Ten Basic Tips for Blogging with WordPress

This post will be of interest to new bloggers in general, but particularly to those who are blogging with WordPress.

wordpress-logo_thumb.jpgThe word “blog” derives from the words, “web” and “log”. If you’re new to blogging you might want to keep the following ten tips in mind:

1. Write a blog post regularly, and as often as you can, because blogging is the very best way to attract new visitors to your website. Frequent posting of fresh material, especially if it is useful and maybe even entertaining, will keep readers returning. Their clicks will raise your site’s ranking in Google search stacks. A higher ranking increases the likelihood that people who have never visited your site will find it via Google.

2. Write with a breezy, personal style. People prefer a personal style to an academic one. Don’t get so relaxed, though, that you get sloppy. Check your spelling and grammar. Errors of that sort will tarnish your appeal.

3. Images are more efficient than words for getting a message across. It’s good to include at least one image in every post, an image that sets the theme and tone for what you’re writing about. Use your own photos or scanned images, or get them from a stock photo company like istockphoto.com, or from the public domain. Google “public domain photos” and you’ll find several sources. Photographers posting at Flickr.com sometimes will grant permission to use their photos. Open a free account there and use Flickr mail to contact them.

4. Include at least one external link in your post, a live link to another url, which when a viewer clicks on it takes him/her to that other page. Search engines reward web pages that are connected to off-site pages. However, don’t put more than two or three external links in your post, for two reasons: First, they may divert your readers’ attention away from your own site, and you want to keep them there as long as possible. Secondly, if a web page has a lot of external links this actually decreases its ranking in search reports. So, a few external links is good, more than few, not.

5. Encourage your blog readers to leave comments. I suggest you install the WordPress plugin, Comment Luv, which will make commenting very easy. Monitor the comments. Weed out ones that aren’t respectful of others’ right to hold differing opinions or are obvious spam (not relevant to the discussion). Keep a comment thread going by thanking your readers and expanding on their contributions.

6. Visit blogs like yours and leave comments there. Commentors are often invited to leave the url of their own websites. That’s where you type in your site’s domain name. This will raise the ranking of your site, because indexing computers use external links to a site as the key measure of its popularity on the internet.

7. Make friends with other bloggers writing on similar topics to yours, and invite them to write a guest post on your blog. This is a win-win. The guest writer gets to advertise his/her own blog at your site, and you likely will gain some new readers from his/her loyal followers.

8. Use social networks to alert your readers to new posts. Do you have an account in large social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or LinkedIn? These are your best distribution points for new blog posts. Every page on the internet has a url, a unique resource locator, (its address on the internet). The url is found in the top window of your web browser (Internet Explorer, or Safari, or Firefox, etc.) When your new post’s page is displayed, highlight its url and copy it to your clipboard. Then check in to your account at Facebook, (for instance), and announce your new post with a brief description of its content, finishing your message with the url from your clipboard. If you use Twitter it’s best to shorten the url. This will leave more characters for your tweet. First visit a url shortening service like www.bit.ly, get the shortened version of your blog post’s url, and use that for your tweet.

9. Email your best friends by individual email notes about a recent post, especially if it contains a subject which you know interests them. People usually read notes addressed to them individually, but sometimes don’t read ones sent to groups.

10. If you’ve been blogging for a while you may be running out of material, so it’s good to keep a folder containing ideas for new posts, perhaps text notes to yourself, or bookmarks of juicy stuff you’ve come across recently. You could subscribe to Google alerts on a particular subject, I write an interfaith blog, so I subscribe to the subject “interfaith,” and every week Google sends me an email with the urls of the most visited web pages during that week containing the key word, “interfaith.” This not only stimulates my imagination, but lets me know what the recent internet trends are, and trends are important, because readers follow trends. Man, do they!

P.S.– In the next CyberKenBlog post I’ll cover some specific formatting tips to make your blog posts more noticeable to Google indexing computers. Such technical tips pertain to a discipline called Search Engine Optimization, SEO. I’ll include a video which will demonstrate how to use the very popular SEO plugin by Yoast. Stay tuned!

— TCDavis

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