F-GD (23 March, 2009)
The Blogosphere and You
Many Internet users have started to create blogs, for purposes of business and/or leisure. Revenue may be the driving force behind developing a financial blog, for example, while love for writing and food could be the reason for a restaurant blog. For people who have created blogs for exposure (and subsequent profit), it is necessary to optimize their sites to afford better access by viewers and search engines.
Optimization is often an overlooked part of blog development. Tweaking your blog benefits you and your viewers, even if your blog has already managed to attract a large audience. It is, nonetheless, slightly different from the search engine optimization process for other websites. Blogs can operate with standard blogging systems, or work with hosting on a different domain. Other concerns, such as layout and logistics, are unlike those of ‘usual’ websites; and can influence your rankings in various ways.
Design which implements features that create a great experience for viewers, while engaging search engines will have a better shot at making it big. Your blog may have a good layout and aesthetic, or decent rankings in search engine results. Combining these two integral components will help garner an audience, and add to that number steadily – thus making your website rank well without detracting from the user experience.
Here are some suggestions on blog optimization that focus on search engines and readership:
The Elements of Style
How do you structure your content? Many bloggers may create compelling content. If their sentences are ridden with grammatical errors, run-ons, and misspellings (for example), then this may turn off readers who otherwise find the concept novel and interesting. A single paragraph running the length of the entire page can also discourage readers.
Run a grammar and spelling check on your entry before posting. The occasional typo may slip your attention, but it is best to keep such errors to a minimum. If a reader encounters the above blog (with those same issues) time and time again, then he or she may stop reading or subscribing out of annoyance or sheer frustration.
Do you use explanatory titles? Some programs could render your titles unremarkable in search engine results. This may cause a lower number of clicks than you could obtain with optimized entry headings. If your title places your blog name before a common subject, e.g. The Wanderlust Chronicles of Snarf – New Rides at Six Flags, the latter part may get cut from the displayed search results.
Change it so that the subject appears first. Your titles should also describe the entry briefly, and give the reader a grasp of what your post discusses. In this case, ‘swoop, there it is!’ as the heading for an article about the migratory patterns of the Blacktailed Godwit is not recommended. Using vivid titles, especially for new blogs with a relatively small audience, should be an initial step in blog optimization.
Do you make fresh content? Writing innovative blog posts boosts the chance of increasing your readership, and making a loyal following out of the viewers you already have. Some of your fans may be bloggers themselves, and these bloggers could link their site to yours. A follower of that blogger may find a topic of yours interesting and choose to discuss it as well.
If your entry contains excerpts from another blog, or reactions to a blog’s recent article, attach a link to that blog entry. Their audience may potentially realize the existence of your blog from that site, and vice versa. They may also link their blog to yours or comment on one of your entries at some point. Novel content, a fervent fanbase, and links to other blog sites may cause a ripple effect and extend your fame considerably.
What fonts do you use? Good design is comprehensible design. The fonts contained in your blog have to be easy on the eyes. Obscure, customized, or ‘cool’ fonts aren’t suitable for a blog layout. Using Wingdings for your titles may not be a fantastic idea. The ‘instant gratification’ philosophy perpetuated throughout the Web mean that readers want to understand what they see, and fast!
Standard fonts are typically the easiest to read, so make sure that your blog entries use regular fonts in normal sizes.
How does your blog look? A default template may not be the best choice for your weblog. This does absolutely nothing to set it apart from the legions of blogs on the Web. In the same way, don’t go overboard and make it as avant-garde as you can (especially if you’re the type who wears plaid with stripes).
Customize any free template with a distinctive logo, or modify the color and layout slightly. You could also hire someone who knows what to do, such as an expert blog designer. Your website’s look will go a long way.
What’s your color theory? Fluorescent yellow on a mauve background may serve to attract instant attention, while a somber white on black may be too severe. Your colors should fit your theme.
Find a middle ground for your color scheme, and base it on the subject your blog discusses and the readers that you may get. Do not use a deep crimson font on an eastern meditation site, or a dull, monochromatic background on a blog for 80’s boy bands. Try different color schemes that work well with your blog, and tweak them toward what your viewers expect.
Do you post here often? A higher frequency of adding new entries improves the probability of Googlebot visiting your site. Sporadic posting means that you lower the odds of bots stopping by and observing that you have a fresh update. Update as often as you possibly can, and you’ll have higher visibility with Google and the other search engines.
F-GD (23 March, 2009)
Easy navigation gets more clicks. If your blog is merely a section of a corporate blog located within a giant site, your entries (or your visitors) may lose their way. You should syndicate the titles of your newest entries into the sidebar of the main page so that visitors can take a gander at your blog, to boot; aside from linking your blog to the larger site’s main page.
