Setting Up Your Blog for Success
- Creating an effective blog page layout
- Maximizing post effectiveness
- Optimizing your post for on-line search
Page Layout – Make Your Blog Easy to Navigate
Set up your blog inside your website (i.e. your blog is integrated under your main URL mywebsite.com, using WordPress or comparable CMS (Content Management System).
This allows you to have your web site’s top level navigation and search across the top of the blog post. Plus, each blog post contributes with “link juice” to the overall ranking of your website.
Additional navigation is available on the right sidebar, with social media buttons, a sign-up box, and most viewed posts.
Aim to have all these elements “above the fold” i.e. your visitor sees all these elements without scrolling down the screen:
Social Media Buttons
Give your readers the opportunity to connect with you on the platforms of their choice – Linked In, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook (depending on your target user)
Your first CTA (Call to Action). Keep it simple – Ask for an email address to sign up for your newsletter or a free tips guide.
Most Popular Posts
Gives the visitor a sense of what other visitors have read.
Optionally, you might show two additional elements in the left bar – categories and tags. Even if you opt not to make them visible, they are important part of your post – more on this in the later section “Optimizing your blog post”.
Components of an Effective Blog Post
A strong title, good opening paragraph and a graphic are important for two reasons:
- All major social media platforms capture these three elements for presentation when you create a link from their platform to your post.
- This initial presentation of content will impact on the visitor’s willingness to read the rest of your post.
Re-confirms to the visitor they clicked through to the desired content. Psychologically, the title should also create a gap or dissonance in your knowledge and the topic at hand. Having a number in the title is a sure way to do this.
Check out Buzzfeed – “15 Examples of Politicians behaving Badly” is a typical title. For this series of blog posts, I’m using “Top 10 Steps to On-line Lead Generation” as my lead title.
There’s a trend towards longer posts (300-500 words). Also, because people tend to scan content when reading on screens, keep your paragraphs short with one key thought at a time.
It’s a good idea to naturally include the appropriate keyword or two into the title, and front-end content. Remember that readability rules, so don’t “keyword stuff”.
People like looking at images. The brain processes a picture faster than a paragraph of text, so make sure the image is relevant. Pictures also create a visual break from text.
Links as part of the blog text serve two purposes:
- Links internal to your site help readers be re-directed to other content on your website. Google tracks these links when indexing your site.
- External links, used judiciously, strengthen the blog post by offering links to other more established sites for reference material. When setting up such an external link, have it open in a new tab so that your site is still live in the reader’s browser.
Call to Action
The reader has now come to the end of the post. Help them decide what to do next. This is your opportunity to increase engagement. Make an offer.
Optimizing your post
As mentioned earlier, there are “behind the scenes” things to do as part of optimizing your post
Each post can be categorized using one or more key phrases. This is a great place to use some of your keywords to let a visitor hone in on all those posts related to their original area of interest. Categories index content tool internal to the blog and your site, where as
Tags index your blog post for external content aggregators and is especially useful if you are pinging.
External services such as Technorati and Google Blog Search listen for “pings” from you to know you have updated and indexed your content. If using WordPress, pinging is done automatically using Ping-o-Matic.
Search Engine Optimization
Also, while search engines are becoming more sophisticated at discerning page content and titles, SEO plugins like SEO-All-In-One or Yoast allow you to better control titles and descriptions as they show up in search results.
Next up in this B2B lead generation series: Getting Started with Google My Business