience. You know your stuff is going to be read and that you are going to get paid. Blogging is like sending a paper you spent hours (or even days) writing, out into a massive sea of blog posts and hoping it’ll get read. And you hardly get paid for it. So, what the heck?! I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but dang the learning curve is real here. So how will your blog get noticed? How can you make your blog stand out?

I’m currently studying social media marketing, so I use every lesson I learn to my blogging advantage. Each newspaper or magazine has an established brand- a look, a feel, a vibe, and an audience of loyal readers. I knew I had to work hard to make that happen for my blog. To be honest, I’m not even there yet. But, I’m well on my way! I wanted to share some very helpful things I’ve picked up along the way through school and just actual blogging itself!

It Takes Time To Define Your Blog Brand And Establish An Audience For You Blog

What’s the purpose of your blog? If it’s a hobby, treat it as such. If it’s paying your bills, treat it like a job… Prioritize your time accordingly. 

As much as I read and prepared and enrolled in every other free blog course I could find, along with learning what I could at school to help me, nothing could prepare me more for blogging, than actual blogging. The more I blog, the more I learn about my brand and how to define it better. I learn more about what you want to read, and what’s popular, and what I like to write. I know how I want to be portrayed and how I want my blog to be perceived. I’ve seen many blog posts about how to look like a blogging pro, even as a newbie. I’ve read them ALLLLLL and the best thing that has helped me- is blogging and time. You can’t jump in to the intimidating and often overwhelming world of blogging and expect to look like an expert. It’s nonsense. Now, I’m not saying you have to look like a mess either. But, there’s going to be a steep learning curve and you’ll want to change things along the way as you learn and grow.  

Define Your Blog Audience And Write For Them

I write for a variety of people. I always have. You might enjoy and connect with one article on my site or find another super helpful and not like the rest. I write different articles with a different audience in mind but the process is always the same. Who do you picture visiting your site? What’s your ideal reader look like? How do they act? What do they want to learn? And write for them! People are searching online for answers. So, solve their problems and you’ll have loyal readers for life.

Write Catchy Headlines And Exciting Posts

Your headline is what brings people to your post. Your introductory paragraph will determine whether they stay, or bounce!

Headlines bring them to your post. An intriguing intro keeps them there!

Not every post is gonna be a sensation. But, that should be the goal. You could have one article that’ll change so many lives, but without a good headline- it’ll go unnoticed. I see this a lot actually and it’s frustrating. I’ll stumble across a blog, and find an inspiring and helpful post, but the headline and intro are blah. It’s almost like the writer didn’t know what they had. 

As a published writer- I know the importance of a headline and that first paragraph. You have to hook the reader in. The headline gets them to your page, and the intro keeps them there. Spend a good amount of time on those two things and your readers will notice. That’s where I put my most effort. I will spend nearly as much time on my headline and my intro as I do on my whole article. I’ll go over and over and edit and edit and think and re-think it.

Stay, Just A Little While Longer

You don’t want visitors to stop by and then bounce? Give them something cool to check out. A reason to want to stay! Infographics are cool and something I’ll be spending a lot more time on! When I see them on other blogs, they catch my eye and I can’t help but read the little snippets of information and graphics- so I stay on their blog a little while longer.

Plus, sites that have a high ration of returning visitors and low bounce rate, generally are ranked higher in search engines. You can analyze your bounce rate, percent of returning visitors, and so much more by connecting https://analytics.google.com to your site.

seo checklist for blog posts

Quality Blog Traffic, Over Quantity

Focus on quality traffic over quantity. It’s too easy to get wrapped up in the numbers (guilty) and get discouraged when you see other bloggers bragging about big numbers. But, don’t compare your numbers, to their numbers. You don’t know how long it took them or if half their traffic is paid or from traffic exchange.

Make SEO A Top Priority

If Google doesn’t like you, you’re missing out on high quality traffic. Imagine if you didn’t have time for a week to blast your posts all over social media- Twitter, Pinterst, Facebook or create email campaigns to encourage your readers to stop by? Life happens. With search engine traffic, you don’t have to do anything. Your readers, come to you. 

Simple SEO Checklist

  • Longtail Keywords. Longtail keywords are 3-5 words, like a short sentence, that people search for related to your niche. A great tool to help you find some in your niche is google! Search for a keyword or two and then scroll to the bottom of the page and you’ll see some related suggested phrases. Those are great keywords! 
  • Sprinkle Your Keywords Properly. Use your longtail keywords in your headline, in your first paragraph, in the middle of your post, and in the closing of your post. Be sure to include your longtail keywords in your meta description as well. 
  • Optimize For Mobile. Google loves mobile friendly blogs. If you aren’t sure how your blog performs, you can check your Google search console. 
  •  Use Your Meta Description Wisely. BUT BE SURE TO USE IT! Your meta description is the little snippet that shows up under your url in search results. It gives Google and potential readers a little taste of what to expect. Think of this as an extended headline and make it catchy. You want to draw your readers in with it! Make sure it’s and enticing and relevant to your article.
  • Use Your ALT Text Properly. Google and some of your readers, can’t see your images, so your alt txt is used to describe it. It helps Google understand your images and your content better.
  •  Topic Tags. I need to go in and clean mine up, and you probably do too. These are meant to help your readers navigate throughout your site. It can help your readers find posts in similar topics. But, if you have too many similar topic tags, Google may penalize your site for duplicate content. Yikes. I have too many blog tags- ‘blog tips’ ‘blog ideas’ ‘blogging’. Narrowing down your tags to clean and organized topics like ‘blogging’ and ‘beauty’ and ‘sleep’, similar to categories can help. 
  • Backlinks. Build a solid backlink strategy. Guest posting, partnering with other bloggers, and using blog indexing sites are great ways to increase your backlinks. Also, posting to social sites like Mix, Tumblr, Reddit and Flipboard will help you increase your number of dofollow backlinks. Meaningful comments on high authority blog sites will get you backlinks as well. Some offer doollow and some nofollow. Dofollow backlinks are considered higher value and longerlasting but are a little more work to achieve. Nofollow are easy to get, virtually anywhere you drop your link, but they don’t add as much SEO value.
  • SEOPTIMER.COM. Give your site a complete SEO audit at seoptimer.com. The site analyzes your blog’s content for tags, keywords, backlinks, usability, performance, security and more. It also offers suggestions for improvements. And, it’s FREE!

Comments

  1. Yep, so many good points. When I started my blog I made it a priority to get my Pinterest followers up before launching my blog. Most of my traffic comes from there…

  2. Blogging is not easy and you made a really good point here. Keeping your readers engaged takes a lot of hard work so content is really important.

  3. This is such helpful information for anyone starting out as a blogger. Engaging your audience is just the start, but if you can keep thing coming back, you will start to get attention from brands and Google.

    • Search engines love to rank sites with returning visitors! It’s important to track the percentage of visitors returning to your site! That can be a very good key Performance Indicator! Thanks for stopping by!

    • There really is! But if you make each of these things a habit and just continue to tick them off with each post (I know it’s time-consuming) but it’ll make a big difference! Eventually it’ll be a habit:)

  4. You touched on some really great points. Blogging has been a passion of mine, but something that doesn’t come easy. I haven’t really invested the time into it, that I need to, either.

What do you think? Let me know below:)