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Hi! I’m Lori Ballen and I’ve been blogging since AOL first said: “You’ve Got Mail”. I know, I know! In this guide, I’ll share my top blogging tips to help you grow your blog. Set yourself up for blog success right here while learning how to build, grow, and monetize a blog.
The more you can niche down to a very specific topic and audience, the better you can do with blogging. You’ll be able to create the right product and message for that particular audience.
In addition, you move out of the heavy competition and into a more spacious landscape in which to grow your blog. One example is what I did with my Las Vegas real estate team.
As much as I wanted to teach everyone how marketing could grow their business, I started with real estate agents because I was also a licensed agent.
Here, you can learn more about creating a niche for your blog.
Write blog posts that answer questions people search answers for on Google.
A very popular strategy today in the blogosphere is writing answers to popular questions. Head over to Google and start typing in a question related to your niche. You’ll notice Google gives you a box of frequently asked questions related to that question.
Then, look at the answers. You’ll notice many of the top-ranking websites in the question-and-answer space are blogs. You can generate search engine rankings and traffic answering questions in your niche.
If you aren’t sure what questions people in your niche ask, visit AnswerThePublic.com and type in a question. When you see the results (a wheel), click on the data tab to see the questions in list form. Depending on your topic and how often you blog, you could have enough questions to answer for a year or years!
Learn how to create a frequently asked questions section on any blog post here. Choose the right web hosting service to build your blog on.
Create long-form content that can rank on the search engines.
What is long-form content?
Where it comes to blogging, long-form content is frequently 1200 to thousands of words on a single post. It’s a topic that is covered in-depth and is most often a comprehensive guide.
Use Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog.
Include rich media in your blog posts including photos, videos, charts, infographics, and interactive tools. While the Pinterest algorithm can be tough to figure out, bloggers are still using the platform at a high level to generate traffic to their blog.
Keep your domain name short.
A blog title may contain 70-100 words, but the URL should be your top-level domain and 2-3 keywords in the slug. You do not need to have specific, exact match keywords in your name in order to rank on Google. While that was effective at one time, it no longer packs the punch it once did.
Click here to learn more about registering a great domain name.
Create properly sized graphics.
Using the same size canvas for your blog photos each time will help keep your blog archive pages (category pages) nicely organized.
Some themes look good with blog images that are 800 x 800. This is especially true for those blogs that integrate a shop with a platform using something like WooCommerce.
You can also use the WordPress Plugin regenerate thumbnails to resize your thumbnails.
Choose quality over quantity
There was once a time when we bloggers would publish daily. The top ranking signal with Google was freshness. The more we published, even if the quality suffered, the better we ranked.
This isn’t true today.
Take Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms into consideration, and you’ll realize they all are rewarding quality.
While the consistency of publishing is important, it’s truly the quality of the published content that makes the biggest difference in your blog traffic.
Learn more about creating quality content here.
Revive older posts
Keep your blog posts current. Update them as needed and promote them frequently on social media. I spend time in my WordPress dashboard refreshing older content. I sort the content by oldest published date first and start there. I open the blog, update as needed, and then change the date to the current date before hitting publish.
With a tool like Tailwind, you can schedule a variety of pin images to promote a single piece of content over time.
View more social media tools here.
Optimize your blog posts for both the reader and the search engines.
As a blogger, you might want to search engine optimize (SEO) your blog post to increase the odds of it ranking on Google. While that’s fine, it’s important to also optimize the article for the reader.
This includes using clear fonts, a lot of white space, a table of contents and back to top button so they can move around the content, and rich media such as images and video.
In this video about writing a blog post on WordPress, I cover SEO as well as writing in a format that pleases the visitor.
Optimize for Featured Snippets
So what is a featured Snippet?
A featured snippet is the top earned in position on Google. Some people refer to it as the zero position. It’s at the top of page one of Google above the question box, but usually below the sponsored ads.
It can be a video, an image, a list, a table, or even a simple answer to a question. It’s featured on the top of page one and most often includes a link to the website.
Here’s a great place for you to learn more about Google’s featured snippets, structured data, and schema.
Do topic Research, not “keyword” research
Use a research tool like SEMrush to find more opportunities for your own blog by studying the success of another website. When you use competitive research tools like SEMrush, you can discover which topics are popular by reverse-engineering the competitor’s rankings.
You can also research a topic by entering a keyword and then exploring frequently asked questions as well as long-tail keyword phrases that help you drill down and discover under served topics for your niche.
Include an author box
It’s important to show the expertise of the writer. If you have a guest blogger, that is an expert, including a bio can help with the “expertise” portion of E-A-T which is important to Google.
