So you want to know how to run a blog? You’re ready for the endless days of creative outputs, the endless hours of marketing, and the frustrating days of zero hits on your best-ever posts? Of course you are. Blogging is more than just reaching out to the world at large. It’s a way of putting your own stamp on the internet so that your perspectives can forever remain in the world.
Running a blog isn’t difficult from a basic perspective. As long as you have a platform upon which to blog and you stay within the terms and conditions of your agreement, you can have a blog stay active for almost forever. You don’t even need to post content on a blog consistently to have it accessible to the world at large.
If you do want people to come visit your blog from time to time, however, you’ll need to run it in a certain way. Here are some tips to help you maximize your efforts so that you aren’t killing off all your free time with blog management duties.
1. Take a Crash Course In SEO Management.
Blogs get indexed by search engines just like any other website. How they get found on sites like Google or Bing is also similar. That’s why knowing a little about search engine optimization can help to take your blog a long way. A fully optimized blog typically receives about 3-7% of its traffic from search engine results.
That might not seem like a lot, but getting 93 visitors for every 100 visitors a competitive blog receives because of better SEO adds up over time. Here are some simple ways to get started improving your optimization.
- Index every page of your blog. Many free blogs default to having just the home page indexed. Make sure all of your content pages get indexed instead.
- Avoid duplicated content. Don’t post archival links on your blog pages. You’ve already got duplicated content as it is if there’s a mobile version of your site that’s independent of the primary site. Adding more duplicated content just makes your rankings worse.
- Get to know some keywords. There are going to be some phrases that naturally associate with the content you’re posting on your blog. Get to know what they are and how popular they are in searches and then emphasize the best ones.
You don’t have to be an SEO master. Many plugins can accomplish needed tasks passively. An added focus here, however, can pay many dividends.
2. Schedule Your Posts For Regular Updates.
You know how you can spend about 3 hours on a Sunday afternoon preparing all of your meals for the week and then freezing them so you can just pop them in when you’re hungry? The same concept works for your blog posts. Finding time to write content, make videos, or take pictures every day is cumbersome. There will be days a headache, a toothache, or just simple apathy take hold and you don’t put in the time. By scheduling your posts out instead, you’ll be able to have consistent content for your readers.
How can you schedule your posts? Most blogging platforms offer the chance to publish on a certain time. Just change the option from “publish now” to “publish later” and set the preferred time. Make sure that you set it for the appropriate window and have am/pm appropriately set. Not every blogging platform is set to your time zone, so you might need to break out the Google calculator to figure out the best time to post.
3. Interact With Your People… And Not Just On Your Blog.
You’ll often hear that it is a best practice to interact with readers who comment on a blog. To answer questions quickly when they are asked or respond to observations. This is good advice that shouldn’t be ignored. This advice trickles over to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. Again – any engagement that is meaningful is going to be beneficial.
Interacting with people doesn’t just happen on your blog. It doesn’t just happen on social media either. Every person you meet in “real life” is also a potential blog reader. If your picture is up on your About Me page [and it should be], then your face is going to get recognized at the grocery store, while stopped at a red light, and other places where you’ll least expect it.
You are a representation of your blog everywhere you go. That one moment you don’t interact with someone in real life is the moment you ignore an avid blog reader. You don’t need to hold 20 minute conversations with strangers, but remember a smile and a handshake will go a long way.
4. Humor Isn’t As Funny As You Might Think.
Running a blog is supposed to be a good time. There should be moments that make you and your readers laugh. What isn’t funny is when humor becomes the sole attractive component of your non-humorous blog. If you’re writing satire, of course, then funny is par for the course. You need it. If you’re writing about 10 minute dinner recipes, humor is overrated at best.
Here’s the problem: a good joke can be memorable. It can make people want to know more. In the world of the internet, however, you never know what some people will find to be funny and what others will find to be offensive. A bad joke does more damage than a good joke provides benefits every single time.
Ignore the advice on humor. Running a blog is about information, not jokes. If you’ve got a funny story about your own failures, then go for it. If the joke is about anyone else, don’t risk it.
5. Keep The Lid On The Spam Closed.
Akismet is your best friend. Install it. You won’t get nailed with all of that crazy spam in your comments section if the plugin works for your blog. It’s free for personal blogs and just $5 per month for a business blog. That is all.
6. Don’t Be So Pushy.
Contact other blog owners in your field and ask about guest post opportunities. Go ask businesses to be blog sponsors. Share your posts consistently on social media networks.
Does that advice sound familiar? Yeah. It’s been handed out in blog post after blog post about running a blog or expanding its presence. To some extent it is good advice, but far too many blog owners take the advice further than they should. A request every now and then or a post every now and then is fine. If you’re asking the same business 3x per week to sponsor something, you’ll make enemies faster than you’ll make friends.
There’s a fine line between promoting your brand and be pushy with your brand. As a general rule, offer this: ask once. Post once. If you get a response, then do it one more time. If not, move on. Be willing to share the posts of others as well so that you’re not one sided. Ask to print good posts instead of asking to be printing. When you give, you shall receive. When you push, people just push back.
7. Be Thou Exalted, Thy Blog Above All Blogs.
Running a blog has to be your #1 priority for a specific period of time. You’ve got to eliminate the distractions, the multiple browser tabs, and everything else and just focus down on what you’re doing. The goal is simple: to create the best blog possible.
In this modern world, this tip sounds easy, but it’s more difficult than anyone realizes. Have you seen how many cat videos have been uploaded?
8. Break Out Your Old English Composition Book.
The way your content is structured is an important part of the blog running experience too. Adding bullet points makes a post easy to skim. Bold text makes important points easier to emphasize. Even blockquotes make it easier for blog readers to recognize that a quote is not your own.
Your old English composition book has a lot of great tips for language structure. Provide headings, format paragraphs so they are easy to consume, and don’t create sentences that are 300 words long. Your readers will thank you by continuing to read your posts.
9. Keep It Simple.
Whether your readers consume information from right to left, left to right, or vertically, the blog needs to be structured in a way to make that information easy to consume. When there are flashing GIFs, multiple advertisements in the sidebar, and multiple visual distractions, even the most interesting information in the world will achieve a high bounce rate.
Keeping a blog simple makes it easier to read and easier to run. There are fewer updates, fewer problems that could happen, and that makes for a solid internet presence.
Are you ready to run a blog today? With enough hard work and interesting content, you can have a great time blogging. Knowing how to run a blog is the simple part. Keeping it interesting – now that’s the challenge.