Posted in Blogging Basics

Consistency is key to growing your blog!

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Consistency is the key to growing your blog. Yea, I know this sounds more simple than it is but the reality is that unless you post and post often your blog will just get lost in SEO standings. This means no one will find all your awesome blog posts in Google. How do you find that balance to posting often and regularly? Read on, it’s not as hard as it seems.

The first step in consistency  is to make a regular schedule of postings. Look at your schedule currently and decide on a specified time you can write and dates that you intend to post. Consistency in posting is dependant on your regular writing schedule. Try to schedule or blog no less than once a week but shoot for two or three times a week if possible.

The second step is to adhere to a schedule. Do not deviate from the schedule until your blog is more established. Adhering to a schedule will provide more consistency for your blog.

The final step for consistency is to keep the posts simple. Blogging has to be simple for the blogger (and the your followers) or you will simply stop posting. Use humor in your blogs as people love to read short but funny posts. The average blog reader likes short and to the point but humorous posts.

These tips are merely advice to bring awesome followers to your blog.

References & resources:

1. Habits of Effective Blogging

2. Why Consistency is Key to Blogging & Traffic

Posted in Blogging Basics

Don’t know what to blog about?

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Don’t know what to blog about? Well, the possibilities are endless once you tap into that creative groove. This Blogging Basics post is about how to find what interests you and how to create a new blog series. The possibilities are endless with topics that can appeal to a wide range of people. The key here is you, the blogger.

Step 1: Sit down and reflect on what you enjoy doing. Make a list of potential topics based on what you enjoy. This could be anything from cooking, to reading, to a peticular hobby. The possibilities are endless here.

Step 2: Out of that list pick one thing you love doing.  Example: If you really love cooking then you should write about cooking. You could post recipes you have cooked; take pics of the ingredients as well as what you did to enhance the recipe. If  traveling is something else you highly enjoy you could also combine the love of cooking and traveling by blogging about cooking techniques pertaining to your travels.

Step 3: After you find what interests you and what you love doing then focus on everyday life for additional content. Everyday life can be a great inspiration for future blogs. For example, if you have a family you could have a category about how you handle everyday family life. If you have pets you could do a weekly or bi weekly posting about your pet and make the post like they are the one writing the post.

Regardless of what you choose to blog about make sure that the blogs are something you love. If you don’t love or feel passionate in your writing, trust me when I say this, it will show in the blog and to the reader. All writers know this little secret.

“You write about what you know or feel passionate about.” Quoted by Me!

Posted in Blogging Basics

The Blog Post: Elements of a Good Post

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The elements of a good posting are very important as it gives structure to your post. Think of the elements as a hamburger. Yes, I said a hamburger. LOL The elements of a good blog post begin with an introduction of what you’re going to discuss which is the bun. This progresses to the body of the post which is the main parts, like the meat, the cheese, tomatoes, mayo etc.  Last but certainly not least is the conclusion or summary of what your main points are which helps to support the entire burger. (Yea, I know…But I couldn’t resist.)

The Introduction:

When beginning the opening paragraph focus on only 3-5 sentences that explain generally what you’re going to discuss or present to your audience. This should be concise and to the point. The opening paragraph should include the title of your post. Why is this important? Can anyone say better SEO?

The Body:

The body of a post should include everything you introduced in the opening paragraph. Try to keep your points to a maximum of 2 or 3 subtopics. If you do this than your posts will have more concise info. Now even with a diary type of blog, this still needs to be followed as it gives structure to anything you write.

Remember to limit the body to 3-5  paragraphs max. Anymore than that and you risk losing the reader. You want your audience to be able to scan your post quickly and efficiently to get the information they are seeking.

The Conclusion:

The conclusion is a wrap up of the body and introduction. Basically, you reinstate only the important parts of your post and any additional comments. The conclusion should be no more than two paragraphs of 3-5 sentences each.

In this post we discussed the introduction, the body of the post, and the conclusion or the summary. By following this easy format you will have much more organized postings. Once you get used to formating in this manner it will become second nature to write better posts.

Happy Blogging!

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Posted in Blogging Basics

Word Count Matters

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This post will focus on word count usage and why shorter posts get read. In my posts I try to stay under 500 words. Typically, I write 350 words or less. But there are times when I have a lot to say so I will allow additional wordage to my own personal limit of 500.

Blogs which are instructional tend to have more wordage than just regular blog posts. Even with instructional blogs, a blogger has to be careful not to go over 1000 words. The reason? Well, typical information can be condensed to remove what I call “fluffing” to make the information more concise.

Here is an example of a “fluffing” to get more words.

Fluffing:

There once was a blogger who enjoyed blogging but couldn’t get anyone to come to their blog. They really wanted to drive more traffic to their website but did not understand SEO or word count usage.

Non-Fluffing:

A blogger who enjoyed blogging wanted to drive traffic to their site. The blogger needs to understand SEO and word count usage.

Do you see how concise the non-fluffing one is?  It relays the same information but in a more concise way. This is important when you’re wanting to grow your blog beyond the standard “diary” version.

Regardless of how you decide to write your posts, just remember to keep the word usage to a minimum. When the blog post goes over a  word count you can lose the reader’s attention real quick. Trust me when I say the word count should be 500 or less. Plus, you know the old adage, “less is more”.

