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5 Tips To Writing Irresistibly Clickable Blog Titles

This is a guest contribution from Jackson Nwachukwu, lead blogger at DailyTipsDiary.com.

You’ve just been inspired and you’re ready to write the blog post you hope will be a hit.

The title not might be the first step in your planning process but it’s fair to say that most people automatically start thinking about what they will call their hit post.

After all, you don’t just want any blog title. You want one of those blog titles that gets readers excited before they’ve opened your post.

An average of 8 readers out of 10 will read a blog post title, while less than 3 out of the same 10 readers will read the rest of the article. This simple statistic shows how your post title greatly affects the entire content of your post.

So you stop.

Image courtesy of artur84 on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In order to quickly get a reader’s attention, you need to find smart ways of coming up with ckickable blog titles.

Imagine a reader typing a few keywords on Google search engine. Google returns a list of search results and your post title has emerged along side with other related blogs in your niche. What do you think your reader does first?

It’s very simple. He or she will scan through the list and choose for the best post title. Based on my “3E’s Blogging Rule exposure, experience and expertise, here are 5 tips that will help you write irresistibly clickable blog post titles.

1. Let Passion in

Search engines aren’t the main audience you need to write for, so it’s important to let some passion into your post title.

I made passion first on the list because it can determine the mindset your readers has when they open your post.

You can’t do well at something you have no love for and the same applies to writing a blog post. The only way to breathe life into a post title is to let passion take control of your writing. Once there is passion every other ingredient needed to write a catchy post title will surface.

2. Keep it Short but Focused

Your primary reason for writing a blog post is getting people to read it. Right?

To help connect readers to your blog post, you need a post title that clearly spells out what the post is about. The era of writing super long titles is over. When writing your post title, try to keep it short but also informative and compelling.

These two titles can give you a heads up:

A post title like “5 Tips To Writing Irresistibly Clickable Blog Titles” is much better compared to “Writing a Post Title: Top 5 Tips on How To Write A Post Title That is Clickable”.

3. Strike a Balance on Keywords Used in the Post Title

When it comes to thinking about SEO, using keywords in your blog title is advised But it’s important not to overdo it. A clickable post title should makes sense and be easy to read so don’t try to stuff awkward keywords into your title.

Looking at our two blog post titles again. The first title has eight words while the second has later has 17. In most cases, post titles with 10 words containing at least 2 keywords is considered SEO rich and will do better both in ranking and in attracting the attention of readers.

4. Make the Grammar look Good

Just because search engines don’t care about grammar doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Today, every reader wants to read well-structured blog posts that includes good grammar!

It becomes even more important when writing your post title because that is the first thing a reader will read before deciding on whether to read further or not.

More than once I have skipped over an article because of the title. If you don’t pay attention to grammar, you never know how many readers click away without reading your posts.

5. Know Which Special Characters to Use on your Post Title

There are handful of special characters you can use on your post title and those that I consider a no use characters.

The following special characters can be added in post titles: single dash (-), colon (:), question mark (?), exclamation mark (!)

  • The single dash (-) can be used to separate words in post headline
  • The colon (:) same goes for the colon, it can be used to separate words in titles
  • The question mark (?) this usually used when a title begs an answer, which means the title itself, is a question.
  • The exclamation point (!) this character is used when a title is meant to make the reader excited about a thing.

The following special characters CANNOT and SHOULD NOT be added in post titles: Ampersands (&), Greater than/Less than Symbols (< and >), the Pound Sign or Hash (#) the “At” Symbol (@).

Here is a Breakdown of these NO USE special characters

Ampersands (&) : This makes your post title URL to error out because you had the web browser  confused as to detecting  where your HTML code either begins or ends

“At” Symbol (@): The “At” Symbol (@) is a commonly used character associated with email addresses.  However, when it’s written as @ in post title URL, it confuses the web browser or RSS reader which interprets it as part of an email address rather than a web address.

Greater Than and Less Than Symbols (< and >): The two are used as tags to enclose HTML elements. This is usually used in text formatting, styling and other mark up languages and these characters, when used on your post title, cuts off your title URL.

Pound Sign or Hash (#): This character works specifically on links in certain sections of a webpage.

Let’s see how this works. When you look at the comments on each post written on ProBlogger, it has this Hash (#) symbol. So I picked this post:

Don’t Be Lazy: 9 Ways to Blog Smarter and Harder. When you click on the comment stats or icon on post pages, to access the comments on this post, you will see the link look like this http://www.problogger.net/archives/2013/06/18/9-ways-to-blog-smarter-and-harder/comment-page-1/#comment-5204560 .

