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Titles and keywords

It has become obvious to me that I need to write an article about the importance of keywords in blog post titles. Two day ago I elaborated about the general use of key words in blog posts. While doing that I came across the fact that keywords in the title of your blog post have an important function.

Well guess what! After that bit of information I have changed the title of that particular article three times while it was already published. It even woke me up in the middle of the night. The final title is ‘Keywords, SEO and competence’ because that is what the article is about.

The importance of blog post titles

There are a couple of rules when it comes to post titles. I have touched some basics  in a previous blog post, but there is lot more to it. I mentioned the relevance of the title to the article, the use of keywords in your title and its length. Pretty straightforward stuff. This time I like to explore the issue a little further and look into the importance of your title when it comes to search engines. In other words what are the best title and keywords to use in order to be found?

If you write about a certain topic it seems logical to let the title reflect the content of your article – either literally or metaphorically. Even more so it is desirable to choose keywords for your post title that not only reflect your content but at the same time are terms that people put in search engines to find information. Anticipating what words your readers and followers use for their search and using those words in your title and blog post is crucial for your post to be ‘visible’ and consequently climb the rankings.

Keywords, anticipation and perception

This is not as easy as it sounds. We all perceive things in different ways and use different ways to describe experiences. That’s why languages can be so rich in their vocabulary. For any word you can find several others that describe in similar ways the issue you read or write about – let alone all the words that come into existence with the emergence of new trends and technologies.

So how to know what to put in search engines if there are so many ways to describe the same thing. Furthermore how to know what words your target audience would use to search the net. And we should not forget to mention what words Google likes to search for. It’s a science in itself!

In sum,  you want to write a blog post. Your aim and purpose is to express yourself and to get an audience. Your main goal is to please the reader and not the search engine. But in order for your reader to find you, you’ll have to use words that are ‘liked’ by the search engines.  The perfect blog post title should therefore have it all! It should ideally be interesting, original, being full of inspiration and creating different perspectives while containing those keywords that actually will be ‘Googled’ by your readers in order to find you.

My immediate question is the following:

‘Is there a magic formula to ‘find out’ what keywords to use?

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How to get more traffic

Your blog is up and running, it looks gorgeous and what you write about is interesting. Everything is in place for success. So how do you get people to stop by and have a look? In other words what can you do to increase the traffic to your blog?

Interesting content – It seems logic but nevertheless it has to be mentioned. Whatever you write about or show should be interesting, original and be up to date.

Regular posts – You have to post regularly, not once a month or even once a week but more like 3 times per week. That way your followers are not overwhelmed by your stuff but will be intrigued to see what you have to say next. Nowadays people are bombarded with news on a daily base. The statistics are horrendous! So don’t overdo it but in order to stay connected with your blog readers you do have to see you on a regular base.

When I publish a blog post I usually have enough inspiration to write a couple more posts but feel that I ought to make myself useful in other areas. Before I know it is a couple of days further and I have to dig deep to get that initial inspiration back. I suppose it would be better if I let myself be guided by my drive and creativity on the spur of the moment.

By invitation – A pro-active way to get more readers is to invite them. By checking out other blogs, leaving comments and introducing yourself you may entice bloggers to have a look at your site. If they like what they see and if it is relevant to them they may become a regular visitor.

I think I am a little guilty of not looking at other blogs enough. It seems a little indulgent to just browse the net and look for interesting things to read. Well I’ll also say to myself – if you like people to read your blog, you may have to take the time to read others’!

Don’t overdo it! Your comment on someone else’s blog should not be an advertisement for your own blog. If you leave your link with your comment it should be relevant to the blogger otherwise it is the same as getting a random email to promote something. And I don’t appreciate those and very likely you don’t either!

Be creative!

Looking at other blogs – I realise I am doing it for research purposes – I came across a couple of more interactive ways of creating more traffic. Giving away something, swapping items with other bloggers and organising competitions are some of them. I like to look into this a bit more myself and maybe set something up at a later stage.

One way that appeals to me to get more readers is to ask for opinions about a certain project. For instance I am looking into making insect screens for a rental house I am currently living in. I could ask for suggestions. But that hasn’t got anything to do with blogging!

