If you’re looking at starting your own blog on any subject, you need to know what to do and what to avoid. Unfortunately, most of the information you will find is outdated, as the web changes rapidly. Techniques that were successful and being promoted even two or three years ago are outdated now, and Google’s search engine ranking algorithms change several times each year.
Here are the most up-to-date commandments that every blogger needs to follow for the best chance at running a successful blog.
1. Post content at least three times a week.
Some people blog every day, while others post blogs twice a week. As long as you have a consistent schedule, either could work for you, but you need to stick to it. It’s probably best to try for at least three times a week in order to attract attention and generate enough content for search engines to notice you.
2. Use pictures and videos.
If you want to promote your blog on Pinterest or YouTube, you will need pictures and videos. Besides, they catch people’s attention and spice up an otherwise dull blog post. Pictures should be high-quality and either your own photos or stock photos with royalty-free licenses.
3. Build an email list.
Even if you aren’t selling anything, you need to build a list of email addresses so you can notify your readers of new blog posts and build relationships. Giving them free content regularly will help them become engaged, interested readers.
4. Use a professional theme.
Amateur themes and sloppy HTML coding won’t cut it anymore. Your blog has to look professional if you want to keep up with the times. WordPress is a great host, and a professional theme for it can be found for under $100.
5. Keep posts short and sweet.
Though Google loves longer content these days, people still want to be able to read your blog posts quickly. Until you’re familiar with the “blogging style” of writing, keep your paragraphs to no longer than five sentences and your posts to no longer than five paragraphs.
6. Supplement with longer, rich content.
Seek out opportunities to provide more in-depth content occasionally. For example, a recipe blog could provide an in-depth guide to the tools you will need to stock your kitchen. Longer posts shouldn’t be long for the sake of length – they should be written tightly, too.
7. Sell something on your blog.
If you’re interested in making money, feature very helpful and unique, in-depth product reviews on related products. If you’re a service provider, focus on highlighting your unique approach to your craft. If you want to create a product, start thinking about it now and at least have ads on your blog.
8. Get a handle on SEO.
The way of the future is SEO, and you need to know what Google thinks of you. Make an effort to learn about up-to-date best practices in the optimization world. Even a few small tips can turn you into a search engine powerhouse.
9. Use analytics and tracking.
Make sure your blog has Google Analytics or another tracking tool. Learn how to use reports and tools to understand where you’re getting traffic and expand your marketing efforts in those areas. You’ll know which posts are most valuable for attracting new readers.
10. Learn calls to action.
People need to be told to come back again for a “part two” post, subscribe to your feed, or click on a link. Learn how to give calls to action after providing your readers with something useful. This will keep them coming back for more.
These aren’t the only rules of blogging, but they are among the most important. Blogging is a field that changes rapidly, so if you’re continuing to use 2007 methods this year, you won’t be able to keep up with the experts.