There are a few simple things you can do while you are writing a blog post that will make it more searchable and effective. Then, after you hit publish, there are a small number of easy things you can do that will help get the word out and bring readers to your work. Building a successful blog can be an endurance test, but being consistent with efforts like these is how you do it, step-by-step, day-by-day.
Things to do before you publish:
1. Write an SEO-friendly, engaging and accurate headline
Your headline may be the most important part of your post. Eight out of 10 people will read a headline. However, only two out of 10 will read a whole post. Melyssa Griffin, a social media educator, says that you should make sure to include keywords or phrases right in the headline. “By adding keywords, you’re optimizing your post for search engines. The title of your post is incredibly important for its SEO,” says Griffin. She also says to use persuasive language to encourage people to click.
One great strategy for headlines is to think about the needs of your reader. What problem are you solving for them in your blog post? The most common Google searches are people looking for fast, easy solutions to problems. Address that head-on in your headline.
Coschedule suggests that there are “power words” that make headlines better. Words like “better” or “best” or “easiest.” Numbers are also a boon to a headline.
Coschedule says a good headline should hint at something interesting. “Leave out just enough detail to get readers interested, without falling into the clickbait trap,” according to a blog post. “For example, something like, ‘This New Car Door Design Is Changing The Game,’ might get an audience interested in knowing exactly how that hypothetical car door design works.”
2. Add images! (On-brand and SEO-friendly ones)
You’ve got to have images. It’s a must. And to serve you well, they should be ones that fit the look of your website and reiterate your visual brand identity. Griffin suggests using templates for your images so that the same fonts, colors and overall designs reoccur.
Make images SEO-friendly by changing their names to include appropriate keywords. Readers may make their way to your site by searching images but IMG-1287.jpg isn’t going to help you get them there.
You should also consider adding alt text to your images. Alt text will automatically be added as the description of an image when someone pins it on Pinterest. So, you should “add keywords, persuasive text, and a call to action,” says Griffin.
3. Search engine optimize your text
Briefly, you’ll want to use one or two long-tail in your post. Don’t use them too often, because that is considered keyword stuffing. “It also doesn't make for a good reader experience, a ranking factor that search engines now prioritize to ensure you're answering the intent of your visitors,” according to an article on Hubspot.
Why long-tail keywords? “These longer, often question-based keywords keep your post focused on the specific goals of your audience,” according to Hubspot. “Website visitors searching long-tail terms are more likely to read the whole post and then seek more information from you. In other words, you'll generate right type of traffic.”
4. Use section breaks and subheads
People scan blog posts to see if there is anything that either catches their interest or answers the question that need answered. Short sections of text and subheads help make scanning easier. ‘Try to include no more than 5-6 lines of text in your paragraphs and divide up sections with larger headlines,” writes Griffin.
5. Link to past blog posts
When you mention a topic in your blog post that you’ve covered before, link it to your older post. “This both gives your readers more information about your topic (helpful!), but also keeps people on your site longer (awesome!),” says Griffin.
6. Ask a question to start a discussion
Do you want your blog to be a place where people have a conversation and you get to interact with your readers? A question, especially at the end of your post, helps jump start discussion. It’s a little nudge. It’s a call to action.
“One of my favorite parts of a blog post is what happens after I hit publish: receiving comments,” write Griffin. “I love hearing other people’s perspectives and answering questions that people have asked.”
Read over your text to spot errors. Then do it again. And then ask someone else to do it, if you can. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors undermine your credibility.
There are tools to help with this process.
Things to do after you publish:
1. Share on Facebook and Twitter
Tell your audience where to find your blog post and why it will be helpful to them. Most folks these days use a scheduling program for Facebook and Twitter, but you can also post manually. “If you want to get fancy, you could create an image specifically for your Facebook and Twitter posts,” writes Griffin. “Tweets with images tend to perform better, so this is recommended.”
2. Schedule More Tweets
“The Twitter feed moves so quickly that it can be easy to miss a specific tweet, especially if you’re in a different time zone,” says Griffin. “For that reason, I’d recommend sharing your new blog post on Twitter several times over the next few days.”
You might also want to schedule tweets 3 to 6 months from the date when you publish your post.
3. Share You Post on LinkedIn
Publishing on LinkedIn has “considerable potential for broadening your audience, expanding the reach … of the brand you represent, and giving your name the clickable appeal it needs to drive your overall Internet visibility,” writes Hannah Evon.
It’s also just a great way to stay top-of-mind among your LinkedIn connections, who will receive notification of your publication. It shows that you are working to stay relevant.
As well, articles you post on LinkedIn will be connected with your profile, so when people look you up, your articles will allow them to learn more in-depth information about you and your areas of expertise than your mere profile could possibly communicate.
Other good news? Publishing on LinkedIn can positively affect the SEO of your website.
4. Do a Facebook Live or Instagram Live
“Facebook and Instagram offer platforms where you can record yourself speaking live while your audience leaves comments as you’re talking,” write Griffin. “It’s a pretty awesome and fun way to connect with all of the bloggers and online peeps you’ve — until now — only seen in photos.”
Some members of your audience may prefer to learn via video rather than text, so changing up your medium opens up your ideas to a larger group of people.
5. Pin your image on Pinterest
Griffin is a big fan of Pinterest. “I recommend creating a Pinterest board specifically for your blog, which only shares pins from your own posts,” she writes. “Pin your blog post images onto that board first. Then, over the next couple days, pin them onto other relevant boards with a medley of pins from your blog and from other sources. This will keep your pin in rotation and distribute it to different audiences, who may be following different boards.”
6. Respond to comments
Responding to comments helps build your relationship with readers. And isn’t that what your blog is all about? You’ll get more engagement if you are responsive. You might also find helpful ideas among the comments that could improve the posts you write.
Check Google Analytics to see how your post is doing. What kinds of posts receive the most page views? This will tell you what your readership wants and needs. Which posts receive the most comments? What questions or key words were people using to find your posts?
All of this is very helpful information for when you plan your next few months of blog posts.