10 Rarely Used Tips to Supercharge Your Blog
1. Always make sure the top post on your blog has unique content that is attractive to a first time visitor. Bloggers write a lot of different things, including personal rants, news, link lists and lots of content that directs visitors to other resources and sites. While this is great, it can have massive effects on new visitors who stumble onto your blog; after all, the first thing they get to look at is the top post. The main homepage of your blog will be the strongest page for rankings and branding, as well as offering the best opportunity to win new subscribers and visitors.
If first time visitors aren’t enticed by your first post, they’ll probably leave without scrolling down to see what else is there. You can maximize you pages per visit by ensuring your highest quality posts are at the top when new visitors arrive there. Most blogs unfortunately use strict chronological posting with the top post always being the last thing you wrote. You can make sure your top post is of the highest quality from the perspective of a new user by actively controlling it using one of these methods (listed from easy to advanced):
- Posting unique articles after you post resources, then digging the articles and other lower-quality posts from the perspective of a new visitor (e.g. posts about content or posts directing visitors somewhere else);
- Using a sticky post plug-in to directly control the top post;
- Rewriting and using multiple WordPress loops (like I’m using on this blog) which allow regular posts to be separated from a ‘featured’ article section.
2. Use at least 1 2-4 keyword search string in every post title. If you want to use highly creative titles, put a separator symbol (like a |) and then put a keyword description of the subject matter after words. Make sure to use a keyword or subject description of 2-4 words that EXACTLY match what some people search for (if you don’t want to do research, you can use intuition and still end up with traffic). This sounds so simple, but over and over again I see new and old blogs with only creative titles and no keywords. It makes a huge difference, because on everything from other bloggers linking to you, to the value of the keyword placement, to the link from social media sites the keywords in the title help Google know what a page is relevant for. Here is an example of a keyword we rank for as a result of targeting post titles: New Internet Advertising Model | Content Production Turned on It’s Head. Note that it ranks for new internet advertising model.
3. Put posts in one category only (MAYBE two, but no more). This is absolutely critical for new blogs. If you put the same posts in multiple categories you’re creating lots of pages with duplicate content on them. Without getting into search engine algorithms, Google doesn’t rank pages with the same content on them as high and if you don’t have a lot of links and authority, that much duplicate content can make your site “appear” really spammy and reduce its ability to rank; it could also increase the amount of pages Google puts in it’s supplemental index. I’ve seen lots of newer blogs with 50% of their content in the supplemental index largely from problems like this.
4. Have a prominent subscribe button with feedreader options, a highlighted button or area to subscribe via e-mail and a link to instructions on what rss is and how to use it (lots of industries target less-than-tech savvy individuals and I run into mainstream people who don’t use rss or know what it is; by describing the subscription process, having multiple, easily found options and a subscribe-via e-mail-link, you’ll increase your subscription rate and the amount of visitors that return to your site.).
5. Use your robots.txt to disallow the Googlebot from indexing duplicated portions of your blog If your site is new and most of your pages contain the same content, it’s going to affect your search engine rankings. A new blog doesn’t have a lot of “juice” to push all those pages and when Google see’s all that duplicate content, it’s likely to put many of your pages in its supplemental index. Duplicate content portions include alternative ways of showing the same posts (like sorting by different categories that contain mainly the same posts).
6. Track what keywords people are finding you by on the search engines and write more on those topics / keywords.
7. Make sure your post topics, blog purpose, and name are clear within 3 seconds of landing on any page or post on your blog. This is accomplished by correctly making all the elements in your blog work together and target one message.
8. Use images at least some of the time, and if you have the ability, video or flash. Visual content can dramatically increase the percentage of people who visit your site.
9. Give references with links to other blog posts you’ve written on the same topic. Always try to give new visitors links to back-history on specific words / topics and provide easy links for them to be able to locate similar posts, follow the history of the current conversation (e.g. if it’s a follow up) without having to search through your blog for them. This has to be done with human references; the automated ways just generate crappy lists.
For example, on this blog ,when I talk about different aspects of marketing your blog, I often reference posts that I’ve written on the same subject, making it easy for visitors to find other relevant information without having to search for it.
10. Make your posts easy to scan. If you’re using lists, bold the most important part so readers short on time can get the main points without having to read through everything. We’re in a tight competition for eyeballs, and people need to be able to scan your blog posts quickly, especially if they’re lists and intended for social media marketing.