The last few years, blogging as an activity has witnessed a phenomenal growth in adoption. It has gradually moved on from a past time work to a full time job for many users. The initial entry to the blogging world is pretty easy with many blogging platforms such as Blogspot & WordPress offering space to create free blogs for anyone. However, what comes post the setup and launch stage is pretty crucial.
Marketing the Blog in the Right Channels
Just like any other brand or company, your blog is essentially a product that you need to market to the outside world. You need to define the niche, target market and category in which you want to promote your blog and also attract the right audience by posting good content.
As a great benefactor, Google and other search engines are primarily responsible in bringing traffic into your blog. So it’s your responsibility to setup your blog in a way that Google can find you when the right keyword match is met with your blog content. This is where Search Engine Optimization comes in. If you’re wondering, how do I optimize my blog, how do I start earning quickly, how do I quadruple my traffic in a short period, you’ve arrived at the right place.
Improve Organic Search Traffic
Some say Social media sharing and creation of a separate fb page for your post can be a good way to increase traffic. I completely disagree with this fact. Your twitter followers and Facebook friends/followers may come across your blog post but this does not mean conversion of blog readers or followers. Additionally this is not an organic traffic and hence doesn’t impact on long term traffic
Google’s rank and traffic primarily relies on the number of other websites and blogs that links back to your blog, no of unique visitors, unique pageviews among other things.
So blog marketing should be done through regularly going through other blogs, commenting on them, posting good content in your website. I have also listed out detailed methods to improve your traffic and optimize your blog in the best method possible
Understanding Google Search : Decoding their algorithm
Before you begin optimizing your blog, you need to first understand how Google works.
- With billions of websites out there on the World Wide Web, Google sends a bot called a “Web Crawler” to go through the pages, crawl them and index them.
- Google identifies other websites that links back to your blog and passes on its rank to you as well (sounds awesome right?) . Another way Google finds you is through keywords.
- Every post your write, Google tries to asses to which category it belongs to and extracts a few essential keywords that it’s based about.
Google’s PageRank Calculation
Whenever anyone searches for those words in Google search, if your blog ranks high in those keyword, there’s a bright chance your blog post link is gonna appear in the first or second page itself (within top 15 search result). This means you can get an immense boost to traffic from all over the world
So given all these factors, it’s important that you need to setup a good blog with a neat design that improves on the visitor retention time and also come back for more often
This means your blog should excel in good navigation, excellent content (preferably niche), a clean design and additionally faster loading times. Even two seconds can make a huge difference in improving landing page views by more than 30-40%
So how do you go about in setting up the blog and more importantly optimize it? Read on…
Blog Design & Layout : Simplicity is the Key
Some people argue that content is the key. It overrides everything. I partially disagree.
A good content in a badly designed blog can go for waste and may not yield the results it warrants. Just like an exam where your handwriting could mean a lot of difference in the marks scored, a blog’s key factor also lies in its design.
A design should be simple, have a pleasing background (Preferably white or light colours) , less no of page elements ( for faster loading esp. in slow connections) and of course good navigation. If your reader is unable to find what he’s looking for, he wont hesitate to close the tab in less than 5 seconds.
If you’re using WordPress or Blogger, there are countless templates that has a simplistic yet powerful design that could really make a huge impact (ever wondered why the top websites in the world including Google, Facebook has a plain white background with nothing flashy?) .You can also read up on the Zen philosophy of website design (esp. by popular blogger Guy Kawasaki)
Install SEO optimized Blog Templates
When it comes to navigation friendly, earning friendly templates, WordPress takes much precedence in clean, SEO friendly templates that can rake in more revenue than BlogSpot templates. This is because WordPress has much more design features, elements that can be customized to make it much more attractive. Blogspot on the other hand suffers with a rigid text body space and a fixed add-ons space that can ruin your look.However note that custom themes can be used in WordPress only on self-hosted blogs and for free .wordpress.com blogs, you have to choose a theme from the list only.
WordPress Plugins – Yoast for SEO
WordPress users can install additional plugins such as Yoast SEO that immensely helps in optimizing your content and improves SEO by a great factor. It also handles the technical portion of optimizing the content in your blog and makes your life much easier.
Positioning of Google Adsense, Banner ads in the Blog
- Ad elements like Google Adsense banner, horizontal/vertical ads and page element ads can be placed on the blog either near your header or on the left/right pane or right below your blog post.
- However to get more “organic clicks”, it’s been found that ads placed between blog posts has a higher chance of clicks mainly due to relevance and most time it resembles like part of the blog post itself.
- Users may be led to think that this ad (having a “blended” colour template with the blog post) is actually a continuation of the above post and may click on it, hoping to find more relevant info on the same.
Here’s some example of a nice position of an ad between posts. (screenshot from labnol.org). Notice how the ad has been completely blended and the right arrow grey box looks like as a “read more” button but instead it takes you to the ad.
How to Find SEO Optimized Blog templates ?
There are plenty of free templates provided by Blogspot and WordPress itself that can be really good . However if you are looking for more, a quick google search can help you find the exact design that you need. You can also search for “No pane blog templates”, “Single Pane SEO WordPress templates” etc. to find good results.
Keyword Planning & Research for writing a blog post
The keyword planning can be both a top down approach or a bottom up approach. This is how you do it
1. Top Down approach in selecting a topic:
So if you’re the person who’s looking for what to write, then you can do your research online to find what keywords are trending and in those which variations seem to rank on the top in google search results. Select your category and country and find the list of trending topics that you could write about
2. Bottom Up Approach in selecting a blog topic:
If you already have your blog niche setup and have topics to write about, but unsure of the keywords to include for a high ranking search, just do the following:
Login to a site that offers long tail key word search (you could plenty of examples if you google). In that site, in the search box enter the topic you want to write about and find out what people are searching about it.
Example : if you are writing about a cricket match between India vs England, I did the following search and you can see keywords, the search volume, search result score, cost per score etc. So if your title was like “India vs England 4th test”, it would have a good search ranking score. I used http://keywordtool.io/ in this case.
Now that you have read about writing SEO optimized content, go ahead and read about how to improve blog score. This will be a comprehensive strategy to make it a definite success.