Blogs are a well-established feature of the online landscape enabling people and businesses to publish posts on a wide range of topics and to reach out to a broad spectrum of readers. The go-to platform for blogging is WordPress and, in this post, we’ll provide tips and advice on how to create a truly successful WordPress blog.
1. Have a strategy
Rather than simply writing lots of posts and publishing them straight away, it’s much better to have a strategic approach to creating your blog. Think of the different topics you might want to cover so that you can create clearly defined categories, create a content calendar so you know the best times of year to publish things, consider the different types of content you can create to add variety, put together a style guide that helps you communicate in the right tone.
At the same time, you have to decide the long-term goals for your blog and work what you have to do to achieve these. Do you want more visitors or more social media shares? Do you want a blog that influences or one which makes money? Each of these will affect what you write about and how you write.
Having a strategy in place before you start will prevent you from setting off on the wrong path or publishing content that doesn’t meet your needs.
2. Pick the right theme
Before reading a single word, the first thing any visitor will see is the theme – the style, colours and layout of your blog. If this is off-putting to them, they may leave straight away. This is not just a matter of taste, but also expectation. While the presentation needs to be attractive, visitors will also have expectations about what a blog on your topic will look like. If your choice of theme is completely at odds with this, they may turn elsewhere. In this sense, you need to have a balance that takes into consideration your own unique style and the preconceived notions of your visitors.
Besides the look, there are other things you need to take into consideration when choosing a theme. It will need to be compatible with any plugins you want to use, it has to be mobile-friendly, fast-loading and it needs to be user-friendly from a blogger’s point of view so that you can customise the look and post content with ease.
3. Research carefully
Clever research can have big benefits for bloggers, helping them know which topics are trending and which people want to read about. Keep your eye on the media and social media for hot topics and trending hashtags.
You should also research blogs which are similar to yours to pick up tips about what makes them successful. Which of their posts have the most likes or comments? How do they craft their titles? What impression do the theme and layout create? Make a list of good and bad points that you can use to help you.
Finally, remember to research keywords, (the words people type into search engines) so that you include these in your titles, subheadings, meta descriptions and content. Placing them here will help your posts rank better when people search for these terms and increase the number of visitors you get. There are specific online tools you can use to help you, such as the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool.
4. Work on your SEO
Most bloggers just want to write posts, however, if you want to rank well on search engines and attract new visitors, search engine optimisation is an important task you’ll need to undertake. Luckily for WordPress users, there are various SEO plugins you can use to help.
One of the most popular is Yoast SEO, which does a lot of the technical optimisation for you and provides an optimisation analysis of every post your write, giving you essential information about any changes you need to make to help them rank higher.
5. Take advantage of categories and tags
Categories and tags are used to organise your blog posts into discrete sections. When you put posts into the right category or tag them with the right labels, it enables visitors to easily find relevant content. This helps them stay on your site for longer and increases the chance of them coming back for another visit. Using categories correctly can also help search engines understand how the content of your site is structured and this can help them index your site better.
6. Think of your visitors as guests
A blog where people feel welcome and where they are treated well is one which will get visitors returning time and time again. What’s more, these loyal visitors are more likely to share and like your posts, helping you to grow your audience even more.
To make your blog user-friendly, you have to focus on giving them the best user experience when they visit. There are many things you can do to make this happen, for instance, use welcoming language, respond to comments, ensure the site loads quickly and works on mobile devices, and make it easy for visitors to find the information they need.
7. Analyse your visitors
Understanding who visits your site, where they come from, how they get there and what they do once they have landed can provide you with essential information to make your blog even better. Luckily, all this information is free from Google Analytics and, for WordPress users, setting it up is a breeze thanks to the range of free plugins you can use.
With this information, you’ll find out which posts are getting the most hits, how long people spend reading them and where they go on your site after finishing reading. This can help you improve the content and SEO on poorly performing posts and create new posts which will appeal to the people who are actually visiting your site.
Blogging, when approached in the right way, can be extremely rewarding. It enables bloggers to express their ideas, promote issues and market their brands. Hopefully, the advice given here will help you reach out to a wider audience, increasing the number of visitors you receive and turning them into loyal fans.
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