March 22, 2013
More and more business people are seeing the benefits of integrating blogs into their websites. These benefits include: more traffic, thanks to improved search engine visibility; deeper engagement with visitors; an effective way to promote your expertise; and a better online profile for your business. But to get all these goodies, you first have to make sure people find your blog and then keep coming back. Here’s how to do that:
1. Optimize for search engines.
We don’t have space for a complete primer on SEO (search engine optimization), but here are some crucial pointers. Write your headline and subhead using key words that relate to the theme of your post. This will grab attention and make your post more relevant to a reader’s search query. Then pepper those keywords and phrases throughout the text.
Embedding hyperlinks into your post will also boost search engine rankings and drive traffic. Finally, allow your post to be circulated through social bookmarking sites such as Delicious, Digg, Reddit,Stumbleupon, Technorati, and others to increase search engine rankings and drive targeted traffic.
2. Add multimedia to your content.
Putting images, videos, or podcasts into your blog posts not only makes them more interesting; it also ensures the posts are indexed in image search engines, to give you even greater online visibility.
3. Post regularly.
The more often you post, the more reason readers have to check in with you and the better your search engine visibility. In addition, new posts give you opportunities to link back to other posts and to pages on your site. Obviously, daily posting is best. Or try for 3 times a week. If that’s too hard, post once a week, but always do it on the same day.
4. Invite comments.
Encourage a conversation by ending each post with a question and leaving space for comments. This gives readers another reason to come back, makes them feel more connected, and says you value what they have to say. But be sure to respond to any questions in a timely manner.
5. Promote your posts.
Invite readers to sign up for email notifications of new posts. This makes it easy for them to check in whenever a headline intrigues them. Also, share your post on social media platforms, either manually or through automated delivery. Social tagging tools let users “like,” “retweet,” or “+1” content, which helps circulate it across the web. Finally, participate in online forums and other blogs in your industry. After you’ve been a regular contributor, people won’t mind if you deftly mention a blog post or two of your own.
6. Turn a post into a press release.
If a post also works as a press release, use one of the many PR distribution websites to push it out. Among the free ones are free-press-release.com and prlog.org. Or you can try a paid service such as prweb.com.
7. Keep up with the technology.
Update your software, such as WordPress, to the latest version. Take other security precautions, such as logging out when done and using strong passwords, so no one can access your admin tools and hack your blog. To help search engine rankings and to ensure people stay, see that your blog loads quickly. For self-hosted blogs, clean out and optimize your database for maximum speed. You may need help from a technical expert.
You also want to make sure any embedded hyperlinks, videos, and podcasts are working properly, so preview your post before it goes live and test all links. Finally, check to see that you’ve chosen the appropriate plug-ins for third-party services such as Google Analytics and to enable social media sharing.
It takes time to build an audience for your blog. But if you follow these tips, you’ll know you’re doing your best to reach that audience as soon as possible.