Never overlook the importance of small things
It’s easy to set up a blog, and with the variety of social media sites that are available, it’s easier than ever to find a group of readers who are interested in your site. Of course setting up your blog well and getting readers is crucial to long-term blogging success, there are some things that can make or break your blog regardless of how many readers you may have. Here are some of the components that make up a successful blog.
There are pieces that all work together that can help add credibility to your blog and save you problems down the road. Some of these pieces include:
- Site map – At the beginning, your site map may not seem terribly important. After all, if you have a handful of posts, how important can this be? Well, there are two reasons for a site map. (1) Easier for readers – A well structured site map helps readers find related material, (2) Better for search engines – To get your blog indexed by search engines, a site map matters
- About me/Contact – Contact pages or a page that describes the blog owner should be included. This page is practically required so that you are personalizing your blog for your users. While some bloggers elect to use pen names and/or stock photos for their images, whenever it is practical, it is probably a good idea to put real information and a professional looking photograph. This may be more important if your blog is being used to solicit new business.
Then there is content
The absolute most important part of a blog is content. No matter what anyone tells you, content will always be the most crucial part of your blog. However, just slapping up anything to fill in the “gaps” is not going to work. There are some guidelines for creating good and relevant content:
- Keywords DO matter – In spite of the slap handed down to many by Google during the Panda update, your keyword selection does matter. If you are blogging about dogs, don’t use weight loss for a keyword. For heaven’s sake, keep them relevant. In addition, don’t abuse them. Every other word in your blog post doesn’t have to “fit” into the keyword. The rule of thumb I like to use is keyword in the title, keyword in the first 100 words, last 100 words and at least one time every hundred words. Do you see what that means? In a 500 word post, keywords should not be repeated more than five times!
- Spelling and grammar matters – Don’t be sloppy! If your content is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, people are going to stop reading. Nearly everyone will forgive some punctuation errors (like leaving out or misuse of commas or semi-colons) but basic spelling and grammar errors made consistently are a no-no.
- Images help – Great images keep readers interested in your blog but don’t overdo it and do not put in images that have nothing to do with your post. Make sure that you put keywords into your images as it may help you with search engines.
- Make sharing easy – Make sure that you include popular social networking tools on your site. This includes Facebook, LinkedIn (if you have a business blog), Stumble Upon and Google+ for starters. Any sites you are active on should be included as tools to share your work!
Then there are the things to avoid.
Stop and think
Before you put flashing banners, automatic video launch and other annoying things on your blog, stop and think about how you feel when you run across these types of annoyances. NEVER use these annoyances on your blog for the simple reason that if you are depending on revenue from page-views, people are going to leave when they see them.
A good rule of thumb: if it’s something YOU don’t like to see when you go to a blog, then you should avoid putting it on your blog!