Your First Blog Post In Seven Easy Steps

 

 

Your First Blog Post In Seven Easy Steps

 

 

It’s time to write your first blog and post it to WordPress. And it’s not as difficult as you might imagine. In this post, I’ll walk you through the seven steps. We’re going to cover things to consider before you ever begin writing, how to actually compose your blog, transfer it to WordPress, and then publish! Are you ready? We’ll start with the planning phase.

1. Plan Your Topic

Before you write you must choose a topic. Ask people what topics interest them and then give them your useful, interesting and unique perspective. Provide them with answers to questions, solutions to problems, and practical tips in a clear, concise way. Through consistent delivery of your valuable expertise, your readers will come to trust you.

Topics ideas start broad. Your first job as a writer is to narrow them down. For example, “Twitter” is a broad topic. An angle on the topic of Twitter is “How to use Twitter.” That topic is still pretty broad, so continue being more and more specific until you get to “Applying a theme to your Twitter profile.” The goal is to come up with narrow enough topics that can be adequately addressed in the space of a typical blog post. The more specific your topic, the more valuable the information is to your readers. And as you provide specific information, it establishes you as an authority on your topic. Once you have your topic, make an outline.

2. Outline for Efficient Writing

It is always best to outline before you begin writing. The outline provides you with how your blog post will flow and helps you to stay on topic. Without an outline, you can drift into wasting time writing about points that don’t specifically link back to your topic. Your readers are expecting to be lead down a specific path. And when you wander from that path, they lose interest and the desire to read through to the end.

Be sure to include an introduction and conclusion in your post. Both are short summary statements of what you’re going to write about (introduction) and what you wrote about (conclusion). The conclusion can also include encouragement about the value of acting on the information in the article. Another pre-writing task is researching keywords.

3. Research Keywords

Keywords are the terms people enter into the Google search box to find information online. If you can use the same terms as they will be using to find your topic, your blog post will rank high in the search engine results. Sometimes the popular search terms are different than you would think. So be careful to not make assumptions.

How do you find the terms or keywords that will lead readers to your blog? It takes a bit of keyword research. I use the Google Keyword Tool. In my next blog post I will expand on this topic. When I researched keywords for this post, I checked “how to write a blog post,” and “steps blog post.” Through that, I found that “writing a blog post” is another good keyword for this topic. Now you have a topic, an outline and some keywords. Next you need to spiff up your working title – transform it into a captivating headline.

4. Headlines Are Critical

Your working title may be bland and so you will want to take the added step of turning your title into an attention-grabbing headline.

Here are three tips for writing a powerful headline:

• Don’t Reveal Too Much – Just enough to arouse reader curiosity so they are compelled to read on.
• Include Specific Details – “Tips for A Better Blog” is general. “Seven Tips For A Better Blog” is more specific. “Seven Tips to Immediately
Increase Your Blog’s Readership” is even more specific and compelling.
• Use Numbered Lists – Numbered lists are very effective for drawing readers into your content, by causing them to focus on the
benefits of reading through your blog.

Another pre-writing consideration is the formatting of your post.

5. Format to Invite Reading

The formatting of your blog post can improve the likelihood your post is read. People tend to scan until they find something that catches their interest so make use of formatting to draw them in. Paragraph headings, in bold, and a different color and font from the text, provide a visual summary of the flow of your article and help to pull the reader into the content. Keep paragraphs short so people perceive that your post won’t take too much time to read. Make sure to leave plenty of white space and use bullet points where appropriate. Finally it’s time to actually compose your blog post.

6. Compose In A Word Processing Program

Compose your blog post in a separate word processing program, such as MSWord. Your word processing program will be familiar to you. It offers more formatting flexibility than the WordPress dashboard and your final document is your back-up outside of WordPress.

No document is complete without running a grammar and spell check. Sloppy writing with blatant errors can undermine your credibility as an expert.

Without further ado, it’s time to move your masterpiece into WordPress!

7. Transfer to WordPress, Tag & Schedule

Finally it’s time to post your content into the WordPress editor. This is very simple, because the only thing you need to do in WordPress is click on posts and then click new. Enter your attention-grabbing headline in the box labeled “enter title here” and then cut and paste the content from your word processing program into WordPress.

You’ll also notice in the WordPress dashboard that there is a field to add what are called tags. These are basically keywords that will tell the search engines how to classify your blog post so that readers can find it. Make sure to add at least three or four tags, but generally no more than eight.

Your final step is to schedule the publication of your blog. To do this, choose the “Edit” option next to “Publish immediately” located near the bottom of the screen. Tell WordPress the date and time to publish your blog and press “Publish.” You will love the convenience of pre-setting WordPress to publish your blogs.

Let’s Review

You understand the importance of planning: topic, outlining, keyword research and headlines. You know why it’s important to compose your post in a word processing program. And you see how easy it is to transfer your post to WordPress, then tag and schedule it. All that’s left is to “Just Do It!” I look forward to reading your original engaging content soon!