Although, anybody out there who has got some ideas?

 

 

Another angle to content….

What message do I have?

As promised I like to continue talking about content.  I am inspired by a comment one of my followers made about not being able to find enough ‘topic’ to write about. This happened to be a result of ‘the feeling of not having enough expertise’. How often does this happen and does that mean that you should not blog!

I personally believe that it depends on the kind of blog you write. What is the purpose of you writing your blog? What do you want to say, achieve and above all share? My blog is about ‘learning to blog’ – after all it is called ‘Blogexercise, the road to professional blogging’.  If I would pretend to be an expert while all I am doing is exploring the subject, I would be fooling you all.

My aim is to ‘become an expert’ by reading books, researching the web and talking to other people. I then like to compile whatever I have learned in a post for others to read and hopefully learn from as well. My main objective is to get a clear overview for myself but it is great to see that others benefit from it!

Do I have enough inspiration to keep on writing?

Another issue is ‘not having enough content’ to write about. A very successful blogger in Australia (www.problogger.com) once wrote that you should be able to write at least 30 blog posts about your topic. A good aim is to do this even before you start. If you can’t do this you may eventually run dry and have nothing to write about.

The reason you start blogging is because you have got something to say, you like to speak ‘your’ truth and talk about the way you see how things are. If you can’t do that, why would you bother!  Don’t be one of the thousands of blogs that ‘hang inactively’ in the blogosphere.

Tara Frey (www.bloggingforbliss.com) reckons that readers connect more with you if you stay faithful to your truth and as a result words come easily. And she should know as her blog gets thousands of hits per day and in 2008 ago it was was honoured Typepad Favourite Blog! Something to aim for.

How to find content……….

  • Look around and see what inspires you, irritates you, makes you happy or sad and most of all discover what is close to your heart.
  • Then do something with, discuss it, embrace it or fight it.
  • But approach it with passion and you’ll find the words will flow!

Let’s talk about content!

Well, I am still debating the domain. After all it is Christmas and I am preparing to move house next week. A lot to think about and to organise. However I did mange to meet up with my young ‘web consultant’ and we brainstormed the lay-out of my ‘future’ blog for more than 2 hours.

I am excited to say the least. I am starting to see the blog in my mind and more important I can visualise it actually happening! I still can’t reveal a name but the blog will be a global extension of my business here in Brisbane and have 5 different sections. The sections are related and will be a combination of information, “how to’s”, commentaries and pictures.

Enough about that for the moment. After the meeting yesterday I like to write about ‘content of a blog’. After all that is what it is all about. That is why people read your blog. If whatever someone writes about in a blog is not interesting, repetition or even ‘stolen’ from another site, there won’t be many readers or followers.

What is good content?

So what are the rules about content? What is good content? Is that subject to taste or are there rules out there that bloggers have to adhere to?

Apparently the ‘hottest topics’ are technological and political based.  I can relate to technology as this was my reason to start this blog about ‘Blogging’. I wanted  to blog but had very little ‘clue’ about the subject.  Nevertheless I decided to start while exploring, researching and learning about it. And it works because for every blog post I publish I have to spend time reading, searching and compiling information. The result is that I am learning heaps. I was told yesterday that I knew quite a bit about the whole blogging thing already. Made me feel proud!

It’s all about simplifying…

One thing came up during my meeting. We talked about simplifying and I suddenly realised that that is what I really want to achieve. That is exactly what “Blogexercise’ is about – to simplify this enormous amount of stuff that is available on-line. Nobody has time to sift through it all and make sense out of it.

Then what is more valuable if there is someone out there that does this for you as a reader. My ‘future blog’ aims to do that within the topics I will write about. Because let’s be honest,  with millions of blogs already out there, it has to be different!  Otherwise it will be ‘old hat’!  An award-winning blogger calls it “to become the filter” for your readers (www.andywibbels.com). You as a blogger providing  a ‘ready-to-read’- summary.

While elaborating about this topic  I realise there is a lot more to say about what contributes to ‘good content’. As I am not an advocate of very long posts – by the way, there seems to be something to say about that as well – I am going to dig a little deeper and continue another day.

For now have a wonderful New Year and considering that, I realise that my next post very likely will be written in 2012! 

