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Follow up Posts

Wayne writes a good post on the topic of follow up posts:

‘Returning to a previous ongoing controversy or concept, provides a useful and interesting source, of blog post ideas. Often your longer term readership will appreciate finding out more information on an idea previously presented in your blog.

Blog SEO efforts are also enhanced, by picking up previous themes or topics, and running with them in several new directions.

Followup posts are ideal for political, legal, and sports blogs. Each those blog categories is ideally suited to continuing column ideas. Most regular readers will be very intrigued as to how the initial case, policy, or game under discussion, was resolved.’

Nice post again Wayne I’m sure I’ll write more about this – in a later post…

Sub-Niche Posting

Stephan Spencer writes a good simple tip on keywords.

‘To rank for the most generic (yet still relevant) keyword possible, your page content needs to be focused on one (or possibly a couple, but certainly no more than three) central keyword theme. Each page of your site should “sing” its own unique “song” (keyword theme) to the search engines.’

This is one of the key pieces of advice I am constantly giving bloggers. The way I look at is that each Blog should be focused on a niche – but that each post (page) within it should focus in on a sub-niche of the larger one.

To take Stephan’s ‘song’ analogy – see your blog as a compilation album (I’m thinking of some of my 80′s CDs) that is a collection of songs on a larger theme. Each song (post) has its own characteristics and focus that tie into a larger theme.

Whilst there is a place for the larger post that is a little more general in topic – its can often be more effective to break such posts up into smaller ones (a series if you like) and make each part focus upon one element (keyword).

Evergreen versus Time Related Posts

I finally got around to listening to the last third of the Business Blog Roundtable and was struck with one of the comments that Stephan Spencer (I think it was his voice) said about evergreen versus time related posts.

I’d not actually thought of my blogs and the posts in them in these terms before but on reflection find the classification very helpful.

Evergreen posts are ones that don’t lose their relevancy over time. You write them today and they will be as helpful to readers in a few months (or even years) time – for example my Adsense for Bloggers series is one of these – the first incarnation of these posts was over 12 months ago but they remain among the most popular posts on this site.

Time related posts tend to be more news related – or are often tied to an event in time. For example a couple of days ago I posted that Weblogs Inc. are testing Google’s RSS ads in their feeds. This post was relevant the day I wrote it and generated a little traffic, however in a week it will be ‘old news’.

So which is best? The obvious answer to this question is that it depends upon the topic or strategy of your blog. Both types of posts (and a combination of them) can be very powerful (and profitable) in different contexts and there are different pros and cons of each one.

Let’s tease this out a little more and make a few observations about each type of post:

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Tips for Generating Effective Web Content

Search Engine Guide has 7 Tips for Generating Effective Web Content which might help those wanting to improve their quality of content:

  1. Write customer focused content that appeals to your audience.
  2. If performing SEO – Focus on writing for the human reader first and search engines second.
  3. Find out what your target audience’s are really searching for.
  4. Tips for triggering idea generation
  5. Creating content that speaks to a specific audience
  6. Remember to include strong calls to action
  7. Search engine optimization the stress free approach

It is pretty basic stuff – but I’d echo the advice given in most points. I’m a particular believer in getting in the shoes of your blog’s readership. Start with your readership in mind instead of the search engine robots and you’ll not only end up ranking well but will help some people along the way.

Talk to your readers and find out what makes them tick – and as you do you’ll begin to see your subject matter from their perspective. What are their challenges, problems, questions – make these the basis of your posting and you’ll build a successful and popular blog.

The Etiquette of Linking

The hottest post on ProBlogger at the moment is Adsense Developing Fully Customizable Ads Blocks? due to it being picked up by a number of reputable blogs, forums and websites around the web. It is an illustration of what a ‘scoop’ (of sorts) can do for your ability to find new readers for your blog.

I’m always fascinated to follow the referral stats and trackbacks to the sources of those who are linking up to my posts to see what their take on a story is. In this case I’ve been surprised to see a number of blogs simply reposting my story virtually word for word. Some have been good enough to put quote marks around it others have not with some introductory comments – others have not. All have at least included a link back to the source.

I personally don’t mind being quoted (its part of what blogging is about) or even occasionally having one of my short posts posted in full – but recently have wondered if the art of linking up in an appropriate manner has been lost.

Here is what I consider to be etiquette when linking to a post that someone else has written:

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Finding Readers with Headlines

Blog World has a good post on how to Attract Readers With Headlines.

‘Headlines matter. Actually for blogs, headlines or post titles are crucial. Survey after survey shows that people only scan what they read on the net and you have to grab their attention quickly. Not only that, but if the person is using an RSS reader they may only see that headline. Similarly if your page comes up in a search engine, the first thing people are going to see is the headline.’

Their tips include to:

  • write strong headlines
  • summarize don’t tease
  • use important words first

Generating High Quantities of Content for your Blog

One of the previous series of posts that I wrote in the early days of ProBlogger (before all 4 of you started reading) was a series on generating high quantities of content for you blog.

I wrote it after reading article after article of people writing about how you need to work on the quality of your posts – quality not quantity seemed to be the catch cry. It got me wondering however – what if they were wrong?

You see my experience indicated that it was about BOTH quality AND quantity of posting. Check out the series that starts here but that continues in these posts titled Set Targets, News Sites and Aggregators, Start a New Blog, Break Down Your Posts, Ecto and Recruit Writers.

Writing Blog Content – Keep it Simple

The average person only comprehends 60% of what they read. How much do you comprehend?.

To ensure your reader ‘gets’ what you’re saying you need to make it clear by using some of the following techniques.

- Use simple language. Avoid technical jargon.

- Don’t introduce too many ideas in one post. You can always add another post later.

- Start your entry with your main point in the first paragraph. Better still, incorporate it in your title. (This can also bring more traffic through search engine referrals)

- Find creative ways to reinforce your main point throughout your post.

- Use visual aids like bold, CAPITALS, italics, underlining, teletext and to emphasize points. Don’t go overboard as you run the risk of frustrating your reader. Also consider changing font size, color and style to draw your readers eyes to your main points.

- Utilize headings, lists and borders to break down the your post into more manageable chunks.

Keep your postings simple and you have more chance of communicating your main message effectively. Share your tips below.

Random Blog Tip – Write Content

The title above might seem like a no brainer but I’ve had a few bloggers send me their blogs to review recently that could actually learn a thing or two by taking this simple advice.

Search Engines like text. They also like outbound links – but more than that they like actual content on your site. It is about getting the balance between links and content right.

I’ve noticed with a few of the blogs that have been sent to me lately that they are almost all links with very little (if any in some posts) actual static text.

Whilst from time to time I have posted some ‘contextless links’ posts which just contained three or four links without commentary I would strongly encourage bloggers not to do this with every post if you want to get indexed well by search engines.