Since the beginning of time, humans have been searching for ways to communicate. From sign language to cave drawings to paintings, humans have been trying to tell their stories.
In fact, we humans have protected, copied and preserved the written word since its inception. From Dead Sea scrolls to naval captain’s logs to newspapers to the blogs written by the world’s 70 million bloggers, people have been (and continue to be) obsessed with communicating what is important to them.
So, you say you are clean out of parchment, your hammer and chisel are dull and you don’t own a printing press? How about we move into the 21st century and we learn how to communicate with not only other humans, but search engines as well, so those other humans can find the words on your blog that express what’s important to you.
So let’s start with the basics….
Loading the Rifle: What is a Blog? Here is a short video to explain:
There are 8 types of blogs that can be a part of how you choose to communicate what’s important to you.
Here are examples of each kind:
1. Linkblog – Social bookmarking, such as del.icio.us
2. Moblog – sending pictures from a camera phone or mobile device, e.g., Flickr
3. Podcast – audio recording in MP3 through RSS feed – iTunes
4. Videoblog/Vlog – video recording in MP4 through RSS feed – YouTube
5. Microblog – short text message, popular with mobile users, e.g., Twitter
6. Miniblog/reblog – content is mostly from a third party in a post versus creating original material, e.g., stumbleupon
7. Liveblog – covers a live event, such as a sporting event or press conference. Engadget is an example.
8. Blog – A collection that can include all of the above.
Once you choose which format is inspiring to you, it’s time to bring it to life and be found on the social web. When choosing a blog strategy, first you will want to choose a blog platform (such as WordPress or Blogger) and create a themed look and feel appropriate to what you want to talk about and what you feel will appeal to the type of audience interested in your same topic.
Now that you have a blog hosted and up and running…. now what? You need great content. Period. Your content must be interesting, informative, educational, or inspiring in a way that compels your readers to engage with you. Most important, be creative and have fun with the voice of who you are.
Rand Fishkin from SEOmoz has written a great article that details 21 tactics to increase blog traffic, but we are going to cover just a few highlights.
Here are a few items to help keep your content fun, inviting and engaging to your audience:
– Great content – first and foremost.
– Link to your sources and data information. Don’t be afraid to link to resources valuable to your readers.
– Invite guest bloggers to be featured on your blog.
– Interview influential people who address the topic covered by your blog.
– Use rich media – e.g., video, charts, images, graphs, podcasts, bullets, etc….
– Use community sharing software such as ShareThis or Tweetmeme to allow visitors to share your content easily with others through Twitter and Facebook and many other bookmarking platforms throughout the web.
Talking to Search Engines: Bulls-eye
Okay, so you have great content. Check. Now it’s time to be found in the search engines and share your content with readers. You have to socially broaden your footprint on the web and get your content out to communities that are interested in what you have to say.
How do you do that?
Here are some simple tips to help search engines identify and “read” your content and properly index it so that a person searching on the topic that you posted about can find your blog. By using these plug-ins (or many others like these), you can help tell the search engines what your posts are about.
– Use a SEF (search engine friendly) plug-in, such as headspace2, to insert title tags, smart URLs and descriptions into your posts to help search engines index the posts for the right keywords.
– Tag your content with keywords relevant to what that post is about.
– Make it easy for someone to subscribe to you with RSS feeds or subscribe with email.
– Use an interactive WYSWYG word processing plug-in, such as Tiny MCE Advanced, which allows you include images, video and a myriad of other functionality to make your content engaging.
You’ll be loaded for bear if do your research, choose the type of blog that’s right for what you want to communicate, educate yourself on your chosen topic, learn from other bloggers, create a community by broadening your web footprint, and use the 21st century tools to help humans using search engines find your blog content when they search on the keywords that are most relevant to it.