Lydia’s Guide To Blogging


SEO tips for bloggers

SEO, search engine optimization, is optimizing websites to be more receptive to search engines. SEO generates traffic, and makes websites and blogs more search engine friendly, by building links in order to market the value of your blog or website. Without SEO, a blog may not be easily found through search engines such as Google and Yahoo. SEO can often make or break the success of your blog. Here are some tips to optimize your SEO use.

Create unique, accurate page titles.

Title tags indicate the subject matter of your blog or blog posts. When a blog shows up on a search engine, title tags will show up first in the line of text. Successful title tags are brief, descriptive and accurately describe the topic of the blog’s content and blog posts’ content in order to drive traffic to the blog.

Improve the structure of your URLs.

More concise, simple URLs are more memorable and easier for internet users to link to your page. Visitors may be turned off by extremely long, cryptic URLs that show up in search engine results. Try to use recognizable words in URLs.

Use proper-structured internal linking in posts.

Instead of providing internal links that say “click here,” link to a word or phrase that relates to the subject matterĀ  of the site you are linking to. This will move your blog up in the ranks of search engine results because you are linking to searched terms.

For example, in my blog posts for Less Than the Least, I link bands’ MySpaces to bands’ names.

Make your blog easier to navigate.

User-friendly, easily navigated blogs allows visitors to enjoy your blog more, and consequently, stay on your site longer, refer people to your blog and back link to your blog from their pages, which generates more traffic and increase SEO. A site map, a hierarchical listing of pages, can assist navigation.

SEO optimize your writing.

According to Search Engine Journal, make sure your content is unique, well-written and is focused on keywords and keyword phrases. This wil also make your blog more receptive to search engines.


Building traffic to your blog

Now that your blog is established and you are writing great posts, it is now time to focus on building traffic. Here are some tips.

Actively participate in your niche community through social networking websites.

Network, connect with fresh new sources and offer insightful content to your community through these sites. Facebook, MySpace and Twitter are great outlets to connect with your community through joining groups. Connecting builds traffic, according to the Idiot’s Guide to Blogging.

Submit posts to blog aggregators in your community.

This will introduce your blog to a wider online audience. Blog aggregators include blogcarnival.com and EzineArticles.com.

Be the first to write a “Top Ten Best Blogs” post in your niche community.

According to DailyBlogTips.com, this post will rank high in search engine results.

Write tags as if they were search engine terms.

When I write post tags, I always think about what words an individual searching for the information in that post would type into a search engine.

Cover topics that receive a great deal of coverage and topics that receive little or no coverage.

Two of my most popular posts so far were about Invisible Children, a popular organization, and Bradley Hathaway, a lesser known artist. Discovering what people are talking about in your community and what people are searching for in your community is key in building traffic.



Harness the power of social media to boost your blog

Social media monster

Social media is this huge monster of a phenomenon that us as internet users have been captured by. Social media websites include the pages we visit daily, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, to interact with an online community. Here are some tips to harness the monster to benefit your blog.

Join your niche community.

Visit blogs discussing your niche’s topic. Comment on posts, leaving your name and your blog’s link. This is a way of putting you on your community’s map. Also, join Facebook, MySpace and other social networking website groups to bring awareness to your blog.

Make your comments count.

When leaving comments on blogs who belong to your community, write thoughtfully. Discuss a thought in the post, give advice or ask a question when commenting. When people see you are genuinely interested in the topic, they are more likely to click on your blog link or add you to their blogroll.

Set up an RSS reader.

An RSS reader will cut down on the time you spend searching the internet to see what others in your community are talking about. After subscribing to a website’s feed, an RSS reader will alert you when that site has updated information. I use Google Reader as my RSS reader.

Use social networking websites to spread the word about your blog.

By posting topics of blog posts and links to my blog in Facebook and Twitter statuses, I have been able to build awareness and traffic to my blog. Try to share your posts polietly via social networking sites. People may get tired of your blog popping up on their pages.


Web content that grabs readers

So you have established your blog and began posting, now you are wondering how to develop eye catching content. Here are some tips I have kept in mind while posting.

Keep the majority of your blog posts to 100-250 words.

