Archive for blog formatting – Page 2

Tips on Blog Post Optimization

What are the steps you need to follow to ensure each blog post is optimized for search engines as well as well-written for your readers’ interests? Oh my… there are a lot. But to keep me out of overwhelm, I wrote them down, and put them into a flow chart.

This is good for days when I’m brain dead and likely to forget something important. But it’s also a good chart for anyone working with a V.A. or assistant who needs to take over some of the tasks for you.

After I decide what it is I want to write about (see my earlier post, Blogger’s Block: Writing Tips to Get “Unstuck), I follow these steps for posting on my blog:

Flow chart, continued: Read More→

7 Ways to Format Blogs to Engage Readers’ Brains

What are the two most important parts (a.k.a. opportunities to engage readers) of your business blog post? Most experts will tell you this:

  1. The headline
  2. The call to action

The headline is what gets read and spread. It’s your “shout-out” on social media sites, in feed readers, and email updates. It’s the bait on your fishing hook which draws people over to your blog site to read your stuff.

Writing magnetic headlines is crucial. And you know yourself that a well-crafted headline gets more traffic than a bland one.

The call to action is what gets you business results and turns readers into clients. Even when it’s not a direct “go-buy-click-here” request, it’s part of your funnel process. It starts the participation process.

But hold on there, wait a minute.  There are 7 ways to format your blog posts that will help prime your readers for action. It happens before you ask readers to do something. It must happen, otherwise your readers won’t even read your complete post, they won’t get to the call to action part.

You must engage their brains. You must get inside their heads by triggering unconscious desires and thoughts.

Okay, that sounds a bit oowy-woowy and sneaky, maybe even dangerous. I’m not talking hypnotic suggestions or even tapping into Freudian drives of sex or fear…(although, heck, that sure works, too!)

But if your blog content doesn’t appeal to one of several persuasion triggers (reciprocity, social proof, etc.) then you’re not doing enough with your posts. Your readers may scan your post, without getting their thought processes going, and move on.

It’s not complicated. You’re probably already doing it (unconsciously)! How? Read More→

Content Checklist: Don’t Publish Without It

I love checklists because I’m always forgetting things. Once I published a post without a title. Yesterday I almost forgot to hyperlink anything in a post. Fortunately, before I publish I run an analysis for how a post will score with the search engines using Scribe, a great tool.

Scribe catches everything and tells me things like “there are no primary keywords found.” Yeah, I know that’s ridiculous. But if you don’t use Scribe you could be publishing stuff that search engines don’t grasp.

Here’s a great checklist, just published over at the Content Marketing Institute, authored by Ahava Leibtag.

The checklist is designed for digital content creators and marketing teams, but it can and should be used by anyone writing a business blog or other content for the Web. It defines valuable content using five benchmarks:

  1. Findable                               
  2. Readable
  3. Understandable
  4. Actionable
  5. Shareable

If this image is too small, go to the post over at the Content Marketing Institute and download the PDF version.

This is a great checklist to keep handy for anyone creating content for blogs.

For example, there’s a difference between “Readable” and “Understandable” and both are important. Readable refers to formatting, bullet points, etc.

Understandable means you take time to re-read your post with the eyes and brains of your typical readers and take out any ambiguity.

As you can see in this checklist, it’s also important that your content be actionable and shareable. This is similar to what I write about in my ebook, Content Marketing with Blogs. If you haven’t downloaded that yet, be my guest, click here.

How to Write a Content Marketing Blog Post

Here’s a little review of steps involved in writing and publishing a blog post:

Once you have written the body of the post, it’s time to check for effectiveness:

Before you publish, here are a few smart things to check for: Read More→

Business Blogging: Blast Past the Blunders

Here’s how to bust out of blog oblivion: Blogging 101: 6 weeks to Confident Blogging with the Queen of WordPress, Suzanne Bird-Harris.

The latest survey of small biz professionals revealed most people struggle with “Time:” 72% say they don’t have enough time to update their blog.

But we often say that, when in fact the reason we don’t have time is because we’re not sure what exactly what we’re supposed to be doing, or how to do it.

Once you master a skill, you can get it done quickly. And, if you’re successful at it, you want to do it again and again.

Here’s what the survey reveals:

  1. 72% struggle with enough time to blog
  2. 54% of people say they struggle  to know what to write about
  3. 52% aren’t sure how to apply SEO strategies to increase the reach of their blog

No wonder people run out of time. If you sit down to blog and have to figure out these two important things (#2 and #3), well, there goes your day!

To remedy this, Suzanne and I are going to teach the solutions to #1 and #2: blog writing and SEO workshop in January 2011.

In the meantime, get prepared by mastering the basics. If you’re struggling with your WordPress blog, don’t miss Suzanne’s Blogging101 workshop: 6 Weeks to Confident Blogging. (Don’t miss the early bird discount – you must sign up by Friday, Nov. 5,  2010 to save $50.)

You can read more about the details of the 6 week workshop on Suzanne’s Blogging101 web page here.

