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5 steps to help your blog stand out

Every day there are roughly 3.5 billion internet searches and 2 million blog posts published, so how do you make sure yours stands out, attracts readers and keeps them?

Here are five things I think you should be doing – whether you’re blogging for business or personal reasons.

Be social

Twitter logosThere’s no getting away from the fact that social media is huge and it can be a great tool to reach your target audience.

Do a bit of research to find out which social media platforms your audience is using. From experience, if you were to pick just one social media platform to promote your work on, I would suggest Twitter.

Twitter may only offer 140 characters to work with, including links, but this is more than enough for a snippet of your blog (such as the title), a link to the post and perhaps a well-chosen hashtag to entice your readers.

It can also be a good idea to get involved in Twitter’s many networking chats which happen on an hourly, daily and weekly basis. Whatever your niche, there is bound to be a dedicated networking chat taking place on Twitter at some point – such as #BrumHour which is highly active every Sunday 8pm – 9pm, and dedicated to all things Birmingham.

If you’re using your own images on your blog posts, another social media platform you may want to consider using to promote your work is Instagram. Not only is the platform dedicated to sharing images, but it’s also a great way to promote and link back to your blog.

Content is king

There’s a reason why the phrase ‘content is king’ is so often used in copywriting circles. It’s because search engines count fresh, unique and interesting content as an important part of their algorithms for generating searchresults.

To give your blog the best chance of being found, you need to update it regularly with content which is both unique and interesting. You don’t need to post new content every day, but you should aim for at least once every couple of weeks, or once a week if you can manage it.

And before hitting the publish button on your post, consider whether your post is worthy of being out there for all to see, or if you’re just saying what others are already saying.

Ignore SEO at your peril

You don’t need to be an SEO guru to help make your blog stand out. Knowing some of the basics can make all the difference. Some of the things you should have covered include:

  • H tags: <h1> for headlines, <h2> for subheadings and so on.
  • Alt tags: the images used in your blogs can be optimised to appear in relevant searches. Make sure you give enter a relevant phrase in the ‘alt tag’ metadata for each image.
  • Keywords: is there a phrase or certain words you want your posts to appear for? Make sure you include these keywords in your post and that they have links. Use the keywords as tags for the blog post too.
  • Links: if your posts use sources you’ll need to credit them, and a great way to do this is to link to the original post. If your post refers to a previous post you’ve published – link to it. You can also add links on some of the keywords in your post.

If you’re using WordPress as your blogging platform, install the All-in-One-SEO plugin too.

Ignoring SEO? Then you may as well write your blog on a piece of paper and throw it straight into the bin – it’s likely to be just as effective in reaching your target audience.

Images

Digital cameraA picture can say a thousand words and when it comes to blogging, images are just as important as the words you’re putting down. No-one wants to be faced with a large chunk of text.

As a rule of thumb, try to include an image for every 350 words or so that you have in your post.

Struggling for images? Take a look at these 10 free stock image sites every copywriter should know about.

Words

They may appear last on this list, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important – on the contrary, after all the words are what search engines will be ranking you on and more importantly, your audience will be reading.

Words used in your blog will make all the difference to reaching and engaging with your audience, so make sure you’re using words which your audience can engage with and ones which convey your message. Don’t be afraid to use humour too.

When it comes to words, the most important ones are those used in your title and opening paragraph. In fact, it has been previously suggested that 80% of the audience never read past the headline – so make sure yours stands out. You can test the strength of your blog’s title by using a headline analyser.

There we have it, five key things you should be mindful of whenever you publish a new post, to help your blog stand out that little bit more from the crowd.

Is there anything else you think should be added to the list? Share your ideas, thoughts and feedback by commenting here, or get in touch with me on Twitter @MYounger14

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