As of today, my blog is five months old. From zero views, it’s grown to sixteen hundred. I had no comments, and now I have over thirty. My highest views in a day were 113 on my adoption post, and half the people who read that one shared it! To any “more-accomplished” blogger reading those numbers, they might look very small, but I continue to be amazed that my reader base has grown the way it has in just a short time. If you are one of those readers, (and you are, or you wouldn’t be here, right?) thank you! And if this blog has motivated you to take the next step and start writing, I hope this second round of tips for the new blogger helps you. If you missed the first part, it’s here.
Without further ado–
Tips for the New Blogger, Part 2
- SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the way that you prepare posts so that search engines like Google are able to refer readers to your blog more easily. I don’t want to write a blog so that my main intention is getting traffic. I want to write from my heart. However, if no one reads my blog, I might as well be writing in a personal diary. Thus, SEO is a necessary
evilstep in my writing process. Though SEO is a complex process (find more information here), I am just focusing on a few elements right now that I will share with you. The first is having an optimized title. As I’ve written, I’ve discovered that some titles draw in more readers; the same is true for drawing in more search engine traffic. This article was the very first one I wrote. It got traffic, but only from my facebook friends who were trying to support me (thanks!). If I were writing the post today, I might change the title to something like “How to Strengthen Your Weaknesses with God’s Help.” Think about what you click on pinterest. “Twenty Ways to…” or “How To…” are always good ways to start titles, because they make the reader feel curious and that there will be lots of must-have information in the post. The second method I use is repeating my title (or parts of it) throughout my post. Repeating those keywords shows Google that my content is something readers searching for particular terms might find useful. My third tip for SEO is to connect your posts through embedded hyperlinks. I just did that in this paragraph. If I can refer someone to one of my previous posts by allowing them to simply click a link, they will stay on the site longer. If they like what they read, they may even subscribe or share, driving more readers to the blog.
- Prepare your images for SEO, and then pin away! When you first upload images into the WordPress media gallery, the titles are nebulous things, like “image26”. Any pinterest fans in the house? If so, make sure to read this. I know that when I’m on pinterest, I often click on images that lead to nowhere. At some point, a pinner has taken your image, saved it, and pinned it from there. That means that the link is no longer attached to the image, and that’s why it’s so important to change your image title and your alt text to include at least your blog address, but ideally the URL to the post as well. When someone finds a lonely image of yours drifting at sea, they will be able to use that information to find your blog again. Even better than adding just your blog address (which is as far as I’ve gotten so far–summer project!) is to add a descriptive sentence that will
trickmake people want to click your image when it’s pinned. See my image for details. Another goal I have to Pinterest-preparedness is to start creating rich pins. Check that out here, and feel free to give me some feedback below with your experiences in “rich-pinning,” since that will be new to me.
- Use Google Analytics to check the bounce rate of your blog, and then take steps to lower that rate. Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who only view the first page they land on (landing page) of your blog and then leave. You can find more details about the term here or about how to get started with Google Analytics here. Honestly, I am not technical enough to explain them:) Our goal, obviously, would be to reduce bounce rate and increase reader loyalty. My bounce rate is better some days than others. Most days look like the graphic shown here, where a few faithful readers stay around to read more, but my goal is to lower that rate. What are some practical ways to lower the rate? Number one is writing good content. Those readers I’ve heard from who keep coming back and sharing what I write (thank you!) are loyal because they like what they read. In addition to embedding links to old posts in new ones, I also link to outside sources, like I have in this post. Especially when readers go to an outside link, I have those links open up in a new window. I don’t want them to leave my content to go elsewhere, thus increasing the likelihood that they will read something else I’ve written. Finally, I have my posts organized into categories that are easy to find via the buttons on the homepage and the header menu. If someone wants to read about faith, organization, or finances, I want them to find attractive, enticing articles all in one spot.
My blog is not perfect, and it probably never will be. But that’s exactly the point. I wrote this blog to face the weaknesses in my life (or beam in my eye) head-on, with God’s help. [Tweet “I wrote this blog to face the weaknesses in my life (or beam in my eye) head-on, with God’s help.”] Everything you will find me writing about is my struggle and God’s triumph simultaneously on display. I am hoping that this blog is blessing someone, and that these tips help someone else to use blogging as an outlet for creativity and even faith.
Is that new blogger you? I would love to hear any questions or comments you have about your new blog journey. Hope the tips get you started!