Hope you have seen the Hash (#) attached to the suffix of the post link? Now imagine you added this tag on your post title. You will confuse the browser by directing you to the comment page!

In a nutshell, using any of these special characters (apart from the ones I specified earlier) on your post title kills your chances of getting your blog post translated properly by web browsers and above all confuses your readers.

In Summary

There is no right way to write blog post titles. However, learning writing tips like these will put you ten steps ahead of your competitors.

Which other methods have you been using to write blog post titles that attract readers?  

Jackson Nwachukwu is an entrepreneur, a freelance writer and the founder of Content Practical Media. Are you looking for a creative web content writer or copywriter to help grow your business website/blog’s traffic and increase sales? Hire Jackson to write for you.

Write Less, Say More

This is a guest contribution from Brooke McAlary, founder of Slow Your Home.

You’ve heard of slow food, perhaps even slow travel or slow homes. But slow…blogging? Really?

Isn’t the point of blogging to be topical, with our fingers on the pulse of global trends? Don’t we, as bloggers, pride ourselves on being the gatekeepers of information, upcoming releases and Game of Thrones memes?

Each day we feel pressured to uncover and share the next Big Thing – the app of the year, the design trend of the season, the life-hack no-one has ever shared before.

By adopting the slow blogging approach, however, you can walk away from that pressure. You intentionally choose to pull back, to put your hands up and say, “Hey, TechCrunch, you can have your 15 posts a day. I’m going to run my own race instead, thanks.”

But Why?

Aside from the obvious and very attractive point of not trying to compete with the BoingBoings, the Huffington Posts and the Apartment Therapies of the internet, slow blogging also allows you to say more while writing less.

But let’s back-track a moment.

What is Slow Blogging?

The term Slow Blogging was coined by Todd Sieling in his 2006 manifesto. Essentially Sieling outlined the movement as a rejection of immediacy and embracing the intrinsic value of our words.

In other words, wait until you have something interesting to say before hitting Publish.

What slow blogging isn’t, is lazy, ignorant or careless. It’s the exact opposite. It means you value both your time and that of your readers so much that you refuse to waste it. What you create is of value instead of simply adding to the noise.

A Slow Blogger:

  • Gives his ideas time and space to fully form. He doesn’t rush them out into the world simply to fill the silence.
  • Writes for people, not search engines.
  • Doesn’t focus on her analytics figures, subscriber count or Twitter followers. She sees the value, rather, in her tribe, her community, her people.
  • Has a simplified workflow. His days are not filled with productivity apps and curation tools. A notepad, some Post-Its or Evernote will suffice.
  • Is authentic, intentional and mindful in her writing. Honesty and transparency result from spending more time thinking and questioning.
  • Understands she cannot be everywhere. 

Why is Slow Blogging a Good Thing?

I’ve been writing about simple living for over two years, but it wasn’t until I started applying the elements of slow blogging that I saw vast improvement in my work, my community and my readership.

Slowing down, posting less frequently, spending more time thinking, studying and writing my posts, has ultimately led me to attract a much bigger audience. My readers now are engaged, inspired and my greatest champions, and I put much of that down to my decision to go Slow.

I’ll say that part again, because it bears repeating.

My readership has grown as I’ve posted less.

In addition to a more engaged audience, most bloggers who adopt all (or parts) of the slow blogging movement to their work will see the following advantages:

  • Your content will have greater depth and clarity.
  • The quality of your work will go up as your output goes down.
  • You will spend less time writing, giving you more time to spend on your life, business, work, family or cocktails in the sun.
  • You will experience less stress and less pressure as you stop focusing on traffic numbers, subscriber counts and comments.
  • You will focus more on delivering real value to the people in your audience, and therefore create a much more loyal community.
  • Yes, growth may be slower to begin with, but as you develop your voice and a reputation for depth, your audience will grow in both size and loyalty.

5 Action Steps to Slow Down Your Blogging

Does this slow blogging thing sound attractive to you? Would you like to dip your toe in the proverbial water?

Here’s 5 action steps you can take:

1. Commit to posting less frequently. If you currently post every day, try cutting back to 2-3 days a week. Less, if you feel brave. Then give it a month and judge your community’s reaction.

2. Limit social media to 10 minutes per outlet per day. Use programs like HootSuite or Buffer to automate some of your output. And only get online if you would like to, not out of obligation. The world will keep turning if you avoid Twitter for a day.

3. Simplify your writing process. Be it with a pen and paper or a simple writing app, commit to keeping your notes, outlines and drafts in one place. Keep it simple.

