Ten Tips for a Better Blog
How to be a better blogger and drive traffic to your blog
1. Post regularly, consistently
Readers and followers of your blog will get accustomed to your timetable, stick with it, don’t disapoint you audience, or Google, for that matter.
2. Make your homepage a Table of Contents of your blog
Post only Titles (headlines) and short summaries, or WordPress excerpts of your posts on your homepage. Use the “Read more” or break tags to avoid having one long post on top of another.
Readers shouldn’t have to scroll past long posts to see what your blog is about or to find a post they are interested. The 600 word post on your homepage may not be what the reader is interested in, but it brands your blog in the reader’s mind even though you have many more posts on different topics, but the reader won’t know that if all he sees is a couple of long posts. Readers are extremely fickle, they will give up.
Your summary paragraph also know as a teaser, should have one or two key paragraphs summarizing your post, packed with that post’s keywords at a maximum. The reader should have to click the “read more” link to view the full post.
Here is an example of a blog’s homepage that has one huge post, usually a huge image, followed by another huge post, this is NOT recommended: Holmes & Company
Here is an example of a blog’s homepage that uses the teaser method, with short excerpts or summaries of the post and thumbnails, in this theme, called “Aggregate” the thumbnails are automatic. Apomme
3. Avoid large blocks of text
People “scan” webpages, they don’t read them like a book. Readers are unforgiving, they hate long blocks of text and will run from your blog no matter how swell you write, if you do that too often.
The Style Guide for the Web is not the same as print, strict rules are throw out the window. For example, your paragraphs should be not more than 1-3 sentences. Some webpages have new paragraphs for every single sentence!
Break up your text into bite-sized pieces.
4. Use Heading Tags for sections
Divide long posts into sections and learn to use heading tags to create slightly larger and blolded text as opposed to just making the text bold. This will also help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
5. Use thumbnail images
Every post must almost always have an image, icon or graphic, and the tease should have a thumbnail of that image. Some WordPress themes do this automatically with something called a “featured image“. Your RSS feed should contain this thumbnail, in some themes this is also done automatically by using the featured image.
Unless your blog subject is photography, for example, most blogs are designed for the display of text, and images should be used is support of that. In general, most images in posts should should take up NO MORE THAN A THIRD of the width of the post, they should be aligned right or left, using padding, (space between the image and the text) and the text should wrap around. Most bloggers use images that are waaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy too big! If you need a really large image, learn to make it click to a larger one.
6. Use black text
Don’t use colored text, use black or dark text on a light or white background. Don’t use unusual fonts, stick to the basics. Don’t use busy background images, keep it simple.
7. Use plenty of links
Learn how to link properly, don’t paste a URL in a post highlight the words that talk about what the link is about and make that an active link. In general, force links to open in a new window.
Link out often, be a good citizen of the web. Also Google will reward you for your efforts!
8. Write for the web
Your first paragraph is Google’s Gold and should be a summary paragraph using as many keywords as possible. Avoid lengthy, scene-setting garbage such as “It was a dark and stormy night..”, don’t begin a post by giving a history lesson either, “Long ago in days of old…”.
Don’t abbreviate anything, for example, don’t use “1/2″ when you mean “one-half”. — “When in doubt, write it out!”
Always be specific, don’t assume Google knows what you are talking about, just because your blog is called “Boston Beans” don’t assume Google knows it’s Boston Massachusetts, or you are talking about the Boston Red Sox. Specify, even if it seems clear to you. Remember darling, it’s the World Wide Web.
9. Stay on topic, don’t digress
Don’t go off in a tangent, stay focused. Break long posts up into smaller ones and link to them if you find you like to wander. Need to explain something? Link to a website about it.
10. Avoid the Widget Wall Cluter
Do you really, really, need that fancy-schmancy doo-hicky on the right? Unless there is a specific need, avoid using widgets simply because you can.