Top Ten Ways to Build a Better Blog by Herman Drost

If you've been blogging for some time it's easy to get comfortable and avoid or delay improving your blog. Think about how much time you put into it each week. If you add new content three times a week throughout the year that is a large investment of time and effort. Instead of simply continuing along the same path look for ways to build a better blog. You'll attract more visitors, generate more traffic and make more sales.

Top ten ways to build a better blog:

1. Design

Is your current design looking old and not so professional? Perhaps you obtained a free theme when you first built it then customized it a little to suit the subject of your niche. Upgrade your current design by purchasing a professional theme or getting a custom design. Most professional themes have been strongly optimized for the search engines and contain clean code so they load quickly.

2. Search Engine Optimization

Search engines use your blog post titles as links back to your website so make sure you include your keywords in them. Write a captivating description for your description meta tag because it appears under the title in the search engines. It will decide whether a visitor will visit your blog. Make sure you also include keywords throughout your content.

3. Link Building

If you want your blog posts to rank well in the search engines link related posts together (internal linking) and get backlinks from other web properties e.g. article directories, blogs, forums, social media sites. If your content answers people's most pressing problems they'll bookmark your site and keep returning. This helps build a community of followers.

4. Create a blog calendar

Sometimes you'll get stuck what to write about. Make a schedule how often you'll blog and what to blog about. For instance if you blog three times a week, the first post could be a latest news story in your industry, the second a helpful tip and the third an informative article. By breaking the content down this way you won't feel pressure to always write a new article for every post.

5. Spice up your content

Instead of always writing text introduce photos and videos to spice up your content. A photo makes your post look attractive and captures visitor's attention. Some people prefer to watch and listen rather than read the content. It also keeps them longer on the page which is one of Google's ranking factors.

6. Build a list

Most people who visit your blog won't return. Add an opt-in form to the sidebar of your blog to capture their name and email address. Offer to download a free report to motivate them to subscribe. Sign up for a professional autoresponder service so you can store and manage your contacts in an online database.

7. Promote your products

Use your autoresponder to send a series of follow-up messages to the people on your list. At the bottom on each email message include a link to your product sales page. Once you've got this set up you'll be able to generate sales on autopilot.

Another way to promote your own product is to write a blog post about it then include a link to your product at the end of your content. Also consider placing an ebook graphic in your sidebar.

8. Traffic generation

Traffic is the lifeblood of your blog. There are 1000s of abandoned blogs on the Net because people gave up or they failed to attract enough traffic to remain motivated. Focus on one traffic method at a time and master it before trying another. For example I use article marketing to build links and drive traffic to my blog. I also make sure I optimize every blog post I write so it will rank in the search engines for specific keywords.

9. Share your content

Make it easy for visitors to share your content with others by prominently displaying social media and RSS feed icons on your blog. This enables visitors to add your RSS feed to their RSS readers (i.e. Google reader), "Tweet" and "Like" your posts and bookmark your content. Make sure you comment on related blogs and link back to your own.

10. Monitor your statistics

Most web hosting plans include statistics that show how many visitors you receive each month, where they are coming from and what keywords they are using to find your blog. Set a goal to increase your traffic each month. For instance if you currently receive 2000 visitors every month make a goal to increase it by 1000 visitors every 3 months so you'll have an extra 4000 visitors by the end of the year.

If you take action on these top 10 ways to build a better blog you'll attract more visitors, build a large email list and sell more products.

Herman Drost is the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) owner and author of Affordable Web Site Design and Low Cost Web Hosting. Download a copy of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog

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