When I was first married, I wasn't much of a cook. I relied on recipes for almost every meal. Following the simple structure resulted in some pretty tasty meals. In a way blogging is a bit like cooking. There is a a simple recipe for great business blog posts. The recipe looks like this.
1 Keyword (or phrase)
500 Words of Content
70 Characters in Your Title
2 Internal Links
1 Number in Your Title
Start with one keyword or phrase - Decide what you want to write about and keep your blog focused on that topic. I often see business owners shoving too many keywords into a post. Your readers can tell when you are keyword stuffing. So can search engines. Readers won't stay with you until the end of the post.
If you have several keywords you want to write about, that's great. Now you have topics for two or three different posts.
Mix in 500 words - Just a few years ago you could get away with writing a short 250 - 300 word blog post. That won't fly any more. These ultra short posts don't offer real depth for the reader or enough keyword density to attract the attention of search engines. Google actually penalizes sites that have too many pages of thin content.
This isn't high school. You don't need to let word count drive the post or your web copy. If you are below the 500 mark do a little research and expand on your topic with relevant information.
Sprinkle in a few links to add spice - Once someone finds your content, your objective should be to get them to look around your site for more information. Internal links and calls to action like the one below help readers find related content.
There is value in external links which connect to other relevant sites. When you use external links be sure to include trackback tags to allow the destination site to know you are sending traffic their way. They may even return the favor!
Don't overdo it, though. You don't want to overwhelm your readers with a confusing amount of choices. They may forget why they came to your site to begin with.
Season with no more than 70 characters in your title - While the length restriction may seem arbitrary, there are two very important reasons to keep the title short:
Search engines will truncate your title. You may have an incredibly clever headline, but searchers will only see the first few words. Make sure your keywords appear early in the title
Hoping to use social media to promote your post? Users only have 140 characters to work with on Twitter. A short title and short link are much easier to share and retweet without sacrificing content.
Top the post off with some numbers in the title - There is something alluring about the promise to solve a problem in 3 easy steps. While your reader probably knows you won't give them all the answers, we know blog posts with numbers in the title get more traffic. You wouldn't put whipped cream on everything you cook, so don't use this technique in every blog post. Implementing this tip in moderation can give your traffic a nice lift.
New cooks usually follow recipes step by step. Experienced cooks are more comfortable experimenting. As you get more comfortable with blogging don't be afraid to mix it up. Try a short post or a really long one with 1,000 or more words. Study your analytic reports for clues as to what really hits home with your readers.
Good blogging takes time, just like good cooking. Spend it well by creating smart, interesting, funny or thought-provoking content to build a community of loyal, entrenched readers. You'll have them coming back for seconds every time.
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