Coming Up Next

In the coming weeks, we will go deeper into the topics of keywords and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Please mention in the comments section if there are specific questions I can cover for you. We are here to serve you!

photo credit: dawvon via photopin

Six Design Considerations To Make Your Blog Social Media-Friendly

 

 

 

Six Design Considerations To Make Your Blog
Social Media-
Friendly

 

 

The decisions you make about the appearance of your blog are important because your blog is a reflection of who you are. If you have a vision of how you want to represent yourself through your blog, you’re much more likely to be successful.

One of the ways to understand what will work for you is to look at other blogs, especially those that are similar to what you want to accomplish. What does the design of those blogs say about the blogger and the blog content?

Although your blog will be a reflection of your unique perspective, there are some basic design considerations that will make it social media friendly. Let’s talk about layout and placement, color themes, branding, the About page, social media integration, and comments.

Layout and Element Placement

Every blog has three different areas in which to place and customize content: headers, sidebars and footers. Each serves a specific purpose.

Header – The most important element of your header is the name of your blog. The name should communicate its focus. You can also include a tagline to further describe your blog’s purpose.

It’s also a good idea to place your name and picture in your blog header. In addition to giving it a more personal touch, your name and picture show that you are legitimate – there is a real person who stands behind the blog.

Navigation tabs, should be located directly under your header to help your visitors find their way around and provide them with quick links to special areas (pages and categories) that you wish to highlight.

Sidebars – The columns, along either side of your main content, are a major focus of your site. Some of the elements that are placed in the sidebar are your opt-in offer, and feeds from your Facebook and Twitter pages. You may also place links to archived blog posts in this location. Most importantly, remember to include a search box for your site within the sidebar.

Footer – This is the area at the bottom of your website. It is valuable space, but best used for information that doesn’t need to be prominently displayed.

With your layout in place, a color theme will further bring your blog to life.

Color Theme

Consider your blog readers’ preferences when you choose your colors. Once you have decided, be consistent within your color palette. A theme is a combination of colors – usually five – that coordinate well together. The combinations are endless. And if you need some help getting started, kuler.adobe provides a catalog of themes and can be searched by color. Aim for unique and fun, but also keep in mind that your blog’s readability, especially as to the size and color of the text in your blog posts, is the most important factor. Choosing your color palette is a part of creating your brand.

The Brand of Y-O-U 

To brand yourself, you need a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish with your blog, your vision and mission, values, goals, strategies and strengths. Are you familiar with the saying “No decision, is a decision”? Well, the same applies to branding yourself. If you take no action, the mishmash of “whatever happens” becomes your brand…It becomes you.

In order to become the brand of Y-O-U, you must create a clear and accurate online presence so that you are recognized in any of the other online places that you appear. So your blog purpose, personality, tone and appearance are recognizable whether you are commenting on Facebook, or tweeting on Twitter.
Your brand is your followers’ consistent online experience of Y-O-U and becomes your shortcut to online recognition. Now that you are branded and recognized, what do you want your readers to know about you?

One Place That Truly Is All About Y-O-U

The About page may be the most important page on your site. If properly focused, it can be the workhorse for your site, communicating who you are and what you stand for. Contrary to what you might think, the About Page is not simply rattling off details abut yourself that you hope will attract notice. The personal information that you share with your readers should be strategically chosen and written in a way that communicates who you are and what you have to offer.

Plug and Play: Integrate Social Media into Your Blog 

When you begin to blog on a regular basis, your next step is to connect your blog to your social media platforms. I recommend connecting your blog to the five most used platforms: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google +.

Integration with social media will increase the amount of exposure and attention your blog receives because:

• It will be easier to find through online search engines
• Your visitors can easily share your content
• Your blog will experience improved visibility and search engine ranking because social media websites provide backlinks to it
• Your readers can more easily discuss your content

You can begin with these creative ways to integrate social media into your blog.

Add social media buttons – Social media buttons allow your visitors to easily connect with you on your social media platforms.

Add social sharing widgets – Social sharing widgets make it easy for your readers to share your blog content on their social media platforms with their friends and followers who can in turn share it with others.

Provide easy-to-use Like, Share and Follow options – Your readers are all different. Some will like a post if they enjoyed your content, while others will share the content with others completely bypassing the like button. Some will also follow your blog to stay in touch using their favourite social media platform. Make sure that you are including all of the ways your readers want to connect with you. And don’t forget, sharing is a two-way street!

Remember to Be Social

Keep your comment section turned on in your blog because interaction is what social media is all about.

Comments are essentially how blogs differ from web sites. It is unique to blogs that readers have the opportunity to interact and communicate with the blogger him/herself. Give your visitors the opportunity to leave a comment. And leave comments on others’ comments. Also, remember that those who make comments appreciate having space for outbound linking – leaving links to their own blogs.

Questions? Comments? Concerns?

Although there are many parts to making your blog ready for social media, they are very “do-able” when taken step by step. I know because I have done so. Olga Hermans Social Media is here to help you. Please contact us regarding customized services to audit your blog for social media readiness and develop an action plan for you.

photo credit: Rosaura via photopin