Successful blogs combine the principles of effective writing with the elements of user-friendly website design.
Good writing is about providing high-quality information clearly and concisely. Website design is about usability and functionality – making things as easy as possible for the user.
The best practices listed below incorporate George Orwell’s famous principles from Politics and the English Language, as well as lessons learned from website usability studies by gurus such as Jakob Nielsen.
This week’s 15 top tips for good blogging relate to the content strategy of your blog, the topics you might consider and how to integrate a blog into your online presence.
Next week, we’ll look at the art of writing successful blogs.
The strategy behind successful blogs – what to do and say
1. Integrate the blog into your website. Integration gives it a solid base and structure and draws more readers to your content or product.
2. Make it shareable. Blogs are spread through social media primarily, so include social sharing buttons on every page. Encourage sharing of your blog by offering a valuable or striking piece of content, such as an infographic or image.
3. Include social follow buttons on each blog page. Blog readers are often active social media users. “Liking” your page will bring them into your community and make it more likely they’ll read your next blogs. It will also help introduce you to friends and acquaintances on their social networks.
4. Publish regularly. Keep your blog up to date and never let it go stale. A publishing calendar will help with this. Aim to blog at least once or twice a week, even if it is only a picture or short snippet of news.
5. Include a relevant image with every blog.
6. Offer occasional videos, albums and slideshows as well as text.
7. Offer relevant hyperlinks to external resources – like best practices for SEO or Jakob Nielsen’s report on writing for social media. This will increase your blog’s usefulness in the eyes of both readers and search engines.
8. Use Google Analytics to see which posts are popular with readers. Track the number of visits, amount of time spent on page, number of comments, and number of likes/follows. Use this data when devising your publishing calendar.
9. Be interesting. Focus on topics that are of interest to readers and provide valuable information. Don’t promote yourself overtly, or you will put readers off.
- local events
- current trending topics
- industry-specific topics
10. Allow comments. Blogs are conversations between writers and readers, so let everyone take part. Regulate comments to prevent spam, but allow negative as well as positive opinions.
11. Put a blog feed in a prominent place on your home page. This is a list of latest news or blog posts which shows readers and search engines that your site is fresh and up to date.
12. Talk, don’t sell. Marketing language is inappropriate. Use blogs to help build reader trust and your reputation. A conversational tone works well.
13. Keep it simple. Each blog should focus on one idea or message.
14. Be passionate and authoritative. Honesty and authenticity are essential. Write about topics you are passionate and knowledgeable about, and let that shine through.
15. Promote your blog by putting a link in your email signature and sharing the content through social media – LinkedIn forums, Facebook, Twitter, videos on YouTube, slideshows on Slideshare, and images on Pinterest.
Monica G. – Content Strategist