Time to reflect….

How am I going?

I am thrilled to see that I get the occasional ‘like’ and even followers for my blog. It shows that someone is reading it. Great feeling but more important at this stage is that I have an outlet to put my thoughts, feelings, elaborations, ideas and what more on paper. The more I write, re-read my own posts and think about it, the clearer the picture gets of what my ‘future’ blog will look like and what it is about.

Business plan as a blog

Doing this blog as an exercise is like writing a ‘business plan’ while I am already ‘kind of’ doing the business. Quite a luxury as it does not cost me anything and I can’t lose money. But I get to practice!  

So far I am happy with what I have learned and philosophised about but as I look at the actual lay-out of my blog posts I have to admit that I haven’t spend much time on the technical aspects. I have not even added categories. My categories are uncategorised. I am a little ashamed to say that I don’t really know how to do that.

A friend of my daughter is venturing into web design and knows quite a bit about blogs, platforms, design and coding. She is only 18 by the way. She is willing to meet up with me and discuss how to make my future blog look ‘pretty’ as she describes it herself. I may have to consult her as well for ‘Blogexercise’. Just to find out what possibilities I have with this blog in WordPress.com.

Time to get the domain name!

One thing I will do next week is to buy my domain. I have brainstormed, debated, discussed with trustworthy people and even dreamt about what name to register. I need to keep my options open as I have aspirations for 5 blogs that cover various topics but are all related. The bottom line is that the name has to be applicable to all aspects.  It also has to be quirky, fun and ideally show what the blogs are about.

I am not asking too much, am I?

I think I have something and I am happy to make it official. When that is done, there is nothing to stop me to start the real blog and my meeting next week with my daughter’s friend will fit in the schedule perfectly. What a great way to start the New Year. Not only a resolution but also an action plan. I feel inspired…

I won’t make it too long today. After all it is Christmas. Maybe not where all of you are but where I am it is and it time for breakfast and presents!

A Merry Christmas to all my readers and followers!

 

How to get more structure and clarity!

I feel that I am getting closer to laying down the building blocks for my ‘real’ blog. In case you wonder, my real blog is my future professional blog, the one with the domain name, hosting and a flexible platform. The one about the topics close to my heart, the one that will support my business and where I like to attract advertising. In order to develop such a blog I have started ‘Blogexercise’ as a test blog.

Why not start writing and learn on the job?

Starting with a test blog has its benefits. It forces you to write content, it makes you think about how you want your blog to look and it motivates you to research things you want to blog about. It also enforces you to be ‘online’. Suddenly your stuff is out there in the blogosphere and it is public. Readers can comment, criticise and support you.

Some bloggers fall in the trap of feeling the need to change their writing style to appeal to their followers. This defeats the purpose as the reason they got followers is because of what they have published and not of what they think they ‘ought’ to write. So changing writing style to ‘suit’ may lead to people not liking what they read and stop being a follower.

A blog post is an extension of you as a writer and should therefore be natural and almost like a ‘conversation’. It is your chance to be ‘real’ and to be ‘yourself’. It is your voice!

It is a bizarre feeling to write something and to post it. You may not get any comments or reactions for a while and still people may read what you have written. It is anonymous and yet not… It is a thrill to suddenly see that you have followers and that people express that they like what you wrote.

What is your role as a writer?

With this in mind and speaking from my recent ‘experience’ I recommend prospective bloggers to start writing. It may help you to learn about your writing style and to experiment with the roles you like to have. Will you be writing as a reviewer, an educator or as a researcher? Or do you just want to have a good old rant! You could be very witty and your style could best suit an entertainer.

I like several of those roles and I have not decided yet what my ‘forte’ is. Maybe I can be more than one. I like to educate people – several of my past occupations and businesses have educated my clients. I thrive on that and it makes me feel fulfilled. I also like to review things and ‘tell the world’ if I am enthusiastic about something I did or have seen.

A review can also be negative and become a critique and even a ‘rant’. We all know the rippling effect of a bad review. We apparently tell 2 people when we are positive, but we tell 10 people when we are unhappy with a service or product.

A negative review on a blog could potentially be read by hundreds of people. Imagine the power of that….