9 Tips For Creating A Blog

September 7th, 2013      Alvin Chadwick

Blog

Starting your own blog can be fun but it is also tedious work as time goes on. Despite the hard work that you will have to put in to your blog, blogging does come with it’s benefits if you stick around with your blog long enough. You can network with new people and eventually make money off of your blog. Many people like to blog about their personal lives while others like to create a niche blog. Regardless of whether you have a personal blog or a niche blog, here are nine tips that you should follow when creating your blog:

Can You Commit?

Before you even create your blog and purchase the domain name, you should ask yourself whether you can actually commit to your blog or not for long term. Some people may have a good blog idea in mind so they buy a good domain name and a good theme and then a week later they never touch that blog again because their lives are so busy. Well, if that’s you and your life is too busy to work on your blog daily then you will either need to reserve time for your blog or wait until you have more free time to start a blog. How much time that you put in to work on your blog each day will determine whether you succeed or fail in the long run. And we all want to succeed, right?

Domain Name

The next tip for creating your blog is picking a good domain name. If you are creating a personal blog then you should use your full name, a nickname, or something random as your domain name. If you are creating a niche blog then you should include the keywords of your niche inside of your domain name. For instance, if your blog is about health care then you would want the keywords “health care” somewhere in your domain name as doing so can provide you with great SEO benefits.

WordPress vs. Blogger

If you are going to create a blog then I would strongly suggest that you use WordPress. There is nothing wrong with Blogger but WordPress has a ton of great plugins and themes that you can choose from. If you are going to use WordPress then you should find a good web hosting provider such as GoDaddy, BlueHost, or Host Gator to host your blog. Or you can use WordPress.com for free but you will still have to pay for a domain name. On the other hand, the benefits of using Blogger is that it’s free unless you buy a domain name along with your blog. Furthermore, with Blogger, you don’t have to worry much about SEO and it’s easier to get accepted into Google AdSense with a Blogger blog.

Find A Good Theme

The next tip for creating a blog is to find a good theme. Picking a good theme and layout is the very first thing that you should do after creating your blog and buying a domain name. Studies have shown that bloggers who use a good theme are more likely to succeed in the long run. Another reason to have a good theme is that your blog will look and feel more attractive to your readers when the theme is right.

Have Goals

Now that you’ve got your blog setup, you should write down a list of goals. What do you plan to accomplish six months from now or a year? Do you want to make money off of your blog or have a ton of visitors? Writing down goals can help motivate you to work harder for a better future. And if you fail to achieve your goals, you can reflect upon what you did wrong and how you can improve. Read my article on Why Having Goals Is Important.

Create A Schedule

You should create a schedule stating what you are going to do each & every week for your blog. Your schedule should include how often you are going to post new articles, how often you are going to do guest posts, create backlinks, market on social media, etc. If you have a good schedule and you truly follow it then you will be more likely to succeed in blogging. Some bloggers will tend to procrastinate from time to time and that’s okay but the ones who don’t procrastinate are more likely to achieve their goals. Read my article on Why Having A Schedule Is Important.

Learn SEO & Blog Promotion

If you want anyone to read your blog then you are going to have to learn SEO & ways to promote your blog. This can save you time & money from having to outsource this work. Even if you aren’t that tech savvy and don’t know much about the internet, it doesn’t hurt to attempt to learn how to properly optimize your blog for search engines & how to effectively market your blog. Read my article on 6 SEO Tips For Your BlogWhy You Need To Learn SEO5 Free Ways To Promote Your Website, and Driving Traffic To A New Website.

Read Other Blogs

Take some time out of your day to read other blogs that are successful. Learning off of successful people is a great way to become one. You don’t have to spend all day doing this, maybe just reserve 30 minutes a day reading and commenting on other blogs. Trust me, when you are just starting out as a blogger, checking out other blogs will definitely help you learn a lot of great information that you need to know. You can also learn ideas & techniques that you can implement into your own blog.

Don’t Give Up

The last and most important tip is to never give up! You will never know the outcome of things if you don’t try! Even if you aren’t seeing any results with your blog in it’s first few weeks, keep on going. If you work hard and relentlessly then eventually you will start seeing improvement. Think about it this way, every tree in the forest didn’t start out tall, they all started out as seeds in the ground and took decades to grow. The same apples to your blog, your blog is a little seed in the ground. Nobody but you has ever heard of or seen your blog but as time goes on, things will start to change and your blog will grow up into a nice and tall tree in the forest. It will take a lot of hard work and patience to get there but the sun shines brightest to those who rise to the top.