Integrate RSS into your weblog. You may need to add RSS to yours, as numerous blog hosting systems do not have it as a default feature. Once you have your RSS, place the link in a spot that’s easy to, well, spot. Do not place the link in your ‘Contacts’ page, or at the base edge of your index. The sidebar is where visitors usually go to find such features, so place the RSS link there.
The orange RSS symbol and the standard aggregator logos are what visitors ordinarily expect. This enables them to conveniently subscribe to your blog’s feed. A viewer may skip an otherwise decent blog if it is difficult to subscribe to. Apply with a service such as FeedButton that permits you to offer many feed reader and RSS aggregator buttons through a solitary rollover.
Choose between partial feeds or full feeds. The choice depends on you and your blog’s niche. You can provide the two feeds. One advertising full feed with an RSS ad, and an ‘ad-less’ snippet feed version. Ads will not be displayed to viewers of the second feed version, although they will need to access your blog to peruse the entire entry. Base this on your inclinations, as well as your readers.
Create ‘cliffhangers’. If you use snippets with your blog’s RSS feed, make them evocative but brief. The description will entice readers to click and peruse the entire post. A lot of additional viewers could read an entry. Used properly, these blog excerpts can inspire a lot of interest and generate a large number of clicks.
Double-check your anchor text. Make proper links when linking to an earlier blog post within your site or another person’s blog entry. Link to that site with anchor text associated with the entry, such as ‘The Blacktailed GodWit – Good Eats’ versus anchor text that simply says, ‘Click Here.’
Use widgets moderately. You may be tempted to add numerous widgets to your blog due to the surfeit available. Assimilating too many of these onto your website can slow down loading time. Refrain from ‘accessorizing’ too much, even if it might add a lot of bling to your blog.
Consider loading speed. Your blog may have great content, structure, the works. If the response time is too long, your reader might have to wait longer than he or she deems necessary. You could lose your viewers if your hosting service is too slow.
A related posts plugin helps. This tool can inform your viewers of other entries within your blog that are associated with the current one. It also gives you he ability to deep-link a recent blog page to earlier articles. This plugin is useful, as it can ‘unearth’ old entries that were posted ages ago. It affords these entries better visibility with search engines. Many plugins of this type are available for different blog platforms.
Ping for blog entries. Upon posting a new article, pinging sites like FeedBurner and Technorati informs them of a fresh entry in your blog site. Pinging Google Blog Search allows quicker blog search indexing. MovableType and WordPress are blogging platforms that have an ‘automatic ping’ feature. Ping-o-Matic is another practical service, which lets you choose sites to ping quickly and easily.
Minimize your blog’s trackback and comment spam. Yahoo or Google could come across spam links on your blog site, or stumble upon bad-quality sites that were submitted by a blog spammer. A lot of tools are available on the Web for specific blogging platforms. These utilities can help control spam associated with trackbacks and comments.
Classify your posts with specific categories. After writing an article, place it in a few categories that are related to the entry. If you write an article about Paris Hilton’s My New BFF, for example, you can tag it with the terms ‘Paris Hilton’ and ‘MTV reality show.’ Placing it under vague categories, such as ‘new,’ ‘comedy,’ ‘hit,’ among others; would make it hard to find. The entry would be hard to locate within your blog site, if your blog discusses a wide variety of TV shows.
Manage your CSS. Many blogs tend to overuse CSS in their quest for a distinctive, tailor-made look. Rather than work with a blog stylist who will leave the CSS on individual pages of the template, one can utilize various built-in design templates which contain the CSS in an outside file. Situating all CSS internally can litter your pages. This can force the entry text (the page’s most significant section) deep into the HTML code, rather than right after the CSS coding.
Purchase a domain name for your site. If your free blog host decides to fold up due to one reason or another, your blog might be left high and dry. All the time and effort that goes into establishing your blog could go to waste if your blog host goes out of business. Instead of thinking about how search engines will index your blog site on another domain, create a contingency plan. A well-recognized blog needs a URL that search engines can always crawl. WordPress and Blogger permit an owner to utilize their blog services and display his own domain in place of their branded domain.
Forewarned is Fore-armed
Some bloggers may maintain that patience is a virtue – blogs will eventually hit high search ranking results after a certain amount of time. Why waste time when you can cut the waiting time drastically, and thus get bigger, faster? In the realm of blog optimization for search engines, one can encounter various obstacles. Proactivity is key here – rather than wait for the bots to come to you, be aggressive. An optimized blog will have an improved chance of surviving, and thriving, whatever comes its way.
I do have a slow hosting service, and it shows! It takes quite a while for me to navigate my blogs and it takes a long time to complete any actions on it. I surmise that this means it is slow for my visitors, too.You could lose your viewers if your hosting service is too slow.
This is entirely due to my hosting service. A friend was using the same service, had the same problems as I have, and these problems vanished when she moved to another hosting service.