blogosphereRecently I was asked to work up what I think would be the best way to handle blog and article posts for our AWG Internet Marketing Blog. After giving it some thought and looking at the guidelines I had set for myself, these are the basic things that I came up with:

  • Post length – Posts should be at least 3 good paragraphs and at least 500 [words] (yeah, I know my original memo said characters; let’s hear it for the typo). – This is mainly for SEO and Panda update purposes. There is no sense in making a post if it is going to get killed by the “Panda” before anyone sees it. I figure 500 [words] is a nice round number that gives the content an opportunity to be informative and robust. The search engines like “robust” and the reader likes “informative”.
  • Brainstorm – If you don’t have a very clear idea of what you want to write about, brainstorming always helps to generate some ideas. Make a list of possible topics and how those topics are relevant to your area of expertise. – You’re not going to write about programming an algorithm if you are in design, just like you wouldn’t write about the benefits of an “F” layout if you are in PPC Management.
  • Be concise – Making it to 500 [words] is great, but if your content is mostly fluff or “thin” content, you will be doing yourself and your blog a disservice. After Panda, thin content can kill rankings. Don’t just add content for the sake of adding content. Your post should be well thought out before you even start writing it.
  • Use calls to action, but do so in moderation – There doesn’t have to be a call to action after every paragraph. Too many calls to action can make your post look spammy and it may turn readers off to your blog. Yes, 9 times out of 10 you will be writing a post that is designed to educate and promote your business, but it isn’t necessary to put “click here to purchase our product/service” more than, maybe three times throughout the post. If you want to link to the product/service page using in-text editorial links, that is fine. It doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be on every mention of a certain keyword within the post.
  • Titles should be relevant and catchy – This isn’t always easy. Just do the best you can. You want something that will sum up the content of the post and get the reader to look at it and say “I need to take a look at that”. Titles can do a lot of things that will get that attention. They can be funny, shocking or just so interesting that the reader has to look. One thing they should never be is vague. Coy? Maybe. Vague? No. For instance, I write about SEO and Social Media. If I used the title “Making Things Better” as the title for this article, A.) It would most definitely raise questions in the readers mind about the “things” that could be made “better” and B.) The post could show up in the search results for all sorts of unrelated topics from mental health to green technology. With a title like “Tips for Better Blog Writing” I can be assured that this post will be seen by people who are looking for information about writing a blog.
  • Consider your keywords – While writing your article, consider which keywords you think the reader of your post will likely be searching. If you write about web design, then of course you are going to want to try to get “web design” into the copy at least a couple of times. Don’t over-do it. At 500 words, 3 or 4 times are plenty. We don’t want spam.
  • Images are important – A good visual representation of the subject matter of your post can serve to liven up your post at worst. At best, it will make the reader think about how the image is related to the subject matter and maybe even illicit a chuckle. “A picture is worth a thousand words” and a good image can get the reader involved and encourage them to stick around and read the text.
  • Ben SteinTry to be entertaining – Not all subjects are going to lend themselves to this one without some work. Remember that this blog is your “voice” on the web. Your personality should come through to some extent. I’m not saying to get rowdy (hey if that’s who you are. . .) but, if the reader wanted to read a text-book to get their information, they would…but they’d probably be bored. If they get bored reading your post, they’re going to look elsewhere. Think about Ben Stein in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. If you write in that type of monotone, droning, almost hypnotizing, bland style, you can expect to bore your readers to sleep.

What have we learned?

There are many important factors to successful blogging and everyone has their own way of doing things. But if you, even loosely, follow the guidelines above you are at least off to a good start.

I’m sure there are some of you out there that have other ideas on how to do this blogging thing and I’d love to hear what you have to say, so, please, leave your questions and comments below and thanks for reading my post!

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