4. Commit to writing one longer, well-thought out piece per week/fortnight/month. Depending on your topic, this could mean spending 5-15 hours on one post. Publish and promote it, then judge the reaction of your readers.

5. Ask yourself before hitting Publish, “Is this truly helpful to my readers? Will they care? Do I care?” In other words, only post when you have something real to say.

While the Slow Blogging movement has its foundation in the minimalism and simple living niches, it can apply to a huge range of topics.

The following sites all apply elements of slow blogging, and all are very successful:

So before you cast this movement aside as not being for you, simply ask yourself if you’d benefit from a more engaged community, more readers and more popular content. Then see if there are elements of slow blogging you could incorporate into your work.

Do you already incorporate some of the elements of slow blogging to your work? Would you like to? Share with us in the comments below.

Brooke McAlary is the founder of Slow Your Home and the creator of the insanely helpful Slow Home BootCamp - where she helps you create the simpler life you want. She is also a passionate writer, blissful gardener and siesta advocate. 

Magic 5-Step Plan To Writing a Post That Will Easily Win Pulitzer Prize

This is a guest contribution by Tim Soulo.

I bet the next sentence will totally blow your mind!

Ready?

Though… I think a bit of preparation wouldn’t hurt. No really, when I told this to my friend the other day he had a heart attack and I had to drive him to the hospital (he’s ok now btw).

But you just have to know that! This is probably the most important piece of advice in your whole career.

So read along…

1. The Power of The Post Opener

Ok. I was bluffing, I’m sorry. I don’t have a “sentence that will blow your mind”. But did you even notice how easily you got involved into reading this post and how intrigued you were to know what’s going to happen next?

If you look at the very first sentence of this post, it’s sole purpose is to make you read the next one. But the next one doesn’t answer the question I’ve planted in your head (“what will blow my mind?”), it just adds more drama to keep you intrigued and make you read even further.

This kind of “post opener” follows the well known AIDA formula: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.

  • My first sentence got your Attention.
  • The story about a friend that got heart attack got you Interested.
  • The statement “you have to know that” played with your Desire.
  • And I invited you to take Action by offering to “read along”.

But what’s the point of going an extra mile to make your post opener intriguing and catchy? Actually there are quite enough reasons for that:

  • If a person opens your post, this doesn’t mean he will read it. Your post opener helps him to make the decision if he wants to read this post or not;
  • Generally people don’t want to read, they just want to consume some valuable information. If you fail to present it in an entertaining and engaging way someone else might win their attention;
  • We’re easily distracted: an email or tweet or maybe a phone call can easily steal our attention and make us forget about the post we were reading. So your opener should be good enough to make people ignore everything else until they finish it.

2. Who Needs An Opener When The Headline is Poor?

You have the best opener in the world, but what if noone will ever see it? Why?

Because your headline isn’t good enough!

My RSS reader pretty much illustrates the point:

Tim Soulo's google reader screen of headlines

Same thing with updates on Twitter or Facebook or search listings in Google ­ in every case the headline is what you see first.

Headline is the most important part of your post. Literally. So make sure it’s compelling enough to steal person’s attention.

There are plenty of good tips and techniques to writing powerful headlines, but I think if you master this single document ­ “Headline Hacks” ­ your headlines will rock!

3. Subheadings are Headline’s Best Friends

Subheadings are not only used to improve the structure of your post, but they actually improve the chances of the post to actually get read.

And here’s how.

Many of us (including myself) will always skim through the post quickly in order to determine how big it is, how much time it will take to read it and how valuable it is for us. In case your post is just a since chunk of text and there’s nothing that catches the eye and gives you an idea of what the post is about ­ most people won’t risk their time to read it.

By using interesting and compelling subheadings you’re drastically increasing the chances of your post to be read.

4. Your Post Structure And Styling May Cost You Readers Too

Let’s keep talking about the “phenomenon” of skimming the post before reading it. What else might catch the eye?

  • Pictures? ­Absolutely!
  • Numbered (or unnumbered) lists? ­Definitely!
  • Text in bold or italic? ­Pretty much.
  • Quotations? ­Yeah, why not.

Everything that’s different from the common paragraph of text might get person’s attention and make him quickly read this part. Don’t be afraid to use photos, graphics, videos or anything else along these lines.

Take a look at my post and see which of these things I’ve already used and if they fit naturally and really help you (as a reader) to consume information.

And by the way, make sure your paragraphs of text are not bigger than 3-­4 sentences, because most people have have some hidden psychological fear of huge chunks of text and they just won’t read them.

