There is no sales tip in the world that will make your blog convert if it's not a quality blog.
Next week I'll write about How to get your Blog Traffic to Convert (part five in a 5 part series on Blog Strategy with a focus on clients). But before we can cover that, you must follow these basic principals if you want to your blog posts to convert:
The 10 Golden Rules of Blogging:
1. Start with an SEO friendly infrastructure. Word Press for example has so many useful plug ins such as Netconcepts SEO Title Tag 2.1 that make life (and Marketing) easier.
If you are going to be using social media then you consider having the buttons available below each post.
Consider this, you write a stellar piece of content that is very social media worthy, you submit it to Digg and it's getting votes. If you don't have a Digg button you are probably missing out on votes. People want to read the piece and Digg it. Are not as likely to Digg it if they have to go back to Digg to do so.
Socialize Me! WordPress Plug in is helpful for helping to build friends and your community. blah, blah! technology reviews this plug in well here.
2. Make sure that the design of the blog looks like a blog. Your client will want to make sure that the blog maintains the site's overall look and feel. This is very important but it's easy to go overboard here.
Don't keep too many aspects of the Site's overall template so that the blog looks more like any other page on their site and not like a blog. A blog should be written in a more relaxed tone than your regular pages and it should look more relaxed too.
Save the Ads for the rest of your site.
3. Write a Killer Headline EVERY time " Headlines have a huge impact on whether your Blog is going to cut through the clutter. Whether your reader finds you through their RSS reader, a keyword search or through social media, a killer title can make the difference of whether its going to get clicked on or not.
4. Keep your posts scan-able. Only 16% of people actually read blogs word for word the rest (84%) merely scan. Make your posts more scan-able by utilizing:
- Lists " easy to scan and read, and typically interesting. Paragraphs are often too difficult or time consuming to read, and are actually avoided.
- Formatting - Use bold, CAPITALS, italics, underlining, to emphasize points. Dont go overboard as you run the risk of frustrating your reader. Also consider changing font size, color and style to draw your readers eyes to your main points.
- Headings and Sub Headings - Large, Bold words that act as visual cues of what is happening in the subsequent content are effective ways of drawing readers further into articles. Make these intriguing, yet descriptive
- White Space - lot's of it. Give your copy room to breath.
5. Try to keep the length of blog posts between 400 " 700 words. An easy rule of thumb is limit your post to one major idea per post if you're trying to cover more than 1 idea, break it into a series of posts.
6. Get to the Point - be succinct in your writing.
7. Use Pictures/Images - Research shows that readers eyes are drawn down the page by relevant pictures. As Michael points out in don't forget the images and video, it only takes less than minutes to locate, apply tags to, etc an image for your post.
Good quality images can make a site look incredibly professional. The converse is also true, for example, in most cases clip art is just not appropriate for a Business Blog.
8. Build Credibility by linking out. - the more you link out to other notable sites, the more educated you look as a blogger. Guilty by association can be a good thing.
Plus, when you link to another blog post, that bloggers platform will ping them with your link or trackback. Linking out is a great way to get the attention of other industry authorities.
9. Make sure you disclose relationships where necessary (dont pretend). It's a lot easier to Manage one's Online Reputation by avoiding mistakes versus fixing them after the fact. Most social media issues arise from people pretending to be something that they are not.
Perception is everything. I have no idea if Max is who he says he is but Max's travelog from the Guardian got of hundreds of negative responses to his explanation of who he is and why he's blogging.
10. If this is a business blog then write for your reader. You can take a lot more leeway with a personal blog, but the average commercial blog reader doesn't care what you had for breakfast.
Think about needs your readers looking to satisfy? It is possible to come up with really good content ideas for even the most challenging of industries. Remember that good content adds to the body of knowledge. The days of keeping all your knowledge close to your chest are gone.