Alvin Chadwick

Alvin Chadwick is an Internet Marketer, Blogger, and Programmer. He started this blog on April 1st, 2013. The reason that he started this blog is to help other people in the industry of blogging and internet marketing succeed. He is here to help you reach your goals by bringing you high quality articles which is why you should continue to read his blog.

10 SEO Techniques All Top Web Sites Should Use

10 SEO Techniques All Top Web Sites Should Use
Posted November 5, 2008 in Tools/Resources, Web Design

We recently discussed the 15 Key Elements All Top Web Sites Should Have. This post focused on elements relating to design, content and development. This time, we’ll move onto the important issue of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
SEO is such a hot topic these days. How do you get your web site within the first page or two of the search engines? How do you increase your Google page rank?
There are companies who dedicate themselves full time to doing SEO at a pretty penny. Something a lot of people can’t necessarily afford to pay for or spend the time on.
However, there are some simple things you can do when building your site that will help increase your chances of having good results. In no particular order, below are 10 of these items…

1. Title Tag

Near the very top of a web site’s source code you’ll find various meta tags — the standard ones being the Title, Description and Keyword tags. The title tag is technically not a meta tag, though it is commonly associated with them. The title tag plays such a large role in the indexing of your web site, that it is considered the most important of the three.

A page title is the first thing a search engine will look at when determining just what the particular page is about. It is also the first thing potential visitors will see when looking at your search engine listing.

It’s important to include a keyword or two in the title tag — but don’t go overboard – you don’t want to do what’s known as “keyword stuffing” which does nothing but make your web site look like spam. Most people will include either the company name, or title of the particular page here, as well.

2. Meta Tags

There are two primary meta tags in terms of SEO — the description and the keyword tag. It’s debatable whether the search engines use the description tag as far as ranking your results. However it is one of the more important tags because it is listed in your search result — it is what users read when your link comes up and what makes them decide whether or not to click on your link.

Be sure to include a few relevant keywords in this tag, but don’t stuff it with keywords either. The description tag should read like a sentence — not a keyword list.

Due to “keyword stuffing” many search engines now completely disregard the keyword tag. It is no longer nearly as important as it was years ago, however it doesn’t hurt to include them in your source code.

When creating your keyword list, you’ll want to think of the specific terms people will type in when searching for a site like yours. Just don’t go overboard — too many duplicates are not a good thing (as in “web designer” “web designers” “custom web designer” “html web designer” “your state here web designer” – you get the idea). Those are all basically the same, so pick one or two variations at the most and move onto the next keyword.

3. Proper Use of Heading Tags

This is a very important element to consider when writing out your site copy. Use of heading tags helps users, web browsers and search engines alike know where the major key points of your copy are.

Your main page title should use the <h1> tag — this shows what your page is about. Use of additional tags, such as <h2> and <h3> are equally important by helping to break down your copy. For one, you’ll see a visual break in the text. But as far as the search engines are concerned, it will automatically know what your topics are on a page. The various heading tags give a priority to the content and help index your site properly.

4. Alt Attributes on Images

Putting alt attributes on your images actually serves two purposes. In terms of SEO, putting a brief yet descriptive alt attribute along with your image, places additional relevant text to your source code that the search engines can see when indexing your site. The more relevant text on your page the better chance you have of achieving higher search engine rankings.

In addition, including image alt attributes help the visually impaired who access web sites using a screen reader. They can’t see the image, but with a descriptive alt attribute, they will be able to know what your image is.

5. Title Attributes on Links

Including title attributes on links is another important step that any good web site will have. That’s the little “tool tip” that pops up when you place your mouse over a link. These are especially important for image links, but equally useful for text links.

As a note, you should use descriptive text for your links. “Click here” doesn’t really tell a person – or more importantly, the search engines — what the link is. At the very least put a title tag that will explain that “Click Here” really means “Web Design Portfolio” for example. Better yet – make the main link text something like “View my web design portfolio” — this will give some value to the link showing that the resulting page is relevant to searches for portfolio’s.

6. XML Sitemap

My last post referenced the sitemaps used by web visitors to help them navigate through your site themselves. However, there’s another version — XML sitemaps — that are used by the search engines in order to index through your site, as well.

