Get YOUR Blog Flying High for 2017!
Is your blog flying high or parked on the runway? Is your mom the only one reading your blog?
Start Anew in 2017!
Follow these 17 expert ways to take off and get your blog flying high.
Blogs are like planes. You don’t need the most complicated tools to get started. Even the simplest airplanes can get you off the ground.
First Step to Get Your Blog Flying High
Know why you blog. That sounds silly, but it is not. In 2012 I started blogging as an experiment. My main concern was learning how to blog, how to put a watermark on a photograph, learn what to write, and how to get someone to read it.
Without much forethought, I jumped in with both feet and started sharing my life and philosophy. It worked in 2012, but not excessively well. I flew under the radar. Knowing why you blog helps YOU steer your plane.
Once you know why you blog, then there are three components that will keep your blog flying clear of bumpy tips and turns: writing, photography and publicizing. Check out these fifteen tips to smooth out the flight into 2017.
Analyze Your Headline.
I love CoSchedule. My first headline for this post scored 50 points. The Analyzer keeps track of each title and the score. Here were a couple of my first tries for this post with the CoSchedule scores in front of the title.
- 65 Five Easy Tips Fly High with Your Blog
- 50 Five Easy Tips for Creating Blogs Someone Besides Your Mom Will Read
Use a Blogging Journal with a Checklist
Note to self: this makes sense. I am all over the place when I create or modify a post. Where did I put that information? Who said that? I read that somewhere! there is a solution.
Here’s are the processes I use to take a post from idea to published document.
Pro bloggers use checklists. Their checklists may be more complicated than what you want to use. Here is a simpler, chronological checklist, you can use to check off each task as you create and publish your blog.
Hobby Bloggers Keep Posts to 500 Words.
Bloggers debate the length of blog posts. The Yoast SEO plugin I have gives me a red light if I have less than 300 words. When I started blogging in 2012, the ideal length was 500-700 words. I still think if you are a hobby blogger 500-700 words is better. That’s not too long to bore people, but it’s enough that people can get acquainted with you. People need to know what makes you interesting. People read your blog because they like something about YOU. Word of mouth sells blogs and books alike even if they cost nothing.
But today more and more readers look to blogs to provide information. If you want to teach through your blog, this is an important change. It crept up on me. Pro bloggers like Snap Agency where I got the above graphic predicted that 1,500 words would be a better length in 2015. This graphic shows that even longer articles get more shares.
Project Your Expertise.
Include details that few people know that are unique about your piece. This is true no matter what you write. If you don’t know something, research it. Including the link where you found the information gives your post more authority.
Improve Spelling and Grammar
Proofread, edit, cut out adverbs, and unnecessary words, misplaced commas, and check spelling AGAIN. Sometimes the WP editor is NOT correct. Grammarly helps. A few minutes spent with Google or Yahoo checking information is better than publishing incorrect information or misspelled words. Remember to give credit where credit is due. If someone else finds an error, correct it!
Attend to Technical Issues
When I first started blogging I looked in the center of the screen at what I typed and ignored the gibberish on the sides. Sidebars on posts have some important functions for each post. It took a few posts before I realized that not everything I wrote was either “about” or “experience.” Starting in the top box:
- Schedule posts by clicking edit and choosing the day and time you want your post to appear.
- Publicize can be changed as well by clicking the “edit detail settings” link. Some bloggers also add StumbledOn
- Mark specific categories
- Include 3-5 tags including the multiple word keyword.
- Set your featured image.
Editing and Republishing Old Posts for 2017
Bloggers debate about redoing or modifying their posts after they are published. Right now I am redoing all my old posts to make them current and SEO friendly. That is taking me a lot more time than just adding a keyword and alt text or two.
Hugh Roberts told me, “I recently deleted over 50 posts that I knew I could not use again, Marsha. However, some of the posts that find themselves deep within our blogging archives do deserve a second or third showing. As we gain new followers, many of these posts are new information for these readers and updating and republishing them can bring in more traffic to our blog. Earlier posts probably don’t get as many comments but republish them and see an even bigger audience get involved in the comments section.
Pictures, Videos, & Audio Files Add Interest
Photos and video have a dual purpose for bloggers: learning/entertainment from other bloggers and teaching/entertaining on your blog Before you press publicize or schedule, the next big part of the blog is the media you add. Blogs without photos and videos are like newspapers or magazines without photos. Terri advises us to use our photos, but Canva does have some photos and graphics for purchase. There was much for me to learn beyond how to take expert photographs.
Learn from Visuals
Back to research. Sometimes when you write, you need to learn first. I search for videos to do blogging tasks I’ve never done before, like creating podcasts, adding Click to Tweet or adding a watermark. I do not have an assistant who guides me along every step of the blogging path to keep my blog flying high. Google is my assistant. If Google gives me a great lesson, I will share it in my post. I do not need to create an amateur video to do what a pro blogger has already done.
