Tips for Effective Blogging

Over the last two decades we’ve seen many online marketing techniques come and go but blogs have consistently stayed in use. Why? Because, if kept fresh and relevant they are extremely effective. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, perpetually preaches how creating and promoting quality content is the most effective and ethical method to gaining top rank.

While that is Quite Nice of Mr. Cutts to give us such Sage Advice, let’s drop the A.A. Milne-inspired naivety and recognize that Matt fights web spam for Google. He’s not spending company time speaking at events to help your site rank. He wants his search results spam free.

While those goals aren’t mutually exclusive, you can’t fully trust Google’s advice or toolsets.

1. Get Clicky with it

For example, we love Google Analytics but we don’t fully trust it. That’s why every client also has at least one other analytics app and, with blogging clients, that app is Clicky. We use Clicky Analytics to get a better measure of bounce rate and visitor intelligence plus it works when the client’s browser is javascript-less.

Google Analytics measures bounce rate as a single page view visit. Clicky measures it as a visit to a page that lasts less than 30 seconds. If a visitor reads a single article for 1:20, only Google Analytics will count that as a bounce.

This core difference in bounce’s definition combined with Clicky’s ability to work without javaScript has led to more realistic (and lower) bounce rates for our blogging clients (especially those who have large mobile readerships).

2. Set your focus

Think about your strategic goals for having a web presence in the first place and design your blog to reinforce those goals. Here are four tips.

  • Name it “Blog” in your navigation. You can get clever or drop SEO keywords in the blog’s title but keep your navigation clean. Using “Blog” is a convention so use it.

  • Keep the same theme and navigation of the main site.

  • Use the same CMS (content management system) to blog as you use to maintain the website.

  • Use your blog’s sidebar and widget areas to help drive sales and leads. Modify and test the same CTAs and ads you run elsewhere.

3. Go out into your readership

A well-read and circulated blog has authors and editors that participate in their respective online communities. If Twitter and FB are buzz streams, then your blog is a reservoir for that stream. Some ways you can combine blogging with social media.

  • Use RSS: Subscribe to like-minded bloggers…even if they are your competitors.

  • Really use RSS: Subscribe to your own blog’s comment feed. This notifies you when someone comments so you can respond and drive engagement.

  • Setup automated Twitter and Google searches so you can identify common questions and other content opportunities.

The big idea is to utilize social media to help create content that the social community is seeking and measure that content to see if it helped achieve your business goals.

It should come as no surprise that an article on effective blogging techniques by a search marketer would focus on analytics and optimization testing. Lacking measurable goals and accurate insights, many businesses fly blind and end up with blogs that attract readers but not revenue.