This post is the second and last in a two-part ‘Blogging tips’ series.
This post, on the other hand, will cover what smaller steps you can take to give yourself a better chance of people seeing your blog. Some of it may seem obvious but you’ll be suprised how many people look past the small things, which really make a big difference.
Part Two: Publishing and Promotion
You’ve done the hard part, you’ve written a quality blog post. It’s part of your new series which has so far, unfortunately, gained very little attention. But why? What am I doing wrong? Surely the old addage, “content is King” means if I write long post, I’ll get more readers.
When it comes to increasing your readership, you really need to give yourself a helping hand. The following 7 points, are just some of the methods I use to make your blog more accessible, easier to find and more engaging.
The biggest benefit, for me, for using tags and categories is site navigation/organisation/semantics. People will give you other reasons including making sure that Google recognises what your post is about (SEO – search engine optimisation) but, to be frank, Google is clever enough to work out what it’s about just from the content; so don’t think that adding a millions different variations of a phrase summing up your post will help your dramatically when people are searching for your subject.
But tags (and categories) will help people find explore the content you have on your site.
Do remember though that tags are not categories and categories are not tags. It’s important to use them correctly:
“Categories organize, hierarchically….Tags cross-connect”
- So, for example, you could could have 5 categories including “News” and “Opinion”.
- You may then write a post which is a news report about Spurs v Real Madrid.
- The category would be “News” and you’d tag it “Spurs, Real Madrid”
- That way if people want to see all your news articles they can click on the “News” link.
- If they, on the other hand, want to see everything you’ve ever (from all categories) written about “Spurs” then they can click on Spurs.
2) Use Twitter and use it well
Twitter is very multi-dimensional in that you can use it however you see fit; whether it’s purely as a communication tool, or a way to keep up to date with news or stalk an ex-partner. Ok, maybe not that one.
If you are to use Twitter to promote your posts, then please be sensitive in your approach. Please don’t spam your timeline with your latest post. And, I personally wouldn’t recommend using automated tweeting tools to post your link once and hour, on the hour. You will not gain traction that way.
By all means let your timeline know you’ve published – maybe a few times a day/week (to manage the overlap between timezones and reach people who don’t sit on it all day). But, be personal about it. There’s not much use in just posting the link with the blog title – can you make the tweet relevant, can you make it personal?
Twitter is also a superb tool for managing the writers you love to read, keeping track on your club or general news. A great start on keeping track of your favourite journalists would be this Twitter list curated by Zonal Marking.
We also have a Twitter list just for FootballUnited bloggers here. If you’re not on it, let me know!
Making use of Twitter search and hashtags is a also a great way of keeping on top of everything your indirect, but relevant, network is talking about. Try setting up a search for one of these Football League hashtags to help you manage your news flow.
3) Let people subscribe by email
There are various plugins for blog platforms that help you make this easy for your readers. You can also try using FeedBurner, from Google which not only allows people to subscribe to receive your posts by email but it will also show you the numbers of people who have subscribed to your feed with their feed reader.
However, knocking the socks off FeedBurner, is a plugin called Subscribe2 (for WordPress – FootballUnited bloggers, you have it in your plugins list).
I find Subscribe2 significantly better than FeedBurner for one main reason – the customisation. You can literally change so many different details; the one I make the most use of is the time of day and frequency emails are sent out. Particularly useful for making sure your latest post is in your reader’s inbox either at lunchtime or the end of the day (our peak traffic hours – people browsing news during lunch or when they’re bored at half past 4!)
Along with the timing/frequency, it’s also exceptionally easy to add a ‘subscribe by email box’ to the end of your post or sidebar.
Easy for you, very easy for them – and that is key to getting people leaving their email.
Ask yourself this question when you look at your blog design.
People consume content very differently these days. To some seeing the post on Facebook from a friend makes them more likely to click on it, to others it’s a retweet on Twitter that catches their attention.
Either way, the easier you make it for people to let their friends know about your great post, the quicker it will spread and the more people will see it. I mean, why write a quality post and then not let people tell their mates about it?!
If you are a FootballUnited blogger, then you can also try the ‘Social Sharing Buttons’ plugin which adds Facebook Like and Twitter Share buttons to the end of your posts. It’s not available anywhere else, so count yourself lucky!
4) Offer interaction
For me, the Football Quizzes by Three Match Ban are probably some of the best and original football quizzes on the Interwebs. They’re truly engaging and they make you feel you can’t stop until you’ve got all the answers. Importantly though, they make you want to go back!
It’s a great example of letting people interact on your blog. However, not everyone has the technical know-how to implement such a quiz. So, what are some other things you can do?
I think probably the easiest addition is a poll. People love to feel like they’re having their say, they also love to know the outcome of the poll. So when it’s finished, be sure to write a second post with the outcomes. Unless you expect your polls to rack up hundreds of thousands of votes, I’d recommend using Poll Daddy. (Let’s Be ‘Avin You does so really well)
Also, even easier than that, is to encourage people to comment either directly, or through what you’re choosing to write about. Some subjects naturally just induce a feeling amongst your readers of needing to voice an opinion. While we’re talking about comments, there are plugins out there that let your readers vote on the comments that are left – this is a great way of giving that feeling of ownership of the comment section to your readers.
And remember. Always, always, reply to comments left on your blog.
Make good use of sub-headings, images, videos, captions & block-quotes to make the consumption of your post as easy as possible. Many of your readers will skim read, others just read the title. Once you’ve finished a post, try and skim read it yourself – then ask yourself
- Does the point in my post stand out just from reading the sub-headings?
- Are the sub-headings clear enough for people to find what they’re looking for quickly?
- Do the pictures break the flow of the writing, or do they offer a welcome break from solid text?
- Do the videos add to, or take away from, my writing?
I would offer that there’s more to networking *just* on Twitter, despite it being an exceptional tool.
It means offering good contributions on other people’s blogs, it means attending events like Socrates and chatting with people. It may even mean offering to do guest posts on certain subjects if other big blogs are looking for contributors.
All that, and then include the impact of Twitter and you’re on the road to expanding your network. As that grows, as does your readership.
Some people I can think of, had the network first, then they started the blog and found that because of an already highly engaged audience, their blog was immediately popular.
So, that concludes my extensive ‘Football Blogging Tips’ series. I really do hope you’ve found it useful.
Thanks for reading – if you ever fancy starting your own blog, then I’ll be more than happy to talk and assist you!
If you don’t follow us on Twitter then it would be great to be able to chat – our username is @footballutd
Or, of course, that other big nation floating about, Facebook. We’re on there too: FootballUtd on Facebook