Why do we blog?

 
This is an important question and the answer divides bloggers into two general camps. There are those who blog because they enjoy writing and have something to say, and then there are the rest who blog because (let’s be honest!) Google says they have to.

Now why would Google say that you have to blog? They never say it in those exact words, but for it to rank highly in Google’s search results, a website must be seen by Google to have fresh, quality content which is relevant to the search criteria. On a website, the most effective and efficient way to satisfy these criteria is to frequently and consistently post content in a blog.

But here’s the thing; most people in the Google Says We Have To camp are not writers and creating a regular stream of content is worse for them than plucking nose hairs. This article is written for the Google Says We Have To camp. The other camp already knows this stuff.
 
 
Some tips for composing an effective blog post

    • Above all, a blog post must be informative, or entertaining, or even better; a bit of both. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes- they are looking at a link to your article and the first thing they are asking is why? Why should I read this? Is it going to be worth my time? Using your title and description, you need to show potential readers that it definitely is worth their time.

 

    • Don’t make them regret clicking on that link (clicker’s remorse)! Once you have them on your post page, keep them there with useful, interesting, and/or entertaining quality content. If you can do this, your reader will come back and read more of your content.

 

    • The 80/20 rule is a great guideline for publishing content in a blog (or on social media). It says that 80% of your content should be either informative, useful, or entertaining, while readers will usually tolerate about 20% or your content being promotional, or sales.

 

    • A blog post is not an academic paper! If you are posting content to establish you or people in your organisation as authority figures, quoting a bunch of already established authority figures is probably not going to get you there (it will certainly boost their credibility though). Yes, you must attribute ideas and quotes to their respective owners, and there is definitely a time and place for quotes and footnotes to be used sparingly, but it’s being able to synthesise ideas into your own message that starts you down the path to becoming an authority.

 

    • Images are great. They break up larger chunks of text, make the article much more pleasing to the eye, and if the rumours are true, they can express 1000 words in the physical space of as few as 3 or 4 words. Make sure they are relevant to the article and not just there for the sake of having an image in that space.
      I know what you might be thinking here- who can afford stock photography!? Good point! If you don’t have your own images and are using WordPress (see why this is a really good idea), I would recommend a nifty little plugin called ImageInject which sources free to use images. If the images require attribution, the plugin adds them automatically!

 

  • From an entirely SEO standpoint, an article should have a minimum of 300 words. Frankly, even a 300 word article leaves me with a pretty good case of clicker’s remorse unless it is describing some embedded media. From the standpoint of composing a reasonably good article, if you can’t write 300 words on a topic, either try harder or pass it off to someone who can.

    That may sound harsh, but it all boils down to a question of quality, pure and simple. Yes, Google is looking for quality content, but so are your readers! If Google’s algorithms can’t yet tell if a post has been ‘phoned in’, your readers certainly can! If a reader clicks your link to read your article only to find one or two rambling, unfocused paragraphs, they will be that much less willing to click on a link to your next post even though it might have the makings of the next J.K Rowling.

 
Always remember: all of the tricks and workarounds that ‘specialists’ use are eventually obsolesced as Google improves and tweaks its algorithms. A regular schedule of publishing fresh, relevant, quality content will never steer you wrong and in the long run, will save you a lot of headaches and possibly even a lot of money.

My last point is one of encouragement. Reading and writing, the two most fundamental skills of content creation, go hand in hand. If you want to learn to write well, read. Anyone who wants to improve their reading should write. The beauty is that the more you do it, the more you improve, and the easier it gets!

Let’s end with a quote:

“Remember, I’m pulling for you! We’re all in this together.”Red Green