This is the third article in a series on Blogging Best Practices. In the first two articles, I reviewed the advantages of “Why blog?” and addressed topics in “Where to Start” in creating a topic. In this article I review best practices in blog format and content. And how keywords and structure can make your article not only easier to read, but also better for the search engines.
This is a question I receive often. The answer, post frequently, one to two times per week is recommended.
The title should incorporate your key words and provide the focus for the article. Use the title to capture the reader’s attention and provide a teaser for the content.
For example the title of this article could have been “how to blog” or “blogging 101”, but “Best Practices for Blogging Format & Content” sets an expectation.
What sounds more appealing:
- “Machine Vision Solutions in Packaging” or 5 Best Practices in Machine Vision?
- “Usability Principles for Website Design” or “6 Easy Ways to Improve your Site’s Usability?
- “How about “Overview of pending government bill XXXXX” or “What the new education legislation may mean for your child?”
Use your title to draw in your audience.
Capture attention – use subheadings to support your catchy title. Subheadings help make the material easier to read and scan. They are also helpful to re-emphasis key words that support search engine rankings.
Focus on one topic area. Each article should focus on one and only one area which should translate into one key phrase (think search engine key words).
Make it interesting. Insure your content is applicable to your audience. Don’t just talk about your products or services. Your visitors should already be able to find this information on your website. Instead, use the blog to talk about how your product has solved a key problem. Illustrate how your services have made a difference for one of your clients . (Note, make sure to obtain client permission first). Consider offering expert advice for your industry niche, or tips and tricks for a product.
Include at least one Image. Be sure to include at least one image whether it be a photo, a graphic, or even clip art. Embed the image in your text. Make it relevant to your article and be sure that the “alt” tags and the image filename reflect your keyword or key phrase.
Include references. Include applicable links to website webpages or other company content or even external resources, but don’t use the article to advertise or sell.
Call to action. Consider including a call to action at the end (e.g., sign up for newsletter, download whitepaper, contact us, learn more)
Length. Of course the length of your post will vary on your audience and topic areas. However, research has shown the optimal length is 3- 5 paragraphs or 400-800 words.
Structure. Make the content easy to scan and digest by using helpful subheadings, bolding keywords and using bullets or numbers for identifying supporting elements.
Lastly, don’t be afraid of white space.
I have developed this series of articles in response to client’s questions and apprehensions in starting and maintaining a blog. If you have found this article or any content in this Blogging Best Practices series helpful, please let me know. — Kathryn