All in all, usage of all these things inevitably leads to improving the logical structure of your post. Subheadings alone mean that the article is not just a random flow of thought, but it’s actually structured into certain logical parts, which makes it a lot easier to comprehend it.

BONUS TIP: Try to always add captions for the images. Studies show that 80% of people who are skimming through the post will read the image captions.

5. All of The Above Is Useless Without Research

We love to think that we have enough knowledge in our heads to produce compelling content which others will find interesting and valuable. Yet quite often we’re awfully wrong.

To prove my point I invite you to google the hell out of the next topic that you’re going to write about and see yourself if there’s anything you didn’t know. And besides, if it so happens that there are tons of posts on the topic already listing the same thoughts and ideas you were about to write… ­ maybe the world doesn’t need yet another one?

But if you’re confident that you can do a much better post than any of those already there ­ go for it, my friend! And make sure you send me the link once it’s published for I want to read that!

One last thing I love about a thorough research ­ it makes your brain work! I don’t remember where I heard this advice first, yet it works for me so damn good:

When you need to generate some fresh ideas or uncanny solutions ­ go read all you can on the topic and then do something else and let your brain rest and slowly digest all the information you’ve just consumed. Sooner or later a great idea will strike you out of nowhere! Believe me, this really works!

The Topic Is Exhausted? Talk To Your Readers!

Don’t know about you, but I write articles with a sole purpose of communicating to people. And I love when the communication goes both ways for otherwise I might as well just bury the article on my hard drive once I’m done writing it.

I’m sure you guys have something to say about this very post. So speak out! I’ll be glad to continue the conversation in comments.

Tim Soulo is a blogging experimenter and conversion junkie. He is passionate about discovering new marketing ideas and sharing them with his readers. Why don’t you visit his personal blog at BloggerJet.com and take his free email course on boosting your traffic.

How to Deal with a Firestorm of Controversy on Your Blog (Before it Suffocates You)

This is a guest contribution from Sherice Jacob.

You’ve just hit Publish. You don’t know what will happen from here, but at the moment, you feel relieved. You’ve just written one of the most controversial, eye-opening, highly-polarizing posts on your blog. You know it’s ripe for debate and there are going to be readers who take your perspective personally – as if you secretly wrote it for – and about – them.

Some bloggers will tell you that controversy is one of the best possible angles you can take on your blog. And for some people, it is. For others, it can be a disastrous downward spiral – but one thing is certain, people will love it, either way.

Case in point, the social meltdown that occurred on the Amy’s Bakery Facebook page after the company was featured on chef Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. Chef Ramsay actually quit the episode because the proprietors refused to listen to him. That, coupled with thousands of comments from users on Reddit and Yelp added fuel to the fire. The husband-and-wife team leapt into the fray, alternating between defending themselves and cursing out the posters.

It was the perfect example of how NOT to handle controversy and criticism. 

It’s also worth mentioning that consequently, their page went from 2,500 likes on Facebook, to over 50,000. It’s doubtful that people liked the company as much as they liked the drama.

Why We Secretly Both Love and Hate Controversy

On the whole, we like to play it safe. Even as young children, we’re taught not to “ruffle any feathers” and to use our “indoor voices”.

But a good controversy demands that we draw a line in the sand and dare others to cross it. If you’ve got a topic so heartfelt and genuine that you just have to share it – do it. One post that’s near and dear to you will be worth more to your readers than ten “safe” posts.

The fact is, no one knows the topic like you do. Considering that you’re not riling up readers just to touch a nerve, and that you truly do value and believe in what you have to share – then you’ve already laid the groundwork for a good controversial post that makes a point while remaining open to discussion.

You Don’t Need to Seek Out Their Approval

While it’s nice to have readers in your corner vouching for your perspective – you don’t need to actively seek out their approval.

Nothing makes a blogger look weaker than stating their point and then chasing it up with “Am I right, guys? Am I right?” By the same token, don’t do a complete 180 degree shift and play the victim card. Hand-wringing and taking everything personally just gives the criticizers more reason to keep attacking you and your post.  Sadly, some people do this as a form of entertainment.

Know when to respond, when to walk away, and when to learn from your actions (and yes, you can do all three of these based on the comments in your post!)

  • If you’ve made your point as clearly and accurately as possible, you’ve done what you set out to do.
  • If you’ve made some mistakes, take a step back, acknowledge the errors and make corrections

Above all, don’t attack the commenters for posting their point of view, like the bakery company did. They simultaneously managed to proclaim their goodness, lash out at posters and play the victim card all at once.

