How to Become a Better Blogger 4: Essentials

Defining your blog’s uniqueness is difficult but critical. It’s what makes your blog memorable.

My personal take on branding is that it is what people think about you, your product or service. It’s about giving the right impression. I don’t know about you but I think a good impression is worth working on. — Better Blog Branding: What’s In a Name?

Branding, intentional or by default starts during the design and strategy stage because that’s when the blogger chooses the niche and lays the foundation for what kind of a site they intend to create. Thereafter branding begins to shift as a reader community develops and evolves it grows. Ultimately, the blogger and the  reader community become co-creators of an ever evolving brand.

Branding is reflected in the keywords and blog description for the site and published on the introductory  About page or Profile page and located by search engines. Your brand includes the style in which the  information is presented and clarifies what readers can expect to be presented with when they come to your site.

When crafting blog posts the better blogger considers:

what is the main message or theme?
who are the readers?
what information is essential?
how can it be organized and most clearly expressed?

The organization of your blog post is an essential part of conveying your message clearly. Clear organized thinking produces clear, logical writing. Some communications problems may be solved by changing words or sentence structure, others involve the way words or thoughts are arranged.

What does your reader most want to know? What is your main message or theme? Decide what information must be included and what can be left out. Then, divide your information into main and secondary points.

Develop a structure for your blog post that will make it easy and enjoyable to use. For example, chronological order might be the most logical approach for describing procedures.

If people already know something about the subject and you are sharing new information, start with the old, then introduce the new.

If you are describing something completely new, start with general information about the objectives or reasons for the new, then deal with the specifics.

Here are a few ways to organize your information:

from general to specific
from specific to general
from positive to negative
step by step
from most important to least important

Flagship Content (Pillar Posts)

In blogging content is king. Every blog needs at least between 4 and 6 pillar posts that identify the your expertise. Pillar posts are longer posts that require research and the contents are of timeless value to your readers. As your blog grows your collection of pillar posts will likewise grow.

A good tip from the readability value and SEO standpoints is to make sure that pillar posts include plenty of links to authoritative and popular external resources. Certain subjects normally contain certain sub sets of subjects. By covering the material comprehensively you give yourself a good article that will rank better in search engines.

Essential SEO Elements Of A Blog Post

Unlike normal web pages, blog posts are easier to create and do not require extensive knowledge of HTML to create a search engine friendly page. All that is requires is a blog application such as WordPress. However, each post still needs to include several SEO elements to help it rank. Assuming you have done your homework and developed a list of keywords and keyword phrases, all that is left is to optimize those keywords for the search engines.

Basic SEO elements for bloggers
Blogging: Learning SEO is worth the effort

(1) Headlines (Titles and Sub-titles): Your title should succinctly state what the contents of the post are. Clever and catchy titles may bring an flush of traffic but they do not continue to deliver readers who are specifically searching for the content that your post has. Use a keyword or keyword phrase  as close to the start of the title as possible. Also use them in sub-titles found throughout the blog post.

(2) Content: Whether you blog under your own name or under a pseudonym establishing your credibility around a specific topic with your readers by engaging in ethical practice and linking is important. From a SEO perspective keywords or keyword phrases can be used throughout the post. However, take note that Google will penalize those who resort to keyword stuffing that diverges from natural flow of the text. From the readers perspective, keep it natural and use key words or keyword phrases only if it’s a natural “fit”.

(3) URL: Try to incorporate a keyword or keyword phrase into the URL.

(4) Categories and Tags: Categories and tags do not necessarily help you with SEO but  social media sites often rely on tags.

Related posts found in this blog:

Deep link posts: Bring your readers back again and again

 

61 thoughts on “How to Become a Better Blogger 4: Essentials

  1. Pingback: Blog Titles and Branding Tools « onecoolsitebloggingtips

  2. TiTi
    When you speak of ‘branding’ does it only relate to the URL, or does it also apply to the name of your blog? When I say name I’m not speaking of your domain name, but the name you choose for your blog?
    Will having your own domain name drive more traffic in comparison to having a WordPress domain an example would be my URL via WP?
    Thanks for all these great articles. I’ve been clicking through to all related posts. I think I need to study and read each post over and over again until I’ve almost memorized each one!
    Best Wishes For You …
    Jaco

  3. TiTi
    I’ve a long way to go and so much to learn. I’m digging through your ‘archives’ searching for answers.

  4. I hope I can start off this blogging thing at some point. Maybe get some readers. Maybe not. Whatever happens I’ll keep writing regardless.