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust. You can learn more about that and other SEO methods by reading my comprehensive SEO guide for bloggers.
Consider hiring a ghostwriter
You may need a ghostwriter to help with your website content when you need someone that covers a particular topic. If you are building a niche website or affiliate marketing-focused website, writers can be great leverage and help you build faster.
Be careful with the process though. Not all content brokers are the same. I’ve been impressed lately with Buy, Sell, Text as well as Writer Access. Writer Access has a membership fee though, so I’ve been working with Buy, Sell, Text for about 4 cents per word.
They can be helpful when I want to cover specific software product reviews, or even articles for my travel blog or Keto diet website.
Set the proper social media size images.
If you are using a plugin like Yoast SEO, you can edit the image sizes. You might also want to consider a WordPress plugin that allows you to load the correct size image for each platform.
Check out Social Snap for easy to set, properly sized images.
Break up heavy blocks of text
Nobody wants to read a massive “wall” of text. The hard-to-read text is especially a problem with mobile devices. Break up sentences with white space, images, video, separators and check visibility on mobile devices.
Use WordPress Gutenberg blocks to create and save blocks for easy reuse. Page builders like Elementor and Thrive Architect also have visually pleasing formats if you are willing to learn how to use them.
Make Money with Affiliate Marketing
If you have brands or products that you refer to often in your blogs, you might be able to make money by linking them. When someone makes a qualified purchase within the set time frame after clicking on your link, you can earn a commission.
This is called, affiliate marketing. You apply to the brand’s affiliate program to get your links. There are affiliate networks such as ShareASale, CJ.com, Viglink, and more that house thousands of brands. You can also approach the brand directly.
I earn 6-figures annually in affiliate marketing. While Youtube is a stronger source for me there than blogging, it all works sometimes.
Here, you can read my Affiliate Marketing Guide for Beginners.
Be smart about your internal linking strategy.
Internal linking helps create relationships between pages for Google and allows your visitor to navigate to more pages that are appropriate.
So what is Internal Linking?
Internal linking is the act of creating a link from one page on your own website to another page on your website. It’s often created by hyperlinking a set of words that form a phrase related to another article on your blog. You see those on this page in blue.
Learn more about the power of creating internal links here.
Create Evergreen content
While it might seem fun to be a newscaster and be on top of the hottest moments, keeping up with that kind of content can be daunting. In addition, once the news has passed, your content becomes stale. This is why evergreen content is so powerful for a blog.
So what is evergreen content?
Evergreen content is generally created to be relevant for a long time. It’s an article or guide that will be tried and true for years. Although it may require modest updating, it shouldn’t require a complete overhaul and rarely would need to be deleted due to irrelevance.
- 10 Things to do with your real estate website: Evergreen!
- 10 things to do this Sunday if it snows: NOT evergreen!
Learn more about creating evergreen content here.
Build an email list.
Contrary to popular opinion, email is not dead and is still a powerful way to reach the audience that wants to hear from you and your blog. Email is my top sales generator for my Ballen Academy courses and paid events. It’s not complicated.
Take a look at Constant Contact or ConvertKit if you need a “starter” style program. Keap, in my opinion, is pretty advanced and more expensive. I use it as I have multiple businesses and a very large list and need the robust features KEAP offers.
Add a FAQ section to your blog posts.
If you are using WordPress, you can add YOAST seo which offers you a Gutenberg content block for FAQs. If your blog post ranks, you may notice a rich snippet with these FAQs offered in a drop-down on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Click here to learn more about adding a FAQ using the YOAST SEO Plugin.
Improve your Headlines
Improve your headlines to increase the click-through rate on both search and social engines.
Use Google Search Console and submit a sitemap.
Your SEO Plugin for WordPress can help with submitting your sitemap. If you are using YOAST SEO, you can find instructions for submitting a sitemap to Google here. [This is a video tutorial].
23. Create a compelling intro to your blog that can also be used as the “excerpt” and meta-description.
24. Create “Link-Worthy” content that other websites would want to refer to.
25. Supplement the written blog with a video blog hosted on Youtube.
25. Create fresh content frequently, but only as frequently as you can also create quality. We no longer create content for the sake of creating content. It must be valuable.
26. Make Money with your blog by allowing Google to run ads (Google Adsense). You can also choose a platform like Ezoic for your ads.
27. Take your own pictures or use copyright-free images. Canva Pro has free pro images and images for .00.
29. Be consistent with content creation
30. Don’t quit 5 minutes before the miracle happens.