Don’t Turn Your Audience into Mashed Potatoes

Know what bloggers and mashed potatoes tend to have in common? Lumps.

In that, as bloggers, we’ve been preached to so much about personas and demographics that we tend to lump all our readers together in terms of likes/dislikes/interests/lifestyles. Like MMO computer games?  Then you must be a level 60 basement-dwelling, cheeto-stained neckbeard!

Wrong.

Resist the urge to lump your audience together into neatly organized stereotypes and they’ll be a lot more forgiving of your observations (even if they disagree with them). Every user has a unique perspective, so making generalized statements toward a group, a product or a person is sure to inflame the others who don’t match that generalization, and resent being pigeon-holed into that group.

Agree to Disagree

Remember above all, that this is your blog. You can answer questions, post responses and make corrections on your own terms. Keep the discussion on track and resist the urge to give in to commenters who interrupt or veer off topic.  Stay focused and agree to disagree.  Who knows? Maybe after making your first controversial post, you can follow up with a “What I’ve Learned” lesson.

Above all, resist the urge to delete the post and censor the comments. Blogs are not a one-way street.

Your true readers will follow you to the ends of the earth and back, even if they don’t agree with you. And that’s what makes a controversial post so rewarding.

Want to improve your blog, but don’t know where to start?  Sherice Jacob offers comprehensive blog reviews with an emphasis on getting you more subscribers, more traffic and more sales. Learn more at iElectrify.com

How to Produce Great Content Fast – in Five Simple Steps

This is a guest contribution from Ali Luke, author of The Blogger’s Guide to Effective Writing. 

Great content, posted on a regular basis, is vital to your blog’s success.

But most bloggers, especially those new to writing, struggle to produce high-quality posts as quickly as they’d like.

This is usually because they’re following some poor writing practices, like:

  • Sitting in front of a blank screen, trying to come up with an idea
  • Going off on a long tangent in the middle of a post, only to end up deleting it
  • Getting distracted by Twitter, Facebook, Skype…
  • Editing every sentence as they go along – making very little forward progress
  • Adding in bold, subheadings, images, and so on while writing

If one (or more) of those sound familiar, follow these steps and you’ll be able to create great content, fast.

Step #1: Come Up With Lots of IdeasLight bulb with a great idea

It can take ages to come up with one idea – but once you start, it’s often easy to come up with many more.

Instead of staring at the screen every time you sit down to write a post, come up with a whole batch of ideas at once.

Set aside time at your most creative time of day (first thing in the morning can work well) and start brainstorming.

Jot down everything that comes to you, even if it seems trite or unworkable – a not-quite-right idea may lead you to a great one.

Step #2: Pick an Idea and Create a Plan

When you sit down to write a post, turn to your ideas list and choose one that seems to grab you. Before you jump into writing the post, though, take five – ten minutes to create a plan.

Some post ideas come with a ready-made structure: “10 Tips…” or “5 Ways…” or “How to…” posts are easy to plan. All you need to do is work out the numbered subheadings or steps.

Other posts may be a little more complex – but the same principle applies. Work out the key points you want to include, and get them in the right order.

Some writers like to plan in a linear format, by writing a list; others prefer to use mind-mapping, throwing ideas down onto the page and organizing them afterwards.

Step #3: Switch off Distractions … and Write

Writing is a high energy activity, and most bloggers find it very easy to give into the temptation to do something else instead.

Once you’re into the flow of writing, it’s best to avoid stopping: if you pause every few sentences to check Facebook or Twitter, you’ll not only waste time, you’ll also struggle to get going again.

Get rid of any tempting distractions before you begin. For me, that means closing Twitter and Facebook, and often putting on music to drown out background noise (I have a husband and 3 month old baby in the house…)

If you find it tough to focus at home, try writing somewhere else. Take your laptop to a cafe, or use a computer in your local public library. You’ll probably find that it’s much easier to concentrate.

Step #4: Edit and Proof-ReadProofreader Dictionary Entry

Don’t stop to edit while you’re writing. It’s fine to quickly correct a typo or two, but if you’re constantly deleting and starting again, you’ll never get anywhere. Instead, plough on forward to the end of your post’s first draft.

Once you’ve got that draft written, set it aside for at least an hour or two before editing. That way, you can see it afresh – and you may find that much of it is better than you originally thought. You’ll also spot issues like overly-long sentences, and poor word choices.

It’s often useful to separate editing (where you’re changing and improving your post – perhaps cutting or adding whole paragraphs) from proof-reading (where you’re just looking for typos and spelling, grammar or punctuation mistakes).

