How to build a brilliant blog

How to build a brilliant blog

Although I only started blogging recently I’ve been amazed at the amount of traffic and interest it’s generated for me and my business.   I’ve quickly realised that Blogs are a great alternative to a standard website, allowing you the flexibility to update frequently at little or no cost.

If you’re new to the world of blogging, here are some helpful tips (from a blogging beginner) to help you get started:

1) Choose the best platform

This blog is built in WordPress, installed on my own domain. The process with these guys is simple just:

  1. Find a Web Host and make sure it meets the hosting requirements.
  2. Download & Install WordPress takes around 5-minutes
  3. Consult the Documentation and become a WordPress expert yourself.

So far so good for a non-techie like me, although managing some plugin integration has been a bit difficult, especially as I decided to use my own template.
Alternatively, you can choose a free, hosted blogging platform. Check out ProBlogger for advice on pros and cons of each.

2) Design something pretty

Rather than sticking to the set templates, work up your own design for something a bit more personal and interesting. You want to stand out from the crowd. Also, be sure you check your blog theme works across different browsers.

3) Check your copy

Ensure you’ve double-checked each article for typos before you post. It’s really embarrassing if your first-ever comment is to point out a spelling mistake.

4) Include social media buttons

Include an ‘Add to’ function (see the bottom of this page) that easily allows visitors to add you to their favourite social media site.
Also consider including:
– Find me on Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn links.
– Twitter follow.
– RSS feed.
– Email subscription.
– Links to your Delicious links, StumbleUpon links and so on.

5) Consider SEO

All the rules of SEO for websites also apply to blogs. See my posts on SEO for more advice or take my 10 day SEO challenge.

How to write great SEO copy

My top five quick SEO fixes

6) Include static pages

As well as your core blog, you should have a few additional pages that provide some information about who the heck you are. This applies even if you already have another website.
These should include:
–    About or Home page – details of who you are, your background, history, maybe even a photograph.
–    Contact page – Allow users to contact you rather than just leave comments.

7) Consider blog length

There are no hard and fast rules about the perfect length for a blog post, but common sense dictates users will only read so much. Anything from 800-1,000 words is acceptable, but be sure to break up long copy with sub headers, bullets, images and links.

8 ) Quality and quantity

Ensure your posts are interesting, engaging and relevant. Blogs are not Twitter and shouldn’t necessarily be used to update faithful subscribers with info about your tedious daily life. Try to add some value or provide a new opinion. It’s also important to post regularly; 10 posts a month would be a great start.

9) Analytics

Set up some kind of analytics package from day one. You don’t have to pay big bucks, Google Analytics is excellent and provides more information than most bloggers will ever need. Key sections to look for are:
–    Most visited pages – which of your blogs are the most popular?
–    Key words – which keywords are your users typing in to find your site?

10) Get involved

Try to get some comments up on your site from day one (even if you have to bribe friends and family). Conversation begets conversation. Consider adding your site to some Blog listing sites such as Bloggapedia, or Technorati.
Also be sure to join forums, comment on other blogs that are relevant and generally be aware of what is happening out there that is relevant to your subject matter.

Want to have a chat?

If you need a Copywriter, SEO Consultant or Information Architect, then please contact me.

The Recipe for SEO Success
The Clever Copywriting School

  • Hey Toonie, i’ve been reading all your blog posts, hehe… some great tips above! I’d actually recommend Movable Type over WordPress for anyone looking at running multiple blogs. And with Analytics, I find it interesting seeing where my traffic is coming from as well as search terms used 🙂

  • Hey Jen – thanks for the comment. I’ll check out Movable Type – and yes traffic sources are key. I get heaps from Twitter and a lot through just natural listings.

  • Paul

    Another great read Kate. My wife is getting the blogging bug too and she’s finding your blog very useful.

  • For SEO optimisation with WordPress you can download the All-in-one SEO Pack Plugin which automatically optimises your site and posts. It saves you a lot of time and gruntwork.

    Download it here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/

    Lee

  • So True lee. I have that plugin myself it rocks

  • Kate, thank you for the “Add to” button! I was struggling to figure that out when I revisited your post that I had bookmarked for just such a time as this (now that I’ve started a blog). Cheers!

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