I am a graphic designer, business owner, and social media expert. I hope that my experience will be a benefit to you.
1. Subject Research
This is one of my favorite parts of marketing and blogging. I love looking for that one grain of sand in a sea of information, that nobody else has found. I do Google search, Bing search, YouTube, Reddit, Stumble upon, Blog articles, Facebook Pages, Pinterest, books, you name it. I’m a long time Kindle user and one of their best book offers is something called Kindle Unlimited. You pay ten bucks a month and you get access to over a million books, audio books and magazines. I don’t even use my Kindle anymore. I downloaded a Kindle app onto my iPad. There are tons of great books on there about marketing and blogging. It would cost you an arm and a leg to try and buy them all. If you like to read or listen to audiobooks while you’re commuting. I highly recommend it. One of the best sites for blog information is ne optimization is both very simple and very complicated. The simple part is the definition. It is creating a title that matches the most searched for phrases. The complicated part is finding a phrase that is both searched for a lot. Yet not searched for so much that all the billion-dollar companies in your niche are using it. Because you can bet that they are paying a pretty penny to make sure that their sites come up first for those. Many bloggers and small business owners admit defeat when it comes to SEO. I mean there are “seed words”, “keywords”, “long tail keywords”. It’s difficult enough for someone with a degree in marketing. It can seem overwhelming for the average blogger. That being said. If you want to get found organically by search engines you have to SEO your titles. The easiest way for the average person to conquer website SEO is too put a plug-in on your site. You can still do a little research and try to come up with some original words and phrases of your own. But, a plug-in can do most of the work for you. They can save you hours of work and worry. They can even keep an eye on the competition. The best website plugins are Yost SEO ($89 a year for WordPress) and Rabbit SEO (there’s a good free version for WIX). Your SEO plug-in will crawl your site and look for appropriate keywords for you. It will also crawl the sites of blogs and businesses in your niche and see what keywords are working for them. Do yourself a favor. Invest in a great SEO plug-in for your site. You’ll be happy you did.
2. Write and Proofread (With a little help).
I used to write a monthly newsletter for a church I worked for. The fun part was making it appealing. Lots of pictures, event posters and Life Group highlights. Full color, glossy, beautiful. The problems came when I had to write and publish the articles. No matter how many times I tried to proof read the writing there was always some small mistake. Some of the parishioners took pleasure in trying to find imperfections in my writing. At one time we had the Pastor, Executive Pastor, Office Manager, Payroll Manager, and myself (the Communications Director) all proofing the darn thing. Still something would always get past. The problem was that our brains were designed to problem solve. We fill in missing pieces so that we can make sense of what we’re reading.
Before I became a blogger, I did several months of research on blogging. I knew I was an expert in my niche. That I had years of experience in marketing and social media and could help a lot of people overcome problems in that area. But, I was new to blogging. I wanted to learn everything I could so that I knew I was giving solid advice to my fellow bloggers. Besides doing marketing, social media, and statistics research. I visited and read several hundred blogs. I found a lot of high quality blogs in about every niche you can imagine. I also found a lot of interesting blogs that started out being fun to read. But before long I couldn’t overlook the hideous grammatical mistakes. I ended up “bouncing” within less than a minute. I knew that one of the characteristics the Google algorithm looks for is solid “dwell time” on sites. I remembered the trials and tribulations that happened with the newsletter. I didn’t want a repeat performance on my blog. I wanted to build a solid blog that people would want to read and come back to. Useful for the readers and great SEO for Google.
That’s when I found the Grammarly app. I was relieved to find something that took the human error out of proofreading. At first, I tried the free version, but it was very limited. So, I sucked it up and paid for a year of the premium version. You need be willing to make quality investments to build a long- term quality business. It’s the one investment that has more than paid for itself. Get the Grammarly app. Grammarly checks for misspellings, misplaced commas, articles, adjectives and helps with vocabulary. Not only does it highlight areas that you need to correct. It tells you why they are incorrect. Which makes it a great learning tool. Teachers love it because it also checks for plagiarism. I love it because it keeps me from looking like a total idiot. Unfortunately, you must pay a fee for the premium version. It’s not bad. A little over eleven dollars a month if you pay for the whole year upfront. There’s a free version but don’t bother. It corrects spelling and some small grammar issues. You can do that with MS Word. You will get frustrated with the limitations of the free version and want the real deal. So, you might as well get the premium version from the beginning. Take it from a voice of experience.