Step #5: Add Formatting

You may want to combine this with step #4 – but I find it’s usually best to add formatting once my post is truly complete. That way, you won’t find yourself rewriting sections that you’ve already painstakingly formatted to look great.

You don’t need to spend long on formatting: a couple of minutes spent putting your subheadings into a header format (usually H2) and adding in bold text can make a huge difference to the readability of your post. This is also a good opportunity to split up long paragraphs and make sure any quotes and lists are formatted properly.

 

If you follow these steps when you write, you’ll find that you get posts written much faster – perhaps in half the time that it usually takes you. You may find the content creation process more enjoyable, too – instead of struggling to get the words down, they’ll flow easily onto the page.

Do you have a question about writing faster, or any tips to share? Let us know in the comments!

Ali Luke has written over a thousand blog posts and is author of The Blogger’s Guide to Effective Writing. If you’d like to write faster, better content, grab your copy today: the code problogger will give you a $5 discount.

How We Increased Organic Blog Traffic by 203.5% in Less Than 3 Months – And You Can Too

This is a guest contribution by Kristina Allen, marketing consultant for AdEspresso.

Over the past couple of months my team at AdEspresso has increased our organic blog traffic by 203.5% and I’m going to share the secret of exactly how we did it!

Step 1: Conduct Keyword Research

When we first started working on driving (more) organic traffic to the AdEspresso blog our team began with keyword research. We used SEOmoz but you can easily get a keyword list using Google’s free Keyword Research Tool.

When using Google’s keyword tool simply type in  a couple of relevant key phrases and then Google will search for related keyword ideas along with their search volume.

Because Facebook advertising is a really popular topic the overall keyword list is pretty gigantic so I immediately sorted the list by highest number of searches.

I then went through and highlighted in green the keywords that I thought I could easily turn into blog post topics. (I also highlighted in yellow keywords that I thought would be good for us to try and use as anchor text in link backs to our site – but that is for a different project).

The keywords I did not highlight were skipped over because they were either too generic or would not have made a good blog post topic for us. For example, “facebook ads coupon” was skipped over because we do not have any Facebook ad coupons to give away and a blog post about Facebook ad coupons wouldn’t have helped us drive the right people to our blog.

Most people who use Facebook ad coupons are first-time social advertisers who are looking to experiment with Facebook ads. Our software is made for Facebook advertisers who know what they’re doing and are looking for an easier way to create ads and also deeper insights into the performance of their campaigns.

It’s really important to select your keywords carefully because the goal of increased traffic shouldn’t be about getting a bunch of people to visit your site for a few seconds. It should be about driving high quality traffic.

Step 2: Include Keywords in the Post URL

Once you have your list of keywords it’s time to get to writing! Simply start going down the list and turning keyword ideas into blog post topics.

For example, one of the keyword phrases we researched and deemed appropriate for our blog was “facebook ads on mobile” since AdEspresso can help you create and analyze mobile Facebook ad campaigns. With the keyword phrase “Facebook ads on mobile” in mind I wrote a post called 5 Tips for Rocking Facebook Ads on Mobile Devices and published it to the AdEspresso blog. I made sure to include the keyword phrase in the URL of the blog post like this for SEO purposes:

Another keyword phrase we want to rank for is “Facebook Suggested Posts” I wrote a post called How to Run Suggested Posts Like the Pros. The URL for the post includes the keyword phrase of course:

However, you will notice the title of the post does not include the word Facebook in it at all. That is because I thought How to Run Facebook Suggested Posts Like the Pros didn’t sound quite right. However, the body copy does include the word Facebook quite a bit and we are still able to rank for the phrase in Google:

This leads us nicely into step three…

Step 3: Include Keywords in the Post

When you’re putting together your post be sure to include your targeted keyword phrase in body copy of your blog post frequently but naturally. Do not keyword stuff your post as this will likely get your penalized by Google and will definitely turn away intelligent readers.

What I do is write a post draft without thinking about adding the keyword phrase in at all. This allows me to focus on creating high quality content without worrying about the technicalities that come along with SEO.

After the post is finished I go back and see if and where I included the keyword phrase naturally. Usually I’ve included it enough times naturally that I do not need to make any edits. Sometimes I’ll have words flipped around a little bit and just need to make small adjustments with phrasing.

For example, using the keyword phrase “Facebook suggested post” I might have written “when putting together a suggested post on Facebook you should…” in my article. If so, I’ll just adjust it so that it reads, “A Facebook suggested post should include…” allowing me to get my target keywords in while saying essentially the same thing in a natural way.

