5 Must-Do Tips for a New Blogger
Ever since we launched blogs.nd.edu, we’ve had a slew of new signups. Many of these are new bloggers, and they’re eager to get going. But they don’t always know the tips and tricks that can help a new blog gain traction amongst the millions of other blogs in the world.
Here are my five tips for a new blogger who wants to catch on.
1. Name your blog well.
By “well” I mean informative, memorable, and search-engine-friendly. My blog name is grundyhome.com, which doesn’t mean squat to anyone else. But when I became serious about blogging, I decided a tagline was needed – “web marketing in higher ed.” Ideally, I would have started with a domain name that included some of these keywords in the URL itself.
2. Craft Good Blog Post Titles
Titles should accomplish three things:
Attract readers with an interesting title – a question (“How can you accomplish ______?”), a challenge (“Secrets of a Successful _______”), or a list (“5 Must-Do Tips for a New Blogger”).
Attract search engines by including keywords that you want associated with your blog. A blog about neuropsychology should have titles with keywords related to that field. Search engines put a lot of emphasis on the title of a page or post.
Be informative about the post content. If you wanted clicks, you could always just title your posts “the latest dirt on Lindsey Lohan!!!!1” and some people would click through. But if your post is about peacebuilding in Africa, you’ll draw the wrong audience (and they’ll be disappointed, too).
3. Search-friendly URLs
Go to one of your blog posts and look at your URL bar at the top of the browser. If it looks like this…
…then you’re missing an easy opportunity. For this post, my URL will be something like…
…which includes any keywords that I made sure to include in my title. This is an easy thing on most blog platforms – it’s in your Settings area.
(In Wordpress, it’s under Settings > Permalinks, and I always choose “Day and Name” or “Month and Name”.)
4. Keep Comments On, Comment Spam Off
Users who comment care enough to be engaged and influenced by your content. And conversations are the difference between a blog and a plain ol’ website. If you’re afraid of negative comments, you can configure them to require approval before they show up on the site. It’s not that much work, and the value is worth it.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of spammers trying to use your blog to their advantage and you’ll begin to see junk coming through your comments. Use Akismet to prevent spam – there’s a great Akismet plugin for Wordpress to make it easy to use.
5. Full Content in your Feed
Most blogs offer the choice between publishing feeds with your full article content or just showing an excerpt (forcing users to click through). Many new bloggers think, “Great, people will have to click through to read the story!” The reality is far more depressing. Rather than reading your content because it’s conveniently flowing into their feed reader, they’ll read your headline and excerpt and move on. Don’t be so arrogant as to believe that users will click through.
What else should you know?
Whether or not you’re new to blogging, there’s always more to learn. Here are some resource I recommend for new bloggers: