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

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  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!

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