Step 4: Stick to a Posting Schedule

One of the top rules for building up readership for any blog is to stick to a posting schedule. Whether you’re running a business blog or a personal one, frequency + high quality content will get you far.

Sometimes the hardest part of sticking to a schedule is wondering what you should blog about next – that’s the beauty of having a keyword list. You’ll never run out of great ideas! You can quickly go down your list and find a topic that people are actively searching for and help them out!

If you have a business blog, research shows that the more often you post the better your customer acquisition results will be:

Since we started actively trying to increase organic traffic to our blog we have been posting twice per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. While we would love to post more frequently, we’re a small startup team and we all have a million things to do. Posting twice per week is a schedule that we know we can manage and stick to, so that’s what we’re doing for now – and the results are positive!

Step 5: Understand that Growth May Be a Slow Process

When it comes to increasing organic traffic for your blog, understand that it may be a slow process.  Unlike posts that go viral through social media channels, organic traffic takes time to build; however, it is often the gift that keeps on giving for years down the road.

A post that goes viral will likely send you a lot of traffic over the course of a day, week or even a month and then die down. A post that drives organic traffic will continue to send you a steady stream of visitors over the long haul. That’s precisely why organic traffic is highly important for any blog. While you are building up your organic traffic you should also be sharing your posts via social media and bookmarking sites for the biggest boost.

And there you have it, the step-by-step process we followed to grow our organic blog traffic by 203.5%! We’ll continue to follow this process (and stay up to date with trends in SEO) to provide high quality content for our blog readers on topics we know they’re searching for information about.

This post was written by Kristina Allen, marketing consultant for AdEspresso, a Facebook ads manager that allows you to quickly create and a/b test Facebook ads for maximum campaign results!

My Experiment with Early Morning Free Writing Sessions

Lately, I’ve found myself settling into a slightly different blogging workflow to my usual one.

I’ve been getting up at 6.30am to write.

In the morning, our kids have to stay in their rooms until 7am. I’m not quite sure how we managed to get them to do that but it works… for now.

I often find my body wakes me up a bit earlier and previously, I’d just doze and dream a little for that half an hour, drifting in that fuzzy state between being asleep and awake.

A few weeks ago, I realised that in that sleepy half hour I was actually getting some cool ideas. I’m not sure why it’s so but I often find that after a good night’s sleep, my first few thoughts of the day have the most clarity.

For example, a few weeks ago I was grappling with a talk I’ve been preparing for a conference. I couldn’t quite get the flow right. One morning, during the waking up phase, it just clicked. I was able to get up and jot down the outline for the full talk in about 3 minutes flat! It was almost as if I’d been thinking about the problem too hard and by having a good night’s sleep, I took the pressure off. From there, it just flowed.

That day, I decided I should get up a bit earlier in the mornings and make that half an hour a time to write. I’ve been doing it for a few weeks now and have had some good mornings and some not so great mornings. Overall, I’ve found it helpful.

The approach I’m taking is to not set an agenda for the half hour but to simply sit down with my journal or laptop and write. I don’t set a topic. I just write what comes to mind.

So far, around half of my weekday mornings (I only do it weekdays) have produce something useful. The other days haven’t really amounted to much, but that’s ok.

The days that were useful produced a variety of results.

  • I use my output from a couple of the days as parts of blog posts.
  • One of the days, I turned what I wrote into a reflection, I then posted on Google+
  • Another day, I wrote something that ended up in a presentation I’m giving.
  • Another day ended up turning into some thoughts I sent one of my team members about a project we’re working on.
  • One last day, I wrote something more personal that had a big impact upon motivating me in an area I had been wrestling with.

I’m not sure how this experiment will last but I figure that even if it only has a 50% success rate at producing the above kinds of results it is going to be very, very worthwhile to do!

What If We Put As Much Effort into Writing Blog Posts as Public Speaking?

In just under 2 weeks I’ll be standing on this stage at the beautiful Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, giving a keynote at World Domination Summit in front of just under 3000 people.

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It is an incredible honour to be invited to speak at this event and I’m very grateful to Chris for the invitation – but honestly – the thought of standing in front of 3000 to give a 45 minute talk make me a little nervous!

As a result, you can imagine that over the last few months I’ve been putting considerable time into preparation!

I have:

  • Filled many pages in notebooks with ideas and notes
  • Mind-mapped the talk many times, on whiteboards in my office
  • Spent hours fine tuning my keynote/powerpoint presentation
  • Talked with family and friends many times about the points I’m sharing
  • Read many articles, books and watched many videos on the topic I’m talking about
  • Started practicing the talk and honing how it flows. This is something I’ll do a lot more of.

