How to publicise your non-corporate blog
It’s already March and we are already a quater way through the year! If your New Year’s resolution is to start or kickstart a personal blog, you’ll soon find that it’s easy to lose interest without plenty of readers. So here’s a summary of the techniques you can use to push your blog…
Optimise your pages
You’re reading this on an SEO blog, so you’re likely to have some understanding of how important it is to optimise your blog.
Make sure your blog can compete in the search engine results pages, or it will simply be drowned out by all the other content online. Don’t host your blog as a WordPress.com or TypePad subdomain, host it yourself. It won’t exactly break the bank!
Make sure you know which keywords interested readers are likely to search for, and then include them naturally in your content. Aim to include your target keywords in important areas of your blog, such as your headline and the first few paragraphs.
Use proper page titles for your individual posts, ideally containing your keywords.
Adding social elements, like a Twitter ‘share’ button, to your blog is an on-page call to arms, encouraging readers to spread the word about your interesting content.
You can tap into social networks by tweeting about your new blog posts, or adding them to your Facebook page as status updates.
But you should also give visitors the ability to spread the word with a single click – many blogging platforms offer ‘social plug-ins’ as standard, which will add a ‘tweet this’ button, a Facebook share button or even a Google ‘+1′ button to the end of each post.
Adding or enabling a comment form also helps by building engagement and interactivity – and giving your readers a chance to disagree with you, if they choose.
Disagreement is actually a good thing for personal blogs. As long as nobody is extremely offended, and you don’t make any personal attacks against your readers, healthy debate can be the lifeblood of your updates.
Let people comment and be reluctant to censor them – just strip out any obvious spam comments – but do reply, and show that you have read and appreciate each comment you receive.
Some people may disagree with you, but others will show their support, and others still may add their own personal experiences that help to expand on the main theme of your post.
If a reader leaves a comment, they are more likely to post a link to your content from their own pages, and that will drive more traffic to your blog.
Back in the early days of the internet, before search engines took over, the best way to build awareness of a corporate website was to submit it to several A-Z directories.
Times have changed, but there are still some useful non-search ways to build backlinks or to gain visitors from a previously untapped source.
Social networks are an obvious way to drive traffic towards your blog, as people who follow or befriend you are more likely to want to know about your personal life.
With blogs, though, there are also services like StumbleUpon and NetworkedBlogs that offer visitors new ways to discover your content, and offer you new ways to syndicate it on to your social networking profile pages.
Keep it personal
A personal blog is just that – personal. Don’t be afraid to give detail, or to touch on subjects you wouldn’t normally discuss with strangers.
One word of warning – steer clear of information you have used in security details in the past. Your mother’s maiden name, the street you grew up on, and your date of birth are all likely candidates.
Your blog posts should be about your experiences, but not solely about you. Keep it interesting for new readers, who might not even know you, and your chances of building your audience are much higher.
Keep it up
A new year is the perfect time to redouble your blogging efforts, so try to make sure you update frequently, even if not regularly.
When you think “I could blog about that…!” just do it – log on and tap out a rough draft at least, before you forget the details.
Remember, the more you blog, the more you will appear in search results, and the more returning visitors you will attract.
Keep at it over the course of 2012 and, whichever subject area you have chosen to write about, by the end of the year you should have managed to build up a decent audience.
About the guest author: Kevin Gibbons is the Director and Founder SEOptimise a UK SEO Agency, with offices in London and Paddington. A well known blogger on SEO and Social Media. Kevin writes frequently for SEOptimise and a number of well known SEO sites such as Search Engine Journal, E-Consultancy and Search Engine Land. Follow him on @kevgibbo
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