This list of ALL pages / posts / etc. of your site also includes information such as the date the page was last modified, as well as a priority number of what you feel the most important pages of your sites are. All elements that help the search engines properly find and link to all content of your site.

7. Relevant Content

Having content relevant to your main page or site topic is perhaps the most important SEO aspect of a page. You can put all the keywords you want in the meta tags and alt image tags, etc — but if the actual readable text on the page is not relevant to the target keywords, it ends up basically being a futile attempt.

While it is important to include as many keywords in your page copy as possible, it is equally as important for it to read well and make sense. I’m sure we’ve all seen keyword stuffed pages written by SEO companies that honestly don’t make much sense from the reader’s point of view.

When creating your site copy, just write naturally, explaining whatever information you’re discussing. The key is to make it relevant, and to have it make sense to the reader. Even if you trick the search engines into thinking your page is great — when a potential customer arrives at the site and can’t make heads or tails of your information and it just feels spammy to them — you can bet they’ll be clicking on the next web site within a matter of seconds.

8. Link Building

We’ve probably all heard of Google Page Rank — it seems to be every web site owner’s dream to have as high a page rank as possible. While the algorithm for determining page rank encompasses many elements, and is constantly changing, one item is the number of links pointing to your web site.

Now, you’ll want to steer clear of link farms and other spammy attempts at getting links to your site. However there are many reputable and niche directory sites that you can use to submit your web site, or specific blog articles to.

With genuine content — especially if you have a blog — you’ll be able to generate links with other web sites and blogs, as well. It’s somewhat of a give and take, in that if you link out to other sites, you’ll find sites linking back to you  — and hopefully see your page rank going up, as well!

9. Social Media

Although technically not SEO, Social Media is such a growing factor in getting your web site noticed, that it’s an important element to include in your plan.

Social media ranges from social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn — to social bookmarking sites such as Delicious, Digg, StumbleUpon and many more. There is a lot of relationship building involved, but as you build your own networks and build quality content on your web site or blog, you’ll see traffic to your web site increasing, as well.

As with any relationship, it is a give and take. Don’t just expect to join a site like Twitter for the pure sake of pushing your content. That just won’t fly — your true intentions will stick out like a sore thumb and do nothing but turn people off.

Even if you are on the site purely for networking reasons, the key is to make friends. Help out members of your network if they ask for a “retweet” or Digg, give helpful advice if asked, etc. You’ll see the same in return.

If you write a great post and have built meaningful relationships with peers in your  niche, you’ll often find that friends will submit your posts and give you votes on the social bookmarking sites. The more votes you receive, the more likely your post is to be noticed by others and shared around, often resulting in additional link backs from other blogs, etc.

10. A Few SEO Don’ts — Flash and Splash

Along with any list of Do’s come the Don’ts. As far as SEO is concerned, two of these items are splash pages (often consisting of a flash animation) and all flash web sites.

Yes, flash is pretty! Full flash web sites can actually be amazing to look at — their own bit of interactive artwork. But unfortunately the search engines don’t get along well with Flash. Although there is talk of possible advancement in this area, for the most part the search engines cannot read Flash.

All that great content that you wrote for your site will not be seen by the search engines if it’s embedded into a Flash web site. As far as the search engines are concerned, your all flash web site might as well be invisible. And if the search engines can’t see your site content, a good chunk of potential customers will miss out on what you have to offer, too.

Equally as “pointless” are splash pages. Once very popular, the splash page should no longer be an important feature of any site. While splash pages used to serve as an introduction into a web site (often with a flash animation), it is no longer seen as helpful, and often times might actually annoy visitors.

For one — it’s an extra click to get into your content. Worse is when you don’t give a “skip intro” option or set of links into your main site content — because you’re essentially forcing your visitors to sit through the full animation. If you’re lucky, this will only annoy them… if not — they’ll just leave without giving your main web site a shot. And without an html link pointing into your site, the search engines have no way to continue either (unless you made use of a sitemap.xml file — but still…)

A good alternative to both issues is to make use of a flash header. There’s no problem to include a flash animation at the top of your main site, or as a feature within the content area, etc. Because this is an addition to your web site, as opposed to a full separate element.

About the author: Selene M. Bowlby is a web designer and front-end web developer with over 10 years of professional experience in the design industry. After taking the “freelance plunge” in 2008, she runs her company, iDesign Studios full time, where she specializes in creating custom web sites for other businesses.