I’ve already put 50+ hours into preparing for this 45 minute keynote and I’ll put more in over the next couple of weeks.

Yesterday, as I was working on the talk I found myself comparing the preparation of this talk for 3000 people to the process I go through when writing a blog post. There are some definite similarities (and I’ll cover them in a future post) but there is one difference that hit me like a tonne of bricks.

I spend considerably less time on blog posts, despite the fact that they have the potential to reach a lot more people.

Here on ProBlogger this blog receives around 20,000 visitors a day.

While a single blog post doesn’t get read by all of them… over its lifetime it has the potential to be read by many, many more.

However, I’ve never ever spent 50+ hours on a blog post!

A blog post certainly is different to a keynote. For starters, there is a lot less content. I have written some long posts in my time but none would take 45 minutes to read! Even so, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we put as much effort into crafting each blog post as preparing for a public presentation.

What do you think?

Forget about Marketing: Concentrate on Blogging

This is a guest contribution by Nicholas Whitmore.

The title: What on earth does it mean?

Well, recently it seems like a lot of bloggers fancy themselves as marketers. You can’t read a post on a blog without seeing a load of other bloggers commenting at the bottom, with a link back to their own site. Of course other bloggers use black hat SEO tricks and other shady tactics in order to drive traffic to their blog. Each to their own you might say, but at the end of the day life can be much, much easier.

If you publish blog content that’s truly awesome, everyone else will market your blog for you.

If you seem to spend half your life trying to promote your blog with your efforts never coming to fruition, now’s the time to stop. There’s a reason why things aren’t working out – and you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s the actual content in your blog posts.

Sorry to have to break it to you, but your blog posts suck.

A man shocked at your lack of proofreading!

It’s time to go back to basics because if you’re guilty of trying to build links and force traffic to your blog, you’re trying too hard.

The art of blogging involves thinking up great topics and blog titles, performing research where required, then authoring great work.

Building links and driving traffic to your website does not fall under the blogging remit – that’s marketing, something different altogether.

Good things come to those who wait

Starting a successful blog is not something that you can do overnight. In fact, it can take months or even years before you start to see traction and those crazy traffic figures you’ve dreamt of. If you’ve got a short attention span or you’re incredibly impatient, the chances are that you won’t make it as a blogger.

Whilst some bloggers out there make a living from their sites, don’t go quitting your day job and blowing your life savings just yet – getting a blog to the point where it can be successfully and sustainably monetized takes a very, very long time.

Expedite success with more awesome blog posts 

The only way in which you can expedite the success of your blog is to publish more high quality content. Be careful not to inundate your visitors with too much content to digest though in your race to the top. Careful balances need to be struck between quality and quantity – a balance must also be struck between too many and too little blog posts.

Rarely will you see a sparsely populated blog that’s extremely popular. One of the core ingredients of a successful blog is frequent content – there’s no getting away from that fact. You don’t have to post 10 new blogs each week, but it would help in a lot of cases.

Hard work always pays off 

On my desk is a mug that my father used to drink out of. It says: “Hard work always pays off” – I find that little saying resonates around my head at least one million times each day. There are few things in life truer than this saying – and it can of course be applied to the world of blogging.

Be prepared to spend a good few months writing awesome posts that few people will read initially.

Keep plugging away – keep publishing great content and your blog will be recognized. The pay off comes when the recognition that your blog receives snowballs – links from other blogs start rolling in, and people recommend your posts on social media.

Recognition usually starts like a little trickle of water – gradually it will build up into a raging torrent. The more recognition your site receives, the more people will read it. As more people read your blog, it’ll receive further recognition. It’s an infinite loop of goodness for you as a blog owner!

In Summary 

When you write and publish awesome content on your blog, good things will come your way.

When you write and publish boring content then spend hours on end building links to it, trying to force people to your website, good things will never come.

Spend your time blogging – not marketing. The marketing side of things will be taken care of for you by your visitors if the blog posts that you publish are good enough to be recommended and shared across the internet.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with sharing posts you publish via social media with friends and followers – it’s the ideal way in which to generate that initial buzz and interest about your blog. When the marketing of your posts takes longer than it does to actually write them however, you’ve almost certainly lost your way as a blogger.

 Nick is a freelance journalist and website content editor from http://www.contentwriting.org. He writes extensively about the art of blogging, as well as online marketing techniques such as SEO, PPC and SMM.