Here’s what one of her clients said about her: Read More→

Smart Time-Saving Tips on Blogging…

What are the steps you need to follow to ensure each blog post is optimized for search engines as well as for your readers’ interests? Oh my… there are a lot. But to keep me out of overwhelm, I wrote them down, and put them into a flow chart.

This is good for days when I’m brain dead and likely to forget something important. But it’s also a good chart for anyone working with a V.A. or assistant who needs to take over some of the tasks for you.

I recently designed and recorded a presentation for the Content Marketing Institute on everything that goes into creating and publishing a quality blog post. It’s published on a neat tool called Brain Shark: you make a power point presentation, then record the notes over the phone. How neat is that?

I’d like to share it with you here. Tell me what you think:

I realized after I watched this that my diagrams are way too small on this screen. So I’ve decided to republish them below, larger.

And here is the flow chart of all the steps I use for posting on my blog: Read More→

Content Marketing Results: 18 Ways to NOT Get Blog Traffic

What do you need to know about about the way people read online to make your content marketing efforts pay off?

What are you doing or not doing on your blog that screws up your traffic?

At least a few times a week I get an email from a smart professional who struggles with making their web marketing work to get found, get known and get clients. Here’s a typical one…

“Okay, Patsi, I’ve been following you for a while now, and your blog writing tips have helped. I’m posting twice a week, but I’m still not getting comments, and my traffic stats stink. Can you take a look?”

Of course, I have to point people to my consulting services if they want me to spend time doing a good analysis and provide specific solutions.

But often the problems and the solutions are common and universal. I can almost predict where the low traffic problems come from based on looking at a lot of blogs over the last five years.

Here’s a general overview of things I see many people doing on blogs that don’t bring good results:

  1. Frequency: Not posting enough
  2. Headline: not compelling or even clear
  3. Content: No clearly defined problem and solution, no answer to the “so what?” question
  4. Content: No keyword usage in headline, first paragraph, or in body
  5. Content: Too broad and general, need to hone it down to specifics, need to personalize it
  6. Formatting: Too many long blocks of text, need shorter paragraphs, subheadings
  7. Engagement: Too author-centric, not enough asking readers questions, addressing them as “you”
  8. Engagement: Not enough client stories, no quotes from other people Read More→

Blog Checklist: 10 Items BEFORE You Publish…

What is a good checklist before you publish on your blog? I’m preparing some learning modules for a content marketing presentation and came up with this checklist of 10 items. Tell me what you think.

Here’s what happens, usually. You’re in a hurry, you write up a short post (300 words), hit publish, and then realize you’ve forgotten to write the headline… or select tags… or add any links or images!

Well, it’s easy to go back in and update your post… but what if the phone rings, you have a crises, you get distracted (this is my world)… and you’re stuck with an incomplete blog post.

Reminds me of going out of the house with your zipper undone…

So here’s my handy-dandy checklist to whip out before you hit publish…

  • Pick the topic, find a hook, tip, trend
  • Write 350-600 words (educate, entertain, engage, enrich readers)
  • Format post (bulleted lists, etc.)
  • Write headline (compelling yet clear, keywords)
  • Add image
  • Add links, including to your own previous posts
  • Check grammar, typos
  • Identify tags, categories
  • Search Optimization, (use Scribe SEO, All-in-One SEO Pack, YARPP)
  • Connect with social sites (use Sexy Bookmarks, etc.) Read More→

Why Use a WP Sales Page Template?

Have you tried to create a landing page using WordPress? I have. And I know others have too. You can waste a lot of time and still not get a professional looking page that works to get people to buy or sign up.

Last Thursday, I interviewed Suzanne Bird-Harris, a programmer who developed the WP Sales Page template.

Now Suzanne is pretty tech-savvy and she’s also an expert in WordPress. So when she says this is next to impossible to create a good-looking sales page in WordPress without using a sales page template, I believe her. In fact, I tried to do this once myself, so I know.

I ended up paying someone to create a web page for me, in html. But since WP is so easy to use, I knew there must be a better way.

There is. If you’d like to know how to use a landing page template within your WP blogging platform, I suggest you read this page here, describing how the WP Sales Page template works: WP Sales Page… and yes, it’s an affiliate link because I love this product. It saves me time and energy.

Here are a few notes we discussed during the interview webcast… Read More→

Sales & Landing Pages Using WordPress: Learn How

If  you want to learn about formatting sales and landing pages using WordPress, please register for the free Webinar I’m hosting Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 4 p.m. ET.

I’m interviewing Suzanne Bird-Harris, developer of the WP Sales Page wizard. We’ll show you how to easily publish pages using your WordPress platform. The class is on the phone and on the Internet, your choice.

Can’t make the call? I’ll send you the audio file, plus any notes, but you’ll need to register:


Want to learn more about this great $37 product that makes landing pages easy to format and publish? Here’s Suzanne’s product page (affiliate link): WordPress Sales Page information.

There are a few drawbacks to using WP, if you are using it for product pages, affiliate product landing pages or email squeeze pages: Read More→