Blogging has become a main form of content on the Internet today.  Companies use blogs to provide more information to their customers about their products and services.  Others use it to express their ideas via the web.  Many have built successful blogs that generate income.  Regardless of the type of blog you have, there are always things you can do to improve.  The following are 12 suggestions that can help anyone – the beginner, the business blogger, or the company who blogs.

Avoid the Standard Template

A blog, like a website, needs to be visually stimulating to be most effective.  Although you can create a standard blog and select one of the available templates, it is usually better to choose something more custom.  This usually takes more time and effort.  Sometimes it also requires the help of a graphic designer.

If you are new to the blogging world, look for downloadable templates that you can customize.  These are an inexpensive alternative, and they still provide you with something different from the standard template.  Those who blog for advertising fees should consider hiring a professional to help them customize their site.  Although this is more costly, it will result in a better overall presentation and could increase the amount of page views.  Thus, you might be able to generate more income as a result.  Finally, businesses should try to keep their blogs consistent with their website.  This helps with branding efforts.

Maximize the About Me Page

Next, every blog should have an about me page.  Some people include a lot of information on this page, while others include very little.  Generally, it is wiser to include more than less.  This is because the about me page is one of the first places a new visitor will go when they stumble across your blog.  Therefore, if you are a business, you want to use this page as an opportunity to explain the services you provide.  If you are a regular blogger, you should explain a little bit about yourself and what your blog is about.  This helps readers get to know you.  It also allows you blog to feel less formal than the average website.

Include Links to Your Favorite Blogs

As a blogger, you should have an area on your blog where you include links to your favorite blogs.  This is a great way to let your readers know about other content you are interested in reading.  In addition, it can also help you cross promote your blog.  For example, you can ask your favorite blogs if they will share a link to your blog since you are sharing a link to theirs.  This can help drive extra traffic to your site.  For businesses, the added traffic will boost sales.  Bloggers can use the added traffic to increase their ad revenue.

Asking others to share your link can be scary at first.  The following are helpful ways to approach other bloggers:

  • Comment on their blog posts

  • Communicate with them via social media

  • Attend blogging events to network

Make Social Media a Part of Your Blog

Furthermore, social media should be a part of your blog.  This allows it to reach more people, and it also gives your blog more credibility.  The following are a list of things that you should do from a social media perspective on your blog:

  • Each post should have buttons to allow the reader to link to various social media sites

  • Your social media feeds should be seen on the blog.

  • You should promote your blog posts using social media.

Also, make sure that you take advantage of every social media outlet available.  Although you may prefer one option to another, some of your readers may like the others.  Therefore, in order to capture everyone’s attention, it is important to be sure that you have all of your bases covered.

Post Frequently

In the blogging world, the more you post, the better.  It is not enough to have a blog and post once a month.  This blog is pointless.  Many companies do this with their blogs.  They do not spend the time determining what to write on their blogs.  Instead, it is left alone and never gets updated.  When this happens, no one reads it and it is a waste of space.   It is better that the company removes the blog rather than leave it up with a post from six months ago.  They look unprofessional and sloppy.  Therefore, if you want a blog, make sure you can commit to at least one post a week.

Avoid Redundancy

With that in mind, these regular posts cannot say the same thing over and over again if you want a consistent fan base.  Instead, they should be interesting and unique.  This entices people to keep visiting your blog to hear what you have to say.  Although it can be difficult to come up with unique content, try to be creative.  Read other blogs you like and determine what they are doing well.  Then try to copy their style.  For example, if they post questions and answers on occasion, maybe you should do the same.  This type of blog is different than the usual long posts.

Create a Blog Schedule

Another beneficial tool for many bloggers is a blog schedule.  This is a great way to avoid redundancy, and it helps you make better strategic decisions with your blog.  When you are planning, you should understand the goals and purpose of your blog.  Then, you should create a schedule in an effort to meet these goals.  For example, if your goal is to increase page views with your blog, make sure you posts will help you achieve this goal.  You might need to have a weekly contest or giveaway on your blog.  You could also invite guest bloggers to post.  These are simple ways to drive traffic to your blog and help you meet your goals.

When you are setting the schedule, keep in mind that it is usually best to post at a certain time each day.  Also, if you normally post once a week, avoid posting five articles the next week simply because you have a lot to say.  Instead, spread that content out over the next few weeks.  This will give you something to post about and allow you to stay consistent with your blog schedule.

Use SEO

One of the best tools to ensure that people find your blog is search engine optimization.  As a blogger, you should definitely utilize this tool to help drive traffic to your site.  You can easily do this by understanding the keywords that are popular.  However, be careful how you use them.  It is best to phrase them naturally in your blogs rather than to overuse them.  When you do this, you could discredit your blog and your posts.

Get Feedback From Someone You Trust

Since you are writing content that people will read, you might want to get feedback from someone you trust about what you are saying.  This will help you to know how you are doing.  This is particularly beneficial to someone who blogs to make money.  Most of the time, these people are their own boss.  They usually edit and critique their own work.  While this is great, a second opinion might help them take their work to the next level.

Also, if your company has a blog, make sure that you have more than one person overseeing the project.  Too often, businesses assign the job to one person in the company and never review the content that is placed on the site.  This could create liability issues and tarnish the company’s image.  It is always better to have someone review the content before it goes live – even if the blogger is well respected and trustworthy.

Take a Break

As a blogger, it is easy to suffer from writer’s block.  When this happens, take a break.  Your blog will benefit.  There is nothing worse than throwing content on your site simply because you want to post something.  It is always better to post something that is worthwhile.  Perhaps you need an hour to refresh your mind.  Plus, there are plenty of ways to overcome writer’s block very quickly, including the following:

  • Take a walk

  • Go out to eat with friends

  • Watch TV

  • Read a book

  • Browse the Internet

  • Go shopping

Do Your Research

Every post you write on your blog should be well researched.  Unless you have an opinion blog, a lack of research could cause you to lose credibility.  For businesses, they may not need to do as much research outside of their own company.  However, they should be able to provide significant facts to help their readers feel informed.  When you are researching, make sure to check multiple sites on the Internet.  You can also contact professionals for helpful information on a subject you are discussing.

Never Copy

 

Finally, never copy something online.  Although plagiarism online may not get you expelled from high school, it will cause your blog to suffer.  In fact, your blog will probably get flagged.  When this happens, it will not show up in search engines.  It is much better to read something online and create your own unique spin on it.  When you do this, you will be more satisfied and your blog will not suffer as a result.  Plus, there is really no reason to blog if all you are going to do is copy what you are seeing online.

Try one of these suggestions today.  Most of them are easy to implement, and they will greatly help you improve you blog.

header image courtesy of zengei

Author bioMark Saghy is a marketing associate with Exhibit Deal.  He is crazy about social media, blogging and small business ventures.