In order to build a blog people want to read, you need to blog about something you are passionate about. Sometimes finding what you’re passionate about is the challenge. We lead such busy lives and we get caught up in others stories. We tend to use others as a mirror for ourselves when we really need to tap into what we are doing when we are the happiest.
As I was thinking about how to present this topic a suggested movie showed up on my Netflix feed. It probably was suggested because I love the Great British Baking Show and I watch it every night before I go to bed. This movie presents the topic of blogging perfectly. It shows the struggles, the triumphs and the ultimate fulfillment in writing your own blog. Here is the trailer to “Julie & Julia” by Sony Pictures:
Keep it Personal
I believe the most important feature of a blog is that it has your personal opinions, insight, or humor in it. One of my clients, Kate Sheehan, writes a blog reviewing cookbooks. Her blog is katecooksthebooks.com. She makes recipes in the cookbook and writes about her experience making the dish. Her most popular post is Cooks Illustrated Chicken Parmesan which had 143 views last month and was written in 2013.
Even if you think your subject may be dry for people, spice it up with your own opinion. Interject with a joke or comment about how you really feel about it. Being a little self-deprecating helps.
In my blog, suziwilson.com, I write about places I visit, recipes I’ve made, and general life experience. I don’t write hoping to attract readers. I write as a bit of a diary. I enjoy looking back to see what I’ve done and what I was feeling at the time.
Set a Goal
A goal is critical to meeting your goals. This is true whether it is blogging or any other endeavor. Make sure you set a goal and keep to your schedule. Be honest with yourself. No one really cares whether you write, or don’t write. So, the only person you will let down if you fail is YOU. But, YOU are the most important person in your world. So, don’t let yourself down.
I have many tasks to keep on track and my favorite tracking tool is asana.com. The tool you use isn’t as important as keeping on track. Blogging takes time. I find it is best to have somewhere you can jot down notes. Sometimes I will have a blog post in draft mode for weeks before I finally publish it. You could have a goal that just says you have to open your draft posts once a day, for example.
Create a conversation
Encourage people to comment on your blog. When you ask people to comment make sure you reply to their comments. Don’t discourage negative comments but always turn on moderation so you can keep the spammers away. You can set these from your Admin panel under Settings|Discussion.
Connect your Blog
Make sure your blog is easy to find. Adding a newsletter feature (I like Mailchimp). Use an easy signup feature on your website (I like MailChimp for WordPress in combination with MailChimp for WordPress – Top Bar).
I suggest you set up separate social media channels for your blog. Create a business Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, etc. When you use your personal accounts you limit your following and your personal social media channels are no longer personal. It is too difficult to separate your personal life and make the lines between them difficult to see and navigate. Sure, you will start by sharing with your friends and family, but others can join in too.
Push your blog articles to Social Media automatically. Jetpack is a good plugin for that. You want to try to push content from your blog out to your social media channels because it brings people back to your blog.
Use Google Analytics
Make sure you connect your blog with Google Analytics so you can follow who is visiting your blog, what keywords they are searching for when they find you, and what their favorite articles are. You can find out how to install your Google Analytics here.
Organize your Blog
You should have specific “categories” or topics you blog about. These would be generalized topics like gardening, car racing, or antique finds. Then you use “tags” to get more specific. If you had a category of travel, you might use the destination as a tag. You can use multiple tags.
You can setup your menu to show categories which is why they are generally broad topics. The narrower tag is used so that people can find all the topics related to that tag. So, if I visited a museum in New Orleans I would use the category=Travel, and use the tags Museum and New Orleans. That way if someone is reading my article and want to know other things in New Orleans they can click on the New Orleans tag and see the other articles.
You should only use your own photo’s or royalty free images. I like Pixabay.com and Pexels.com or free images and 123rf.com for paid images. If you don’t you may have to pay large sums for copyright infringement. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that no one is paying attention or that you aren’t big enough for anyone to go after. It has happened and I have seen it first hand.
SEO and Organic Reach
Remember that words are what make the internet work so don’t forget to use your words over and over again.
Excerpts – Use an excerpt to entice the reader to read more. An excerpt can be used as your Social Media enticement.
Google Snippet – Edit the Google Snippet and use the Yoast SEO Plugin suggestions to gain an advantage in searches.
Alt Tag your Images – Make sure to use great descriptions of your images in the Alt Tag of every one. Blind people use these Alt Tags to see your image and Google uses it to serve your image to people searching the internet.
Publish an RSS Feed – Many people and news resources use your RSS feed to bring news to people. Make sure you include images in your RSS Feed to make it more attractive to others. I use the plugin Featured Images in RSS & Mailchimp Email to add my Featured image to the RSS Feed.
Guest Blogging & Bing News
Guest blogging is another way to gain readers. Search out other bloggers and offer to do a guest blog about a subject. It is a great way to create a buzz and get noticed.
Recently Apple introduced a news channel people can customize. It is called Apple News. My blog was recently approved to be included in the feed for Apple News. The plugin you need to get started is Publish to Apple News. I have been very happy with the results of this service and how easy it was to setup.
If you have idea’s you would like to share please add a comment below.