For those of you who want to take blogging to the next level, here’s a few advanced tips. If you’re just starting out, you may wish to read my 10 blogging tips for beginners by clicking here.
TIP #1: Define your objectives.
Before you start blogging and certainly before your start each blog post, think about why you are doing this, and what you want to accomplish.
Your goals should be S.M.A.R.T – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and set to a practical Time frame.
Consider what you want/need the audience to do? And in turn always provide clear calls-to-action:
- Click the link?
- “like” your page?
- Write a comment?
TIP #2: Own your Brand
While there are benefits to working within free blogging tools, if you’re serious about developing your own personal or professional brand it’s worth investing in a dedicated domain name; hosting; and quality CMS.
It’s also worth investing the time in signing-up for all the major social media platforms and securing accounts for your brand.
TIP #3: Get serious about your Social Integration
For more advanced Bloggers, who want to tailor their content for a more personalized experience, integrate social sign-in. This allows for seamless social sharing. According to Gigya,
Users who are logged into a site via social sign-on are likely to view more pages and spend more time on site than users who have either a standard login or are not logged in at all.
TIP #4: Use a Social Media Dashboard and scheduling tool
While I don’t believe in 100% automation, using a social media management system such as HootSuite Pro helps bloggers maintain a consistent frequency by planning and scheduling content calendars. This frees up time to be responsive to community conversations and be more topical with adhoc/real-time content.
Not only do such dashboards help you manage all your major social media networks from one tool, it can consolidate your analytics.
TIP #5: Quality Back linking
More sophisticated SEO strategies include back-linking between your site and quality sources. Content that is not originally your own, should always be attributed to it’s creator and this can also help improve your search engine ranking, particularly if you are linking to trusted, credible sources.
Don’t be afraid to cross-link between your own blog’s posts and pages. Create dedicated FAQs and glossaries to link complex or technical information that will allow readers to continue uninterrupted through your paragraphs or explore more comprehensive detail.
Before publishing, convert your links into trackable (typically shortened) URLs, so you can see which links are the most popular and effective. While I recommend bit.ly for those who do not have an established social media dashboard with built-in link tracker, Ow.ly is HootSuite’s link shortener and provides similar data to that of bit.ly.
After you have shortened and embedded you links always check them, after all, don’t you just love it when you get all excited about clicking a link and it leads you no where!? It’s frustrating and not the best impression.
TIP #6: Collaboration
As I discussed in more detail in my blog series “How to Use Social Media to Promote Thought Leadership”(Article 9), collaboration can be an effective way to build your following, credibility and reach, as it:
- Exposes you to the guest bloggers’ sphere of influence
- Provides a different perspective to a common issue
- Demonstrates you’re open to engagement and encouraging the conversation through multiple voices.
What’s your blog about? Contact the experts in the field and invite them to contribute to your blog.
TIP #7: Change the Mode
If you want to maintain a long-term connection with your followers, but in a more reliable format, create an eNewsletter and integrate your electronic direct marketing (eDM) subscription into your blog site. I highly recommend MailChimp – for so many reasons, but mainly because:
- It’s so user-friendly
- provides amazing insights into your audience and the effectiveness of your eDM; and
- It’s free up to 2000 subscribers
TIP #8: Mitigate Risk
Now that you’ve established your blog and you’re starting to get comments (and no doubt SPAM) it’s important to protect yourself legally. Publish House Rules or Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) on your website that stipulate how you expect your community to behave in your comments/forums. This can be used to not only discourage those who intend to misbehave from the outset, but can be used to provide guidance over why you have removed offending comments from your site.
While blogging is the quintessential example of the democratisation of the internet and you no doubt want others to share their opinion, T&Cs can help ward off trolls and in the most extreme scenario demonstrate to a court of law that you took serious measures to protect your online assets and your community. Contact me if you require guidance in developing comprehensive House Rules/T&Cs.
Google Alerts are another free Google tool that can help you mitigate against risk. Alerts help you keep an eye on your online reputation across the world-wide-web. You can freely program the tool to send alerts to you via email whenever it discovers a mention of a keyword or specified keyword string. You can set these up for your personal and professional brands, your competitors and even your precious content. Worst-case, they help protect your posts from being stolen or scraped, but for less invidious reasons, it will help you track where your content is being spoken about, so you can jump-in and join the conversation.
TIP #9: Mix it Up!
Blogs don’t have to be all text, text, text. Find new and creative ways to invite multimedia into the mix.
When you collaborate – record the interview as a podcast or video. Record your Google Hangouts (Google Air) and embed the YouTube hosted footage.
— Natalee-Jewel Kirby (@NataleeJewel) January 22, 2014
Create an interactive experience for your readers by embedding Tweets for a social mashup!
Make your contributions visually appealing and fun!
TIP #10 Monetize your Blog
Think about what products could compliment your blog.
Explore sites such as Commission Junction, Amazon or Clickbank to see how you can earn cash for promoting other people’s products and services.
- When you’re surfing the web and buying online yourself take note (typically at the bottom) of the suppliers’ website for an “affiliate” or “partner” link. Investigate the terms and conditions and see if they’ll work for you.
- Place a banner add on your blog saying “advertise here!” with a trackable link to your contact details.
Be picky – make sure what you advertise is relevant to your audience.
When it comes to affiliate marketing… don’t give up your day job! It’s not going to make you rich overnight. It takes time to build a community and trust within that community. Don’t take advantage of the faith others put in your recommendations. Only provide endorsements for products you, yourself would use.
Track your inks and payments, and as always… measure, adapt and measure.
I wish you the very best in your blogging ventures!
If you have any points you’d like to add, share your wisdom by leaving a comment below.