For some folks, words flow like butter and writing is a natural expression of their God given talents. They are the lucky ones because blogging comes easy to them. For others, who may not be hardwired the same way, blogging can be more of a challenge. I have found that most people’s wordsmithing skills fall somewhere between amazing and not so amazing and what they really need more than anything is just a little direction and a basic understanding of what I call “effective blogging mechanics.”
For the most part, I teach people how to present their blog content in an easy-to-read, user-friendly format or what I call “Internet usability formatting,” which is a bit different than standard or non-virtual editorial formatting. I also teach search engine optimization techniques so Internet users can easily find your content in the index.
Formatting Your Content for Internet Usability
The truth is that the average Internet user is more of a ‘skimmer’ than a reader because let’s face it, there’s a plethora of shoddy content floating around the Internet and nobody wants to waste their valuable time wading through it. Hence the reason why it’s a good idea to present your blog content in an easy-to-read format that can be quickly scanned and assessed for quality, within 30 seconds or less.
Think about it, have you ever landed on a page of content that seemed to go on forever without any logical stopping points or visual breaks? If your like most Internet users, you’re not going to take the time to read a wall of content that lacks proper Internet formatting, even if it’s good content. Why? Because a wall of content is visually overwelming and takes too much work.
Key Components of Internet Usability and SEO Formatting
The following Internet usability and SEO formatting components are a must for effective blogging:
Descriptive heading tags are a great way to organize and break up blocks of content into easily, digestible, bite-size morsels of text, and a good rule of thumb is to add a heading tag whenever you transition from one idea to the next. Heading tags that support the main title or h1 tag are also good for SEO because they build up topic authority, and if you’re able insert a search term or two into your heading tags, its even better for SEO.
Bulleted and Numbered Lists
Like heading tags, bulleted (unordered) and numbered (ordered) lists can be used to create an easy-to-read, content outline format. Bulleted lists are also good for SEO because search engines interpret the items in a list as important or notable, salient points.
Images add visual appeal to your content and have a way of grabbing readers at an emotional and visceral level and drawing them in. Images can also be used to break up those pesky blocks of content that Internet users love to hate. From an SEO standpoint, images can be optimized within the image title and alt text. That being said, I’m not advocating that you stuff your images with useless keywords, which is a bad SEO practice in any form.
Content with relevant internal links provides your site visitors with quick and easy access to related content or topics of interest. More importantly, a web of internal links from posts to posts, posts to pages, and pages to pages within your blog will tie your content together as a cohesive whole and increase your overall website topic authority. Search engines not only analyze the content on each page or post, they follow the links to the pages and posts that are linking back and no, there is no such thing as too many internal links.
Call to Action Signature
Think of every indexed page and post on your blog as a potential avenue and calling card for business. Therefore, you should include a call to action signature on every page and post that summarizes, in a nutshell. who you are, what products or services you offer, why people should contact you, and the best way to be contacted, i.e. phone, email, online contact form and so forth on every page and post.
Yes, there are signature plugins you can use for WordPress but in my humble opinion, they have internal linking, geo-targeting and customization on-the-fly limitations. I recommend that you keep your linked up, call to action, SEO signature in a post draft so you can easily copy the html and insert it into all your posts and pages.
Separating the Right From the Left
Even though effective blogging requires that you “beseech two masters,” a.k.a. site visitors and search engines, please allow yourself to be 100% in content creation mode, without any thought or concern about Internet usability and SEO formatting, while you’re in that space.
You’ll find that if you separate the left brain mechanics of blogging from the right brain, creative flow of writing, the overall quality of your content will be of a higher caliber. Not to mention, it’s a lot easier to optimize and format your content once you’ve distanced yourself and are no longer married to it.
In my opinion, anyone who has the will, inclination and desire to learn the basics of blogging can become an effective business blogger. If that describes you, give me call.
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