You just spent hours writing a blog post and are about to hit publish, but wait! Before you hit that blue button, you have to go back over your article and make sure that it is in tip top shape before you share it with the world.
Why? First, once published your article will be up there for anyone and everyone to see. You don’t want to publish a piece of work that is full of errors or is ugly to the human eye and to Google. You have tons of great information to share – don’t let it get sideswiped because you forgot to correct your spelling mistakes!
There are many ways for bloggers to optimize each and every post and though it may seem confusing and difficult at first, if you follow a few simple steps your post can reach viewers from all over the world. Every little thing that can help boost your article’s popularity and performance before you publish it is worth the few extra seconds or minutes!
Optimize your blog post in 8 steps
Format your article text
Not many people like to read one giant article with no pauses or breaks. Format your posts so it is easy on the eyes for your reader. This includes breaking up long paragraphs, using headers (very important to use them in order), lists, bullet points, colors, fonts and quotes. Make it interesting and keep their attention.
Remember, moderation is key. Don’t fill your post with five different fonts and colors but do it when appropriate and be consistent. If your header 1 is blue, keep every header 1 blue throughout the post. Preferably use the colors of your blog so it looks natural.
They say the best length for an article is under 1500 words. Debatable but put yourself in the eyes of your readers and decide what would be the best length for that post in particular.
Format your photos
Pictures are highly important, especially in travel blogging so make sure they are optimized to the full extent.
- Entering keywords in the file name and alt description
- Making it the appropriate size, preferably the size of your post width
- A rich caption or description
Choose ones that give the most value to the reader. Photo essays are great but show an array of pictures that tell a story, not just 10 pictures of the Eiffel tower.
Pinterest is becoming one of the biggest social media platforms for travel and users love to pin pretty images or articles for travel planning. Optimize your photos so they are ready for Pinterest and consider adding a PinIt button to individual photos.
Reference Yourself or Others
Linking to your own posts will help greatly in SEO and in gathering more subscribers. The more you link to relevant and helpful articles, the more page views and chances you have to hook that reader into becoming a loyal follower.
There are also many plugins that add a “You Might Also Like These” at the end of the posts. It shows content that is similar to the one they’re currently reading so you have a higher chance of them clicking on it.
Linking to other bloggers help your credibility and SEO as well. By referencing other quality bloggers and linking to their relevant articles, you can reach out to them after the post is published and maybe get a share or a link back. Quality link building is important in search engine rankings and considered a good blogging etiquette.
Make it SEO happy
Keywords are very important to getting your article rank higher on search engines. Find out which keyword works best for your post and remember, you don’t always need to use the most competitive one. Use Google Adwords Keyword Tool to find out which ones are relevant to your article and see their statistics.
Chances are you’re probably already including keywords in your article naturally but after you’ve chosen your keyword, go back and embed it in these important locations:
- Alt descriptions of photos
- Heading and subheadings
- Intro sentence and concluding paragraph
- The title, meta description and URL
Word of caution: don’t keyword stuff. This is unnatural, will put off your readers and Google will know. You don’t need to put your keyword in every other sentence but some strategically placed ones will do the trick.
There are several plugins like WordPress SEO by Yoast or All in One SEO pack to help you optimize your blog post for SEO.
Write a catchy title
Did you know that…
8 out of 10 people will read a headline but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest of the article.
How to get those other 8 to read the post? A catchy headline of course. Titles get cut off at 65 characters in search results so make those 65 characters count! Use adjectives, ask a question, include numbers, negative wording and make sure it makes sense with the article and has the keyword.
Which one sounds better? “5 Breathtaking National Parks in Costa Rica You Can’t Miss” or “5 National Parks in Costa Rica”
The first one right? It’s catchier and makes the reader want to find out what are these national parks they can’t miss. Those 4 words make all the difference in gaining one more reader!
Short and sweet is the key formula. Humans do really have a short attention span so if you can capture their interest with just a headline, you’ll most likely get them to click and read the rest of your post.
Involve your readers
What do you want your readers to do after they finish reading your post? If your answer isn’t “subscribe” or “click another post” then we need to go back to blogging 101. We don’t want our reader to hit that X and leave our site, we want them to either comment, share our article, subscribe or check the blog out more.
This usually takes a bit of encouragement on your part so include prompts at the end of the posts to call your reader to action. This can be a subscribe box or asking them to comment or share the post using social sharing buttons.
Take every chance you get and use the appropriate tools to engage your reader and make them want to look around or subscribe. Each visitor to your website is important since they represent potential conversions to drive more traffic to your blog or for you to make money (if that is your goal).
Edit like you’re reading it for the first time
Nobody writes a post perfect the first time – not even the most experienced journalists or bloggers. Go back and read it through again and again, making sure to correct all spelling errors, punctuation, grammar and redundancy issues. It may seem tedious but it is worth every minute to proofread and make sure your article is the best it could be.
If you don’t have the time to edit, hire an editor to do the job for you but either way, it has to get done somehow. Clean up your sentence structure, take out any repeats (seriously you don’t need to write 5 paragraphs about seeing a monkey for the first time) and don’t use too many complicated and advanced words.
Blogging isn’t about who can write the longest or floweriest sentences so forget using the thesaurus to make you sound like a smarty pants. Channel your voice through your writing and be yourself, but also limit that to making your post easy for the readers to connect with you.
Make sure your content is valuable
This is the most important thing of all. Make sure the content you’re providing is valuable, pertinent and useful. High quality content is well recognized by Google and they know when people like a certain post. The more beneficial information you provide, the more people will share it and the higher the ranking it will go.
Everything you write needs to have a purpose to your reader. If you are serious about blogging (as in making it beyond your personal diary and as your career), then this is the best way to get your blog out there.
You have to take note that though you may have the best content, but you also need to do all the points above to make that information as clear and concise as possible. Nobody will want to share your post if your formatting is terrible and it’s hard to read!
Each and every one of these points above are integral to increasing your post’s popularity and ranking. All the little things that may not seem that important like formatting the pictures or writing a good headline are actually some of the most crucial.
Don’t be lazy and take care of your blog post’s with the attention it deserves!