Blogging: Content is King

womanatcomputerThis post is a summary of blogging tips for both beginner bloggers and for those who are critically appraising their blogs and preparing to make changes with a view to increasing traffic.

Generally speaking (although there are exceptions), blogs tend to have a few things in common:
A main content area with articles listed chronologically, newest on top. Often, the articles are organized into categories.
An archive of older articles.
A way for people to leave comments about the articles.
A list of links to other related sites, sometimes called a “blogroll”.
One or more “feeds” like RSS, Atom or RDF files. — From: Introduction to Blogging from the wordpress codex

The primary focus of any blogger should be on creating high quality, interesting content, targeted at a specific audience and presented in a manner that makes it readily and easily available through search engines.

Remember that content is king and strive to structure a blog that’s both reader friendly and search engine friendly using white hat SEO (search engine optimization) techniques. Do not succumb to using any techniques that are not strictly on the up and up and never buy links.

  1. Write about the things you know something about and are passionate about.
  2. Know who your target audience is and produce content that catches and holds their interest.
  3. Choose your keywords carefully, stay on topic when you write and use but do not overuse, keywords in the headlines, sub titles and body of your posts.
  4. Write eye-catching headlines that clearly describe the contents of each post.
  5. Use relevant sub-headings in your posts.
  6. Blog regularly and vary the length of your posts.
  7. Post images for illustrative purposes and, for more visual appeal and, to break up large blocks of text. Always use alt tags and descriptions for images so they will be made accessible by spidering and indexing. Readers who may not be interested in your content may be interested in your images.
  8. Be selective and assign the least number of relevant tags and categories to your posts.
  9. Include links to reference and research articles that you have consulted/quoted.
  10. Include links to your own relevant related content to keep readers on your site longer.
  11. Maximize use of your blog structure by placing important features and links “above the fold”.
  12. Avoid creating distractions. Messy sidebars filled with cutesy “tat” as well as pop-up and/or animated advertisements may distract your readers away from reading your content. Pages that load too slowly are a reader turn-off.
  13. Respond to comments promptly and in a polite manner.
  14. Develop a relevant Blogroll or Links page. The links that are of value to your blog and your readers are those that are related to your blog’s subject matter.
  15. Join social networks and connect with other bloggers who write on the same topical material, register your blog, make friends and network to promote your blog.

Related posts:
How to: Google Site Verification
Building a blog with readers in mind
How to structure a reader and search engine friendly blog
Matt Cutt’s Whitehat SEO Tips for Bloggers: WordCamp 2007
WordPress.com tagging tips: Don’t be a spam-dexer
Improving your Google Page Rank

26 thoughts on “Blogging: Content is King

  1. I’m simply blown away by the wealth of knowledge contained here, I find myself spending more time on your blog drinking it all in. There’s so much to consider when putting up a blog, I’m finding it best to learn all I can before building my blog. And I think that is ok. Wishing you continued success!

    joer223

    • This particular post is a “blogging in a nutshell” post. Read on … the welcome mat is out and there’s a cosy a big chair is next to the fireplace …

  2. Problem is, I enjoy writing about varied subjects without having a specific target audience in mind throughout my blog… maybe that is where the flat as flaat blog traffic comes in. Also, can anyone tell me what a blogroll is?

  3. Pingback: How To Lock In A Audience « Teck~Line

  4. I’m glad to hear that you are finding what you need. In my sidebar you will find a box with a “Build a better blog” heading. The links under that title are probably the ones that you may want to check out first. Best wishes for happy blogging :)

  5. how funny! I knew you “sounded” familiar when I saw your posts on blog catalog. Now I find you again with a lot more experience under my belt (well a lot for a month or two.) A lot enough to know I have a LOT to learn. I’m reading everrrrrything here slowly and carefully and, as Arnold would say, Oll be bak. thanks.

  6. hi Timethief .
    Was looking at your index page, I was wondering how made it. I like when blogs have sitemaps, it makes it easy to find interesting posts or older posts. I am wondering if you’d share how you make one for a wordpress.com blog.

    sorry for asking here, I didnt know the best post to ask on.