3 .Divide Your Article into Sections with Subtitles.
Readability is key when putting together a blog post. I mentioned earlier that the Google algorithm measures dwell time as one of the deciding factors in SEO. Dwell time is how long someone stays on your website. To get someone to stay on your site you must make your posts intriguing and easy to navigate. Divide your article into manageable sections with enticing titles. Make the reader want to stay with your article until the end. This also gives you and opportunity to add optimize each section for search engines. Look for appropriate search words to use for each subtitle. It will give you maximum SEO impact.
4. Pull Out Tweets from your Article.
Promoting your blog on twitter doesn’t have to be a chore. A lot of people don’t use twitter for blog promotion because it requires several posts a day to be effective. You have all the posts you need right within your blog post itself. For example, some of the tweets from this article could be: “You have to SEO your titles (search engine optimize) your titles. There are over a billion blogs out there.”” Subject Research. This is one of my favorite parts of marketing and blogging. I love looking for that one grain of sand in a sea of information, that nobody else has found.”” The complicated part is finding a phrase that is both searched for a lot. Yet not searched for so much that all the billion-dollar companies in your niche are using it.” “I visited and read several hundred blogs. I found a lot of high quality blogs in just about every niche you can imagine.”” Many bloggers and small business owners admit defeat when it comes to SEO. I mean there are “seed words”, “keywords”, “long tail keywords”. It’s difficult enough for someone with a degree in marketing. It can seem overwhelming for the average blogger.”” I found a lot of interesting blogs that started out being fun to read. But before long I couldn’t overlook the hideous grammatical mistakes. I ended up “bouncing” within less than a minute.”” Divide Your Article into Sections with Subtitles Readability is key when putting together a blog post.””. Dwell time is how long someone stays on your website. To get someone to stay on your site you must make your posts intriguing and easy to navigate. Dividing your article into manageable sections with enticing titles makes the reader want to stay with your article until the end.”” A lot of people don’t use twitter for blog promotion because it requires several posts a day to be effective. You have all the posts you need right within your blog post itself” That’s nine tweets just from the first five sections. You can also get the “tweet me” plugin for your blog. It gives your readers a chance to tweet a quote that you have chosen to represent your article with just one click.
5. Write a Killer Description Below Your Title.
The description below your title is your article’s second selling point. It is your most important promotional tool next to the title. The first three lines of your description will appear below your title on search pages. Your title will attract people. Your description will seal the deal. The description should tell the reader what problem they need to fix. How you can relate to the problem. How you worked things out for yourself and how they can too. If you have an RSS feeder and have your blog on several feeds. Tweak the settings so only the cover image and the description are in the feed. That way people must click to your website to read it. That short paragraph explains to people why they need to read your article.
6. Create and Curate Content.
Seventy-five percent of blogging is marketing. If you don’t make an effort to market your blog it will not grow. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see bloggers make. The biggest game changer in blog marketing is Pinterest. If you are blogging part-time and can only create content for your website and one social media site. Make sure that site is Pinterest. Your articles can still be found five years after they have been published. Long after they have completely disappeared from other networks. They will still be found on Pinterest. If you have a presence on one site or Ten you need to create and Curate content. Curated content (content from other people’s site) can be YouTube videos, Podcasts, Pictures with quotes, quotes, blog links, and slide shows. Created Content is the same, only it’s content that you have created and own. Around seventy-five percent of your content should be your own. I use Adobe products, but I understand that not everyone has the training or can afford those programs. Luckily graphic design has come a long way in the last five years. You can now create high quality images through online programs like Snappa and Canva. They both let you create content with free templates. You can buy their images for a low cost. You can also upload your own pictures for free. There are sites on the web that let you download free, high resolution, professional images. These images are under the Creative Commons license. This lets you use the images for commercial purposes. The best sites for free images are: Pixabay, Unsplash and Pexels. You can also join a paid site that lets you download high quality images. Some of these can be outrageously expensive but the quality and supply is greater. The most reasonably priced site is Storyblocks You can have unlimited access to over four-hundred thousand images for $149 a year. For very simple videos and slides, there are some great apps out there. Short videos and slides are a necessity for sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. They are also great for creating short compelling ads. I use Videoleap and Ripl. Video leap is free and Ripl has both a free and a premium/paid version. The premium version of Ripl is 9.99 a month. If you find yourself creating a lot of slides and content the upgrade is well worth it. Don’t forget to create images and short slides for your blog post page. Pages with images not only rank higher on Google but they increase the amount of time people “dwell” on your website. Just make sure that they are 72 DPI (dots per inch) and under 3 megabytes in size. If your images are too large or you have too many your site will take time to load and people will “bounce”.