BTW word count for this blog is 280 words.

See links for additional information.

http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/02/18/post-length-how-long-should-a-blog-post-be/

http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2011/10/10-tips-for-corporate-bloggers/

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2013/06/blog-post-length/

Posted in Blogging Basics

Posting an Image

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You have chosen your online hosting site and have added social media outlets to your blog. Now let’s start discussing how to post interesting or awesome blogs. I am a ‘virgin blogger’ and learning myself but one of the most important things I have learned right away is to use images in each and every post.

Pictures or images are VERY important when getting an audience to check out your blog. A picture enhances your writing and makes people want to read your blog. The pic used in this blog is my own personal pic that I took of a rose. Awesome pic isn’t it?

In WordPress when you upload the image into the post, you can click on the image and add your info to link to your website only. This means that the image is only associated with your website and can be tracked as such. This is great for bloggers who like Pinterest.

Why add an image to each of your blog posting?

1.  Images strengthen your blog posting.

Every blogger wants their content to be memorable. Posting an image with your post helps keep this memorable experience in the reader’s mind. Which will make the reader return for future blog postings. This is the most important aspect since you cannot create a following if your blogs are forgettable.

2.  Images help in Search Engine Optimization or SEO standings.

All bloggers want great SEO standings with Google. Images help with these standings by linking the picture to your specific site. This makes your blog easier to find in Google search. All bloggers want to be easily found in Google; am I right or am I RIGHT?

Things to remember when using images that you find online.

Always give credit to the picture where you found the image. WordPress has Zemanta which is always bringing up links and images that you can use as reference in the post. By simply clicking on the image in Zemanta the credit is already added and put into the post. This is another reason I chose WordPress for my blogging home, they simply make everything easy.

Do not use an image that could potentially offend someone. The reason for this is self-explanatory. If you offend someone because you posted an image he or she finds offensive then they may stop following your blog or never visit your blog again. It is really important that your images be as neutral as possible.

Make sure the image fits the blog. What this means is if you’re posting about travel, ensure the image is related to traveling. If the blog is health related, ensure the image is health related.  I think you get the point on this one.

Links to “License Free” Image Use:

http://www.morguefile.com/

http://www.sxc.hu/

http://john.do/images/

Posted in Blogging Basics

Social Media and Blogging

Pinterest-Twitter-Facebook

Social media and blogging are like a great cup of coffee with added cream. They just blend well, especially if you know how much cream you need to begin with. Now add some ‘sugar’ (tags) and you have a ‘sweet’ new way to find your website. If you haven’t done so already, you will need to create social media accounts for your new blog using Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Of course, this is just a start to effectively marketing your new website.

Social Media sites are very important in growing your blog and establishing a following. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are the three that you need in the beginning. After you learn to use these media sites then you start to broaden your horizon to other networking sites like Google+, Tumblr, Stumbleupon, Digg, and Reddit. There are others but they are not as popular as what I call ‘the big three’.

Here are the big three links:

https://www.facebook.com/

https://www.twitter.com/

https://www.pinterest.com/

Additionally, there is a  WordPress tool called the WordPress Reader. When you first sign up using WordPress as your hosting site, WordPress helps you to set this up and to start seeking out other blogging/blogger sites. Commenting and ‘liking’ other blog postings is a great way to gain followers. This is why I chose WordPress as my website home because they provide a lot of the tools to help you grow your website. Plus, WordPress makes everything easy to navigate using the control panel.

Now go create your online social presence and make sure you link them to your blog and your blog to the social media outlets. I have added 4 links for you to check out for additional info.

http://heidicohen.com/how-to-promote-your-blog-using-social-media/

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/pinterest-contributor-boards/

http://heidicohen.com/25-tactics-to-promote-your-blog-via-facebook-and-twitter/

http://heidicohen.com/twitter-hashtag-following/

Posted in Blogging Basics

First Things First! A Blogging Site to Call Home

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Have you ever wanted to blog? I did! Do you want to be a successful blogger? I know I do! Do you want to drive more traffic to your site? I do I do! Do you want to write useful and effective content? I know I do! LOL This new thread is going to be a series of simple and easy blogging advice for any “virgin” blogger; myself included.

Deciding on a Blogging Site to Call Home:

The absolute first thing a new blogger has to decide on is a good hosting site. There are many good sites to choose from. When I first started seeking a blogging site to call “home sweet home” I went to these sites:

http://Wordpress.com

http://tumblr.com

http://blogger.com

http://weebly.com

http://hubpages.com

I ultimately decided on WordPress as everything was easy to navigate and use.  But what works for one blogger may not for another. So check out each of the sites and create a user ID/password and see what they have to offer. There is no charge to do this until you want to buy the .com. Play around with names for your .com and the website templates to see if any fit what you had in mind for your blog. Also check out how much it will cost to buy your .com/hosting per year.

There is no need to pay for any of the hosting/.com until your blog is established. This could take a awhile so be patient. An established website has no less than 20 plus posts along with many followers. Once you have decided on a website/hosting its time to think about how your going to “get the word out” about your new blog.

Happy Blogging!  🙂