    Thanks for pointing me here too, I’ll keep these points in mind. ^^

    • @Gabriel
      There’s a wealth of information in this blog aimed at helping newbies to learn how to blog effectively. I’m glad to hear that you are committed to blogging over the long term. Remember that it can take up to 6 weeks for search engines to start sending visitors to your blog. Be sure to register and verify your blog with the 3 big search engines using this information found in wordpress.com Support Documentation.

  5. @Lian
    Hi there,
    I’m happy to hear this post was of value to you. I don’t listen to those who take the position that content is not king. Of course it is. And, marketing (promotion) is queen. :)

  6. I think making a good compilation of pillar posts is one of the very basic essentials in improving your blog. And while many bloggers now join the content is not king believers, I still believe that content IS forever more king. Great insights by the way. I’ve been nodding my head to this post.

  7. Pingback: Resources for launching your online writing career « one cool site: wordpress blogging tips

  8. Pingback: How to make money by blogging « one cool site: wordpress blogging tips

  9. Pingback: 5 ‘More’ Articles To Better Blogging — Custom WordPress

  10. @kahunaman63
    Welcome. I’m glad to hear you are on the right track and that you benefited from reading the article. Best wishes for happy blogging.

  11. Good info. Im quite new to all this blogging business. This article gave me a bit of confidence knowing i am on the right track (with a few adjustments). :-))

  12. Thank you. I will be taking a vacation to attend my sister’s wedding. When I return I will continue the series. However, while I am gone guest bloggers will be posting to the blog.

  13. thank you–
    that was insightful & very helpful advice!
    i will bear your advice in mind when editing my blog.
    all the best to you—keep going with it!

  14. @opinionstreams
    Thanks for the compliment. I hope you will find the information in this series and in the blog as a whole to be helpful. Best wishes. :)

  15. @miriam
    Take it slow and make your decisions as you go knowing that all things are subject to change. It’s important to focus on creating quality content. Thanks for commenting and best wishes for happy blogging. :)

  16. Excellent Post, timethief. I’m going to have to come back to this and study your steps here and dig into the further reading. This is definitely helpful information for a new blogger like myself!

  17. i’ve seen your name so many times—in discussions and comments—it prompted me to check out your blog. you have tons of good information for bloggers—-i need to sift through it slowly so i don’t get overwhelmed—i am new.

    thanks

  18. Pingback: Differentiation With Dani « Sabre Kallisions

  19. @thefullbug
    “The secret is offending only people that can’t find you.”

    If you haven’t read my second post in this series and also read the posts I linked to in it then you probably have a false sense of security. Even bloggers who write under a pseudonmym leave digital breadcrumb trails. http://onecoolsite.wordpress.com/2008/07/14/how-to-become-a-better-blogger-2-online-privacy/

    I recommend reading the following:
    Web Anonymity 101 – Digital Breadcrumbs as an introduction;
    Web Anonymity 102 – A Case Study of how easy it is to find information about a person online;
    Web Anonymity 103 – Online Privacy on steps to protect your online identity;
    How to Blog Safely (About Work or Anything Else).

    More to the point is this: You cannot offend anyone who does not give you permission to do so. To choose to be offended is to give away your power and I don’t ever recommend doing that. ;)

  20. @thejournaywithnoend
    Hell there,
    I cannot visit your blog because you did not type in the url. If you had it would be linked to your username. However, I can tell you that this onging series, as well as, my blog as a whole has information that you can use to re-organize and make any changes you feel suit you and your style of blogging. Thanks for reading and commenting and best wishes to you in all you do.

  21. Hey!
    Thanks..basic stuff I new..but made me look over my blog and realize. I need to take the time to change and reorganize. Let me know if you have any suggestions. Inout from an outsider is always good!