7. My 3 Rules About Adding Affiliate Links to Your Posts.
Here are the three most important things to remember when looking for affiliate for your blog. #1 be Honest!!!! I visited a blog recently where a young woman was using Grammarly as and affiliate. Now Grammarly is a great app. I use it daily myself. The only problem was that this blogger clearly was not using Grammarly. I know this because she misspelled it Grammerly! I suppose there are cases when you can advertise a product that you don’t use. For example, I told you in checkpoint #7 that I use Adobe software. Yet I suggested that you use Snappa or Canva for images. I know quite literally over a hundred people who use those programs. I have tried them both out with satisfactory results. So, I feel comfortable recommending them. The essential point is this. If you wouldn’t recommend a product to your best friend don’t recommend it to your readers. #2 Your Links should fit in With Your Posts. If you are a travel blogger and you find out that you could get a great commission by advertising the Instant Pot (I have no idea if this is true btw). It is completely wrong and tacky to stick and instant pot ad in the middle of your “Adventures in the Colorado Rockies” article. You could put an ad for some great healthy travel snack from Thrive Market. Because it relates in some way to hiking and healthy traveling or become an Amazon Affiliate and advertise some great backpack or something. “But Suzette,” you say. “Didn’t you just put an Instant Pot ad in the middle of a post about blogging?” NO! I did not. Most of my links are there for convenience. I think it saves you the trouble of having to go look up what I’m talking about on the web. So, I add a link to anything I think isn’t commonly known. Also, some links are just helpful. Like those that lead you to free resources for your blog. If you find this an irritation more than a help. Please, let me know in the comments below. #3 Don’t Sell People Crap They Don’t Need! You should try to find products and affiliates that you and others in your niche use every day. Things that make your life easier. Things that you tell all your friends and coworkers about. Treat your readers like you would want to be treated. Don’t try and sell them some gadget that they will use once or twice and then regret buying. It may make you a quick buck in the short term. But it will drive followers away eventually. Treat your blog and its readers with integrity and you will build a business that will make you money for years to come.
8. Keep Readers on Your Site Longer.
The amount of time someone spends on your blog is called “dwell time”. Dwell time is one of the factors search engines take into consideration when deciding which site to send their users to. It has also been proven that the longer people dwell on your site the more likely they are to follow you. They are also more likely to click on links that you provide. One way to increase dwell time is to give your readers a chance to read other posts on your blog. Make it a post that you already know that they will be interested in. How? Write posts that naturally go together. People ask me how I come up with post ideas. This is how. After I write a blog post I try and think of at least two other related posts that I can do. In this post I mentioned creating content to put on your blog and other social media sites. This makes me think that people might want to know the rules to creating graphic content. They might also want to know how to create a great social media plan. I can also link those posts to this one. Or to other posts I think they might like. There are several ways to increase the amount of time readers spend on your blog. But, that’s another post for another day.
Suzette Alexander (author) from U.S.A. on November 25, 2018:
Thanks Donna! Yes, it is always good to have an extra set of eyes.
Donna on November 25, 2018:
Great check list. I always have my daughter proof read and check all links to make sure they work
Suzette Alexander (author) from U.S.A. on November 15, 2018:
Ken Burgess from Florida on November 15, 2018:
Good article, definitely could help newer Hubpage article writers.