The actual act of blogging seems easy. Once you have a URL, select a host, pick a theme and figure out how to use the dashboard, the next part seems so simple. But good blogging is more than ranting about the latest board meeting or talking up the latest feature on a new site, it’s also a carefully calculated process that involves links, meta descriptions and keywords.
Most bloggers live and die by a skewed version of the motto “If I build it, they will come.” Whoever “they” is, too many new bloggers assume that content and content alone is enough of a calling card.
If you’re looking to write for a small audience of people you already know, that’s likely true.
If you’re a closet genius who will be discovered soon and offered millions, that’s also true.
If you are already super popular and blog just for fun, also true.
But until you’ve hit El Pollo Diablo status, we have a few recommendations on how to make your blog a little more SEO friendly, a bit easier to share and more interesting to the audience you’d like to reach.
As much as people claim to like new stuff, they don’t particularly love surprises. Giving people what they expect is highly underrated, but it’s a great way to build a loyal audience. For your blog, devise an editorial calendar that lays out post topics for the next 4-6 weeks. This way you can develop longer ideas, reference older posts knowing people have read them and provide a framework for what exactly you’ll be writing about.
Having ideas determined ahead of time doesn’t mean you MUST stick to them, but we’ve found that coming up with new ideas every day is more tiring than blasting out a bunch at once.
Get to know HTML titles, meta descriptions and tags
Nearly every WordPress installation ever has the ability to add plugins that help increase the SEO friendliness of your overall site and individual post(s). Here at Pagely we use Yoast, but we’ve seen good results from All In One SEO, too. No matter what you use, be sure to fill out the all the fields every single time.
Keywords should be toward the front of both the title and the description. Because the meta description is what people see when your blog post pops up in search results, be sure not to just stuff it with keywords. Make it human readable, but make it more of a summary than a teaser.
The absolute first thing I do with any new WordPress install is change permalinks. This allows us to name pages http://blog.pagely.com/super-awesome-ways-to-get-more-traffic instead of http://blog.pagely.com/p=5867. Search engines like when keywords are in the url AND the url is a helluva lot more human readable that way. Feel free to leave out common words like “the” “to” and other such connecting words.
(This is the first of a four-part series in sharing ways to make blogging or really any hosted WordPress install, more visible. What tips do you have?)