  7. Thank you so much for this tutorial. Your blog acts as an excellent example of the principles you discuss.

  8. grownANDsexy
    Hi there.

    (1) WordPress.com does run adsense ads on our blogs. We cannot see them when we are logged in but they most certainly are there. Some screenshots are available although I can’t locate the links at the moment. The FAQs says:
    “You may see some advertising on WordPress.com:
    1. VIP blogs are able to run ads.
    2. We also run some ads sometimes and the reasons for that are explained here http://wordpress.com/blog/2006/09/06/on-ads/

    (2) I’m a member of Blog Catalog, Mybloglog, Digg, Reddit, Technorati however I messed up my widgets and have not got around to replacing them as yet.

    (3) There is no automatic way to have the social icons appear at the end of each post. It’s a find and replace job that must be done manually. This post explains how to do it and where to get the code. Read the comments and notice that there are two versions now.

    I hope this helps. :)

  9. Hello Time~Thief how are you doing today.

    The Automattic, staff released a WP.com search engine today allowing WP.com bloogers to search for blogs and Article topics their interested in.

    So I thought would post this in comment for you and your readers
    here is the link to the official WordPress article.Search WordPress.com

    HI Tech,
    Thanks I read it too. :)

  10. Useful post. I just finished reading yesterday on the NYTimes about blogging and between this article and theirs I think I may change a few ways on how I post. The 2 blogs I post mostly on mostly focused on fashion so I am not sure if I can use all of your suggestions, but when I make a current events post, then I can see everything listed in your article becoming very important.

    Couple of questions about your blog:
    1) As for as I know, there is no advertising on wordpress.com, so why have the advertising warning?
    2) I see you use Blog Catalog but why not My Blog Log?
    3) How do you get those “digg this” and “blinklist” link sharing buttons on the post?

    Again, very useful post. Thanks for posting it.

  11. Thanks for this informative article. I keep reading about the importance of images, tags and social networks. Guess I need to learn how to use these.

  12. Hi Mark,
    Yes, indeed some bloggers focus simply on voice and connecting with community. However, for those who want to blog well as well as writing well the tips above are easily put into practice. Good writing and appropriate use of basic SEO techniques are not mutually exclusive. And, in the final analysis bloggers want traffic so it makes sense for them to structure their blogs in such a way that search engines will deliver the traffic that they desire.

  13. There are times when I cannot separate content from form. In fact, there are blogs that I read because the voice is compelling, not because I am interested in the specific subject matter. Of course, I found such blogs through social networking, not keywords or a search engine, neither of which can capture the voice of a blogger. Many bloggers prefer to focus on their voice and making connections with other blogs without worrying about the SEO techniques you mention. It is a reasonable approach to blogging too—at least for them.

  14. At wordpress.com we are all working on the same multiuser blogging platform WP MU free-hosted by wordpress.com. This is what it currently says in the FAQs for free-hosted wordpress.com bloggers:
    “Can I use Google Analytics?
    No.
    We already use Google Analytics code to monitor the domain in ways that provide us with useful information to benefit the service we offer. It is not possible to use two instances of Google Analytics on one page.” http://faq.wordpress.com/2006/08/03/can-i-use-google-analytics/

    If you hire a web host and download your free install from wordpress.org then you can have Google analytics.

  15. timethief: I apologize for posting here. It looks like comments are closed on a very old post of yours.

    I am new to wordpress and love it! but… isn’t it true that wordpress.com blogs STILL can’t really use google analytics (because you can’t enter the javascript code or save the html file). If I register my own domain name will I be able to do this, or would I still need to go through wordpress.org?

    What I’m really trying to do actually is just gain more and more information about where my readers are coming from and how I can target content for them. I’m DEFINITELY going to read just about everything you’re writing here and in other forums where I see you post but any other next steps for this newbie, considering “level 2″ would be much appreciated.

    I had a blog on blogger before and was frustrated that simple errors in their beta features seemed to mean complete lockdown with no way to communicate that to anyone in a help desk. I like wordpress so much better, but miss being able to enter some of the javascript functionality of other programs. I still can’t right?

    anyway, thank you!

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