Depending on your blog’s audience and topic, write posts accordingly. If you are covering a topic that requires longer posts and the followers of your topic are willing to read longer posts then more than 250 words is fine.

I try to keep it short. I feel readers would be more likely to stay on a page with shorter posts they can scan quickly, picking out what they would like to read. I also think using different of post lengths, depending on the topic of the post, adds variety. Use your best judgment when it comes to blog post length, but keep your readers in mind at all times.

Write short paragraphs.

Just Creative Design says to keep paragraphs down to three or four lines each. Internet users can be turned off by huge chunks of text.

Spend quality time with each post.

Add quality images that don’t distract but attract readers. Add links to ensure readers your information can be verified. Also, Just Creative Design suggest to proof read at least four times.

Be an authority with personality.

If you are passionate about your topic, write like you are. Don’t be afraid to write as an ‘expert’ for your topic. Also, write how you would speak to your best friend about your passion. Wild Apricot Blog says to be unique and develop your voice.

Don’t be afraid of blank space on your page.

Try not to cram every inch of your page with text, graphics or images. Blank space, especially white space, according to Susan Greene Copywriter, makes a page easier to scan and less intimidating for readers.

For my blog, Less than the Least, the gray space on each side of my content is an example of using blank space effectively.



Tips to narrow your beat and define your tribe

In my last post, I discussed considering your tribe’s wants, needs, and interests as a secret to a great blog. By defining these things about your tribe, you will be able to narrow your beat. Here are some tips to discover your beat.

Talk to your tribe.

When i started my blog I talked to my friends who are also interested in underground Christian rock music. By telling me their interests and questions, I was able to define my beat. Also, ask readers questions. They may possibly comment, leaving you ideas.

Start blogging.

See what types of posts are getting the most views, and narrow your beat based off your observations. A blog is a place to experiment and try new ideas.


Secrets of a great blog

The web is a vast sea of information, so how can a blog be successful? These next five points are what I consider secrets of a great blog.

A successful blog has a topic with passionate followers.

Underground Christian rock music is the topic of my blog, Less than the Least, and the followers of this music are willing to travel across the country to music festivals such as Cornerstone Festival and Facedown Fest.

A blogger realizes his or her blog isn’t just for him to spout his opinions.

A good blog is a place for a community to come together to learn, discuss and share. A blogger leads a tribe, and must consider the needs, wants and interests of the tribe.

A great blog should be entertaining.

Incorporate videos, photographs, links, and more into your posts. Sauced posts great images that readers can browse.

A great blog provides practical information.

Practical information would be anything useful for readers. Sauced also posts recipes.

Look at your blog as a first time visitor.

When writing posts and designing layout, keep in mind that first time visitors will stumble upon your blog. At first glance, your blog should tell readers what exactly it is about. Keep your blog looking fresh and inviting.


Who blogs and why?

If you are just starting out, getting a handle on what a blog truly is can be a little hard to grasp. These next five points will hopefully narrow it down for you.

Bloggers are people with a great interest in a topic, and can consider themselves ‘experts’ on that topic.

As an ‘expert’ on a topic, you embed yourself within the community of that topic, online and in the real world. Being a part of the underground Christian rock music scene and scouring the web for news allows me to be an ‘expert’ for my blog, Less than the Least.

Bloggers are a set of eyes for a niche audience of a topic.

Your blog should provide insight that your audience may not find elsewhere or provide a hub of updated information your audience may be searching for. Christopher Allbritton discussed how he became eyes for people eager to learn more about the Kurds in Iraq in Blogging from Iraq.

Bloggers are comfortable working solo.

A blogger must be comfortable with his or her own skill set, including writing, editing, photography, video, and posses a basic knowledge of web publishing. There is no team of editors, photographers,or web developers to back you, said Allbritton in Blogging from Iraq.

Bloggers are willing to venture outside of the ‘norms’ of journalism.

Journalism has always been about communicating to the masses. Blogging is about communicating with the masses. Bloggers blog to be part of a community, not just to be the messenger of a community. Blogging is showing your human side, according to the Online Community Strategist.

Bloggers are unique individuals able to brand themselves.

Branding is becoming the go-to-person for your niche audience. Be confident in your abilities, and become interesting to complete strangers.



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