Do you want to engage your readers and get more traffic? Use these blogging tips from Matt Rouse, author of CRUSH SEO: Learn To Market Your Local Business Online.
Matt Rouse has been blogging for nearly 20 years. These are tips and tricks he has collected over the years, combined with the latest techniques used by the Pros!
Add into the mix tips on making your blog SEO friendly from the author of Crush SEO, and you’ve got the tools you need to keep ’em coming back for more!
1. BAM! Make Your Headline Count!
Make your headline attract your readers attention! It should be short, to the point and have impact!
Does your blog post contain an infographic, slideshow or video? Include it in the title!
Video: How To Write Kick-Ass Blog Posts Now!
Does Content Marketing Really Work? [infographic]
2. Introduction That Speaks To The Reader
You need to speak your reader’s language and you need to know what they are looking for from your blog post. Ask the question they are asking in their heads and then tell them how you are going to answer it!
Do you want more traffic to your blog? YES I DO!
This post is going to tell you how to do it! OMG! I CAN’T WAIT TO READ MORE!
This is done by the pros in vlogging (video blogging) and video marketing. For example, one of the top vlog marketers from Savvy Sexy Social, Amy Schmittauer, talks about headlines here:
Do you like these tips so far? Why not say “Hi” to Matt on Twitter? Just click here:
3. Deliver on Your Promise
If you tell people you are going to show them how to make a great Chicken Pot Pie, your blog damn well better contain the instructions to make a kick-ass Chicken Pot Pie.
(the trick is to make a thick chicken stew and partially cook the bottom crust, then pour the stew into the pie crust, top it and egg wash the top crust and cook the rest of the way…. you’re welcome!)
NEVER BAIT AND SWITCH! Those readers will never come back.
Never lie to your readers. Never be insincere or overly “selly” or try to use obvious propaganda. If you are doing that, you should just stop now and do something else for a living.
Pandering: It’s a good idea to confirm your connection to your readers with a little pandering. If you’re writing about great place to eat in Portland, there’s no harm in saying things like, “That’s why we like to Keep Portland Weird!” or if you are writing for other entrepreneurs, you can put in inspirational quotes or fun facts about entrepreneurs. Just don’t over-do it. If you are doing nothing but pandering, no one will care.
4. Images, Resources and More Content
There are many excellent additions you can use in your blog to add more detail and a great user experience. These can be used as eye candy or to convey information in another format or to convey large amounts of information visually.
- A picture is often worth more than 1000 words, but takes less time to write.
- Quote images can help drive a point home.
- Memes can be funny or informative or add some personality or sarcasm.
- Inforgraphics are large images that visually display information about a certain subject. With a little Photoshop skill, you can make them quite amazing and they make for easily share-able content.
- Slideshare presentations are an excellent way to convey information and can bring users to your blog from Slide Share, as well as provide a powerful SEO backlink.
- Videos can be hosted at YouTube or Vimeo and also can be used to drive SEO and bring more users to your website.
- PDF files or downloadable documents are good for things like handouts where your fans need to be able to take the information with them or keep it handy for reference.
5. Use Subheadings, Small Paragraphs and Bullets Are Your Friend
People Don’t Read – They Skim Content
Remember that. No matter how good your writing is. People generally are short on time or attention span and they want to skim through and see if there is information they want. If they are interested, then they will read the rest.
Make sure that the paragraphs are short and no more than four or five lines in length. Shorter paragraphs are better for readability, especially on mobile devices.
Use subheadings, bold text, blocked quotes and images to convey large amounts of information in a short period of time. Take another minute to skim through this post again and see which parts you read first. What catches your attention?
- Bullet-ed lists can help break up content.
- They can add white space to your post.
- Lists are more readable in bullet-ted lists.
6. Conclusion – Wrap It Up
A short conclusion should sum up the information and also stick with the reader after they have read the piece. Be concise and make a statement or use a question.
“Now that you have the tools to get more traffic, what will you write about?”
7. Tell The Reader What To Do Next
This is your call to action. Why are you blogging? Why are they reading it. You are both looking to do something here, let’s point that out. In business meetings and seminars they usually call them “take aways” or “action items”.
(Yes, I realize that in some countries a “take away” is take-out food, like getting a curry to go, or some fish and chips. Did I mention I love both curry and fish & chips?)
You want your readers to take some kind of action. What is it?
It could be as simple as thinking about the subject or clicking on a link to read more. Maybe you want them to discuss the article in the comments and keep the conversation going.
This a perfect time to ask for things like newsletter signups, webinar signups, mentioning places people can get a product or service or even asking for a sale.
“These advanced blue-tipped widgets are available at widget retailers in most areas.”
“Want to learn more? Click here to sign up for our free newsletter!”
8. WAIT!!! We Forgot To Talk About SEO!
This is not entirely true. There are several points in here that will improve your SEO without doing anything special!
- Good content is it’s own reward. Google wants to match a user’s query with good content. If you provide that content, Google will reward you with traffic.
- Video, Slide Share presentations and other content will add backlinks to your blog with reinforcing content.
- Use the Bonus! Bonus! Bonus! section below for more SEO Tips.
- Most blogging platforms are already SEO ready out of the box. They may not be as optimized as they could be, but they will be index-ready for search engines.
- People share great content. If that sharing is taking place on their blog, those links will improve your page rank of your blog.
- Social signals (likes, +1s, etc.) are quickly becoming ranking factors. They may not help SEO directly now, but they probably will soon.
- Link building is whole other topic but the short of it is to make real relationships with real people and ask them to share your content if it interests them.
9. BONUS! BONUS! BONUS! TIPS!
Click To Tweet
Are you using WordPress or another blogging platform that allows plugins? Then Click To Tweet is for you. There are other variations that do that same thing, but the object is that your readers get a button they can simply click to send your article to their adoring Twitter fans!
Again, we are assuming you are using Word Press, if not, see below.
Install these two plugins from Yoast by Joost De Valk and his team at Yoast.
I’m Not Using Word Press!
That’s fine too! But here’s what you have to do. You have to ensure that your platform is creating a sitemap.xml file and a robots.txt file.
Webmaster and Analytics Services You Need
Once you have these set up you need to register your website with the following three free services:
Webmaster Tools (both of them) will take some minor configuration. Ensure that you have added your sitemap(s) to the tools so that they will index your website. Also selecting country and language preferences if your site is localized is also a good idea.
For analytics, you will need to set up a property and add some analytics code to your website (or verify it with Yoast Analytics).
Getting Started With Google Analytics – Google Help Docs
Update and Recycle
Once a post has been written, don’t forget about it! If people love your content, update it and then re-share it with your followers. It may be old, but it’s new to some of them. Maybe they missed it the first time, or maybe you have new insights to share or resources that they could use.
Adding a BIO
You have some serious online “street cred” so don’t let it go to waste. Adding a short bio at the end of your post can show people that you are an expert in your field. Just a short sentence or two is enough.
“Matt Rouse is the author of Crush SEO: Learn To Market Your Small Business Online and is the SEO Lead at Hook SEO, located in the Silicon Forest in Hillsboro, Oregon.”