  22. @SBA
    I’m enjoying your blog so much that I have placed it on my blogroll. I truly appreciate the support you give me. Friendship is everything in the blogosphere and elsewhere and I appreciate yours very much. I think the fact that we the bloggers and the readers who comment on our blogs are co-creators slips by many of us. One day we stand at the crossroads and recognize that together we are shaping something very unique via relationship and that the process is fulfilling and quite beautiful.
    Best wishes for better blogging. :)

  23. @colour du jour
    You have a lovely blog. It’s well organized and your readers will find not problems at all with navigating the site. Search engine optimization SEO is not “magical” as some people think. It’s sensible. The way people find blogs they are interested in reading is by typing key words and phrases into search engines. Therefore, a better blogger makes sure that those key words are in the title, url and the text of their blog posts so search engines index them and direct potential readers to your blog when they search for those words and terms. Thanks for reading my post and for commenting too. I hope you find the other installments in the series to be helpful as well. Best wishes for happy blogging. :)

  24. Very good post. Everyone has a different take on this, but you hit the main points. Being a better blogger is a nonstop journey…. Wow! Did I just say that? Who would have thought I would have said that one year ago? I did not hardly know what a blog was :-)

  25. I recently read an article on the top 50 (female)blogggers and honestly searched for your blog!!! Of course your influence (‘brand’) in the social media community is well known and well deserved. A series like this shares the critical success factors with the rest of us who may be too focused on a single post or the activity of posting and not step back to view what the blog “is” at that moment in time and what it can be. I especially liked your comment about co-creators. It’s a unique factor in the blogosphere.

  26. Pingback: Steps to becoming a better blogger « diandroid.wordpress.com

  27. Pingback: Check out One Cool Post « Rob’s Megaphone

  28. @Damien
    I enjoy reading your blog and I’m enjoying your friendship. Isn’t it interesting that as soon as some basic white hat SEO tips are shared on any forum someone swoops in and warns against using too much? lol :D

    I’m not worried. The basics I have shared in my blog posts have integrity and certainly don’t stray into any gray areas. Thanks for your comment and best wishes for better blogging. :)

  29. @tasithoughts
    Even those of us who aren’t new to blogging have lots of improvements that we can make. When we first begin we lack a knowledge base, we ask for help and usually receive good advice but sometimes the advice we act on isn’t the best. As we gain experience we find ourselves at a crossroads. We are able to look at our blogs more objectively and we are able to see the need to go back to the beginning and begin to incorporate some basic changes. That’s why I wrote this series. Best wishes when it comes to ironing out your rough edges. I hope the advice I have given will stand you in good stead. Thanks for reading and for commenting too. Best wishes for happy blogging.

  30. @John
    I’m happy to hear you found this article to be useful. I have to fight the impulse to pack too much into my posts. Best wishes for happy blogging.

  31. @RHM
    I’m glad you approve of what I wrote. Brevity and clarity are key and they cannot be achieved unless the focus is narrow. The quality of the pillar post content is timeless and will continue to draw traffic long after they are written. Best wishes for better blogging.

  32. @beranibaca
    I have visited your blog and noticed that it’s structured very well. Your header is attractive and it’s obvious that you have a talent for photography. O’m so glad your are gaining information from my new series and hope that you will continue to read my posts. Best wishes for happy blogging. :)

  33. @Tom
    I have visited your blog and can see that you have indeed created a very unique one. The combination of storytelling and blue grass music is a wonderful mix. Happy blogging. :)

  34. The ticket is to be unique. As far as I know mine is the only physician bluegrass fiction writer’s weblog on wordpress. I am so specialized I created my own genre- modern medical grit lit. Come visit.

    Dr. Tom Bibey

  35. Good post and the part about clarity cannot be overstated. The reader should never be left wondering what the main point of the post was.

    I also like the part about pillar posts. I tend to keep my daily posts to one page or less, but sometimes you have to let loose and be more thorough.

    RHM

  36. @Rod J
    It’s interesting that the reason I began this series is because some of my readers were at a crossroads and began to ask me questions that led to the idea of going back to the beginning. I hope you will find my blog posts to be useful so you will return.
    Best wishes. :)

  37. Nice subject there. Just what’s been going in my mind like a whisper in my subconsciousness. I’m new in blogging and i guess I’ve come to the time when I sort of feel like I’m at some cross roads. I now know what this crossroad is. Thanks.

  38. Excellent post; very useful.

    To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve managed to hit most of the tips except by accident; I’ll try to do a better job of incorporating them. Thanks very much for giving me a push in the right direction!

Comments are closed.