Blog Tips

7 Easy Ways to Optimize Your New Blog Article

Blog Article ChecklistSo you started a blog. You just wrote your first article, and it’s sitting there in that scary preview state. Do you publish it? Yes, of course you do, but not before you make sure you’re getting the most out of the work you put into that article by following this simple checklist.

☐ Title it. I tend to lean towards a funnier title, often to learn that I’m the only one who finds it clever. It also might not do much for SEO or help the reader who is looking for information. The content of your post should be clear in your title, and the title should contain some keywords for that SEO boost. Being clever/funny doesn’t hurt, as long as it doesn’t hurt the chances of your blog article being seen. Try out Nathalie Nahai’s tip (@TheWebPsych) for a killer headline: Number + trigger word + adjective + keyword + promise. Example: 10 Crazy Ways to Cook Meat Well Done on a Sidewalk. You’ll probably click that, right? Doesn’t work for everyone and don’t overuse it, but try it out and see if you get more clicks.

☐ Categorize. Does this article fit into a relevant category? First off, for the blog itself, pick a small handful of categories to start with. Remember, the reader needs to be able to digest this and know what they are getting into when they visit your blog. From there, pick the few that this particular article fits into. You can always add more or reorganize as your blog gets bigger and stronger. Learn more about categories and tags.

☐ Add links. Both internal and external links can be helpful to your readers if they are applicable to your content. Don’t go linking to tons of stuff “just cuz” as it may have a negative effect on you. Read more about why Rand Fishkin of Moz (@randfish) thinks it’s important to incorporate links in your website or blog for such reasons as sending trackable traffic, incentivizing links in, and more!

☐ Insert image. An image not only breaks up the text on the page and makes it look pretty, but it also helps the article to stand out when you share it via social media…big time. If you own the photo, make sure the image is optimized for the web in size and dimensions and super important advice – watermark it. See Sprout Social’s “Always Up-to-Date Guide to Social Media Image Sizes” for specs.

☐ Read it. Read, read, and re-read. Ask a friend/co-worker to give it a looksie as well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read something and thought, “Super, it’s perfect!” only to realize I used “there” instead of “their” — ugh, knot-in-stomach bad. Also, read it out loud — sometimes you’ll notice oddly worded sentences or confusing statements when reading aloud versus silently reading.

☐ Publish it. Once you’ve completed the blog posting checklist, hit that PUBLISH button. Of course you can always make changes to the post once it’s live. I know I often seem to catch typos or want to rephrase something the second after I set it free, but try to let it go and live on its own in the wide world of webs.

☐ Share it. Share it out on your social accounts of choice, and if you have a good support group around you, ask them to re-share! Friends love sharing stuff, so all you need to do is ask. If you’re still working on your social plan, check out my article from a few weeks ago on choosing social platforms to help get your started on the right foot.

Once you’ve completed these steps, be sure to keep your work alive! Later down the road you will have more posts and more followers, so don’t let your old articles get covered with dust. Link to them, re-share them, keep them going, update if facts have evolved. It will help to promote your blog as a whole and remind your readers of all you have to offer! Speaking of which, have you read my article on Newbie Twitter Tips? Just sayin’…

This post comes paired with Cook’s Illustrated’s Chicken Tikka Masala. It felt a LOT like a checklist following all those steps, but it sure was worth it!

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Fighting the Blog Title Blues

When it’s taco night in my house, I prefer to spend my time on the prep work and leave the cooking to the more patient and experienced. I like slicing the meat, chopping up the veggies and organizing all the pieces in my adorable little Target bowls and setting the table (probably incorrectly by most high society standards, is the fork on the left or right?). Most importantly, I like to eat the tacos. TACOS!

But tonight isn’t taco night so I’m off to a weird start already. But stay with me. While my husband is out, I have to do the prep work AND the cooking for tonight’s meal, and it got me thinking about how much preparation went into setting up this blog when really I just wanted to write the damn posts. The agonizing over the tiniest detail. The back and forth on ideas. The “I’m too tired” excuses for delaying the inevitable (truthfully, I was too distracted by all the crazy shenanigans at Castle Black and the Kings destroying the Rangers). The endless searching to find the right title, on the best platform, and on the most appropriate social media accounts. So much work goes into the setup of a website. But people want the new car; they don’t care how much sweat was poured manufacturing it. The most vital part to your brand is the hardest hurdle to jump over, so here are a few tips to help you push off on the right foot.

What’s the big idea? Are you writing about Marketing? Fashion? Celebrities? Cats in crochet hats? Some of the best blogs are niche ones on an educated topic or hobby someone is a self-labeled guru on. You’re going to be writing on the topic a couple times a week (at least) so make sure it’s a subject you have enough juice on and a strong passion for to keep up with. Figure out how frequently you’ll be posting and make a list of ideas for individual blog postings to see if you could fill a month or two on the calendar. If not, it might not be the best blogging topic. “I have this great topic for a blog post!” That’s great, now come up with 25-50 more.

Decide if it’s a personal blog or a professional blog. Once you decide on your topic, think about tone. Are you writing from a personal perspective or will it be straightforward and informative. Is it a light and fun atmosphere, or a place for people to get quick tips and then get the hell out. Will people be knowing YOU as the blogger? I’m always a fan of more personal blogging as it differentiates you from others out there talking about similar topics. But not all blogs are alike so decide what’s the best tone for you. You’ll notice Dinnertime Marketing has a more personal, friendly tone on a topic we’re passionate about, but that’s our style. Choose your own adventure.

Jot down some title options. Ever since high school lit papers, coming up with titles is the hardest part for me. You want something catchy but intuitive so your reader knows what to expect from your posts. And you want it to reflect your selected tone. You don’t want a really sarcastic title on a serious topic. And, pretty please with a cherry on top, avoid cliches. Try to think of something short and easy for people to remember–something unique but not so far out in left field people don’t take you seriously.

To the Google Search. This is THE most important step in my opinion. Before you jump into setting up your blog and your socials, Google your title and similar variations of your title to see what else lives out there. I had a list of maybe 20 ideas for this blog title and almost all were taken either on WordPress or another blogging platform. Then move on to Twitter and see if someone has your handle or similar, same with Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, so on and so forth. This is especially important if you want to be more than just a one trick pony and create a real brand in the future (I’m talking website, mugs, hats, bumper stickers, that sorta thing). It’s a sad day when you go to Twitter and some empty egg picture with 0 followers and 1 tweet from back in 2007 has your beautiful, unique blog name. Research up front will save you a ton of frustration and time later on. You want to try to use the same name/title across all channels for consistency. For example, check out the Google search for Nom Nom Paleo, where I got my recipe for tonight’s meal. She dominates the results with all of her channels, and they all follow a consistent naming convention. She knew what she was doing (or at least her marketing people did!)

nom-nom-paleo

Ask a friend’s advice. You might love your title. You might think you have the most unique and clever title in all of the land. But ask a couple friends and they might laugh for the wrong reasons. Always run your ideas by an outsider and see if they “get it.” If it takes a convoluted explanation for people who know you to understand it, then it’s improbable that it would click with a stranger.

Once you’ve settled on your title and you’ve done your research, you’re ready to get bloggin’! Ready…Write!

This post comes paired with Baked Paprika Chicken Thighs and Cauliflower Garlic Mashed “Potatoes”, entirely prepared and cooked by yours truly.