Terri wrote a book Better Blogging with Photographs which talks about legalities. This book is not a guide about how to capture great photographs. The assumption is that if you can hold a smartphone, you can insert a visual into your blog.
Since I read her book, I quit trolling Google’s huge but sometimes protected database. When I want a picture of a computer or a person reading, I take a quick shot of my husband or a friend posing for me. If I want a drawing I resort to paying Canva $1 for a cute icon.
Photo Challenge Mania
I’m hooked on the community-making aspects of photo challenges. Because I love them as a springboard for writing, I indexed them on a page in my blog. Cee Neuner hosts one of my favorite challenges, the Odd Ball Challenge. Sylvia, one of my favorite bloggers of all times is an expert at linking whatever she writes to an appropriate photo challenge. The Eternal Traveller, my friend from Australia, is another who keeps up on her favorite photo challenges. She has built up a community she knows quite well.
In January I will schedule an interview with Jennifer Wells who maintains several challenges so we can see behind the scenes of a challenge creator.
Improving Photography Skills
There is also the aspect of learning about photography, but photo challenges may not teach you a thing about photography unless you meet someone like Leanne Cole. She teaches photography and hosts her own challenges. Some bloggers have technical photography sites. My
eyes brain glasses over when I hear camera specs. F-stops and ISO numbers make me hide my camera in the closet.
A few years ago I took a lesson from Leanne by Skype and she analyzed my photos and gave me personal tips. Wow! that was helpful! From Dec. 29-January 4 Carol Sherritt and I will be with Leanne in Melbourne, Australia. You may meet a photographer online whose work you love. Develop a relationship and learn from them.
Read, Like and Comment on Posts Daily
Care about what happens to those people in life. Make your comments positive and fairly short. If they inspire a post, create it and send them a link in their comment box. Don’t commit suicide if you can’t visit everybody’s blog every day.
If you write a lot, set a goal of 5 or six blogs to visit a day, even two or three is better than none. I keep track of them in my journal by pasting the blog address into the row with the date of the day I visit them. After you establish a relationship with them, they will still love you even if you do not talk daily. But don’t forget your daily friends.
Hugh Roberts garners lots of comments on his blogs. He had this advice, “I visit and leave comments on other blogs as often as I can. However, I’ll only leave a comment if I have something that is going to add value.”
Ronovan Writes tells us this. “Know how your Friend Blogs. I know that sounds odd but each person blogs differently as far as communicating. When I first started blogging I was a commenting and replying fool. I was everywhere. But as time has passed and health has deteriorated I can’t do that any longer.”
Link Up to Send Your Blog Flying High
This is new to me. Janice Wald at Mostly Blogging talked about linky parties. There may be a generational thing with linky parties, but maybe I’m just slow. Some bloggers link you to their blog. I received one request to link an article to a post I’d written from one of Janice’s linked blogs. The way I understand linking is that you can post links to people’s blogs, or you can write a post where everyone links.
I had a linky party the first year I blogged, and I did not even know it. It was a 16th birthday party for a blogger in New Zealand. I spent weeks getting ready, finding things she liked and linking pictures and videos to my post. I advertised it on social media. When the day came, about 300 people visited my blog and wished her happy birthday. They were mostly people I did not know. They did not stay friends afterward. I did not even stay close to Rene afterward, but it was great fun. Had I done that many times over, I would be famous now.
Publicize on Social Media
Different social media have different audiences. After five years, I am comfortable with Twitter. I started because I felt like I had to. If I was going to blog, I needed to Tweet. I tweeted blindly. I still have not bought followers. That seems weird to me. Maybe you have and like it.
Debby G. Kay has a great article on understanding the different kinds of social media. I met her on Twitter, and right away she liked my page on Facebook, my then preferred social media. She sent me a sticker, and we’ve been sticky friends since. She went over and above the call of duty and worked her social media to her advantage – and mine. I’ve learned a lot from her.
Terry Tyler has a series I like about Twitter.
Share Presents, Toys, and Stuffed Animals
We’re all adults here, correct? Wrong. We all have an inner child according to psychologists of old. The most fun I ever had blogging was sending my stuffed bear, Manny, around the world. He started in Spain at Ralph’s, then went to London with Ute. Carol and her sidekick, Justin Beaver picked him up to tour Europe and Australia. Her daughter, Lauren took him on a cruise to the Carribean and sent him home. Then he started again.
You can share digital and real presents as well to cement relationships. It can have the opposite effect, though as well. Online friendships are as tenuous as face to face friendships. I have overreached my friendship giving in the past, and others have done that to me, too. Be careful about over-obligating the person before you know them well.
- More writing tips
- How Much is Too Much Retweeting and Post Sharing?
- 7 Steps to a Better Blog Post: A+ Checklist
- 15 Best Time Hacks for Better Blogging
- How to Write Through a Monthly Challenge
What tips do you have for new bloggers? Share them in the comment section, or paste a link to one of your posts.
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