A Checklist for Effective Blog Writing in 2013
Posted by Guest Author on December 31, 2012 in Blogging for Business [ 0 Comments ]
In today’s Internet world, especially in 2013, content is (will be) king—and it’s only going to grow in importance. Thanks to changes in search algorithms, an emphasis on authorship and the growing power of Google+, content is quickly becoming more and more important in the eyes of search engines.
Related: The Evolution of Google+
To make sure your content is up to par, here’s a checklist for creating effective blog content—because while blogging doesn’t equal content marketing, it is a crucial part of any winning content strategy.
Start with Your Goal
Know why you’re writing your blog—is it to draw new traffic? Create an online community? Find new business? That goal informs all your other decisions, so keep it at the forefront of your blogging efforts.
Run Through This Checklist
Think of the following list as a run-through of what your blog needs to be effective:
- Title: Keep the title tag under 70 characters for best search results.
- Meta Description: Make the meta description a concise summary of your page. (Tip: If you’re using WordPress, a plugin like All in One SEO Pack can make it easy to customize your title and meta description within your post editor.)
- Headers and Subheaders: <h1>, <h2>, and <h3> tags (and so on) give search engines a basic hierarchy of your content, allowing you to prioritize what matters most.
- Introduction: Make the beginning of your blog post interesting and attention-grabbing.
- Relevant Images: The Internet is a visual place, so images make your posts more interesting to readers. Pictures grab readers’ attention, clarify a message, and more.
- Relevant Internal Links: Use your blog posts to point to other content—include links to past articles or other content that relates to what you’re saying. Work it into your text or use a related posts plugin at the bottom of posts. Not only does this get readers digging into your archives, but it also adds more value to your writing.
- Relevant External Links: In the blog community, readers like to see you’re promoting others’ content. Link to content that relates and is relevant to what you have to say, as is appropriate.
- Organization: Shorten long chunks of copy into shorter, more scannable bits. Generally speaking, online readers respond best to content they can scan.
- Authorship: To get the most benefit out of Google+, share your posts to the network. This tells Google to immediately index your content for search. Likewise, connect every post with its author by verifying Google authorship according to Google’s instructions.
- Social Media: While you don’t want to turn social media into a nonstop channel for self-promotion, you can use it to promote posts from time to time. In fact, promoting your content on Facebook and Twitter is a powerful way to spread your message and increase your influence.
- Call to Action: Remember your goal above? Find ways to coax readers to take the step you desire, whether that means subscribing to a newsletter or buying a product. Come right out and ask them to do it in creative ways within your content.
- Comments: The most engaging blogs feel like a discussion—readers comment and expect a response. So get involved in your comments. While you don’t have to respond to every person, make it a habit to respond to questions at the very least.
What do you think? This list is not exhaustive—what else goes into quality blog content? What have you seen that’s important?
Photo credit: adjuice.co.uk
Bio: Shanna Mallon is a writer for Straight North, a Chicago Web design firm providing specialized SEO, Web development, and other online marketing services. Follow Straight North on Twitter and Facebook.