Tag Archive: Blogs

  1. Check, Please!: One Writer’s Blog Post Checklist

    You see that overly serious woman at the typewriter down there? Yes, her, in what appears to be a hazy nook, probably situated between a quaint haberdashery and a sleepy pub, tucked somewhere abouts London or Cork. This, my friends, is what many people fantasize as a writer’s life. It is also patently false (unless you’re an Irish or English hipster who can afford some prime-time real estate). Us modern/non-Irish or English hipster writers instead often fold open a laptop and get to work on a standing desk, sitting on a beanbag chair, lying on the floor or slouching at the kitchen table. Writing has become something that no longer requires setup and preparation — at least for the physical act of it. The creative planning process and strategy of writing is another story altogether.

    Blog Post Checklist

    At Findsome & Winmore, I write a lot of blog posts. That’s an understatement — I’m a blog-post-writing machine (official title change pending). That being said, I still have to put in time to prep for every single blog post I commit to writing. It’s an unglamorous-but-necessary step toward not only writing with quality, but also writing proficiently. This is a factor that many writers forget — speed is as important as consistency is as important as creativity.

    In an effort to build your blog posts on a consistent foundation and make the entire writing process altogether quicker, I present to you my blog post checklist.

    Adam’s Unimaginatively Titled Blog Post Checklist 2016

    Title

    Your title needs to run the line between SEO friendly and creatively intriguing, unlike my blog post checklist title. This is no easy feat, but crafting a title that includes search terms, or even an entire search phrase, can dramatically boost your chances of being read.

    Article Titles

    Though it’s a point of contention for many content writers and SEO strategists, I have to err on the side of creativity. If an SEO term is in a cage match with a catchy title that may hook my audience, SEO’s getting tapped out. Sorry SEO, you’re still valuable and I still love you. But as often as you can, do try to combine both SEO and title catchiness.

    Imagery

    People love pictures. I can write for days, eloquently describing a concept to the best of my ability, but if there is not some kind of visual break to give my readers a breather, chances are, they’ll be out quicker that you can say, “short attention span.”

    Camera

    However, never include imagery that you do not have the right to use. Though there are a multitude of free image sites, always ensure that the image does not require a specific level of attribution before plastering it on your post. My personal favorite resource: Pixabay.com.

    SEO

    As mentioned above, SEO plays an important role in getting your content discovered. I focus less on inappropriately stuffing my content with keywords and, instead, use my selected keywords strategically. For instance, section titles and passages in which keywords naturally fit are prime ways to enrich your content for search engines without sacrificing readability.

    Keywords

    Also, I make an effort to minimize linking to outside websites, unless necessary for the reader’s education or reference on a given subject. On the other hand, linking to one’s own website is a best practice if you have additional information that can enrich the reading experience. Lastly, and most importantly, writing quality, original content is always a major SEO boost.

    Metadata and More

    Utilizing the WordPress platform with the Yoast SEO plugin, I am able to add an SEO title, meta description, categories and tags. We recommend using your keyword and brand name within the SEO title, writing a meta description that also utilizes the keyword and quickly states the purpose of your blog.

    Beyond that, categories should be established on your blog so readers can easily navigate to the content they care most about. If I’m on a boating blog, for instance, but I only care about sailboats, I don’t want to slog through dozens of articles on powerboats or jet skis. Set categories like you may set up file folders on your computer and try to limit each blog post to only one or two categories, max. These are meant to be specific, so adding a “Boats” category to your boating blog may not make much sense.

    Metadata

    Tags, on the other hand, are a bit more free to use, but still not irresponsibly. Continuing the boating example, if I write a blog on fishing, I can tag key terms that I discuss within the article (such as “tuna” or “fishing rods”) but I would not tag “Miley Cyrus” just because she’s a popular search term and may have, at one time or another, been on a boat.

    When you combine an attention-grabbing title with eye-catching visuals, appropriately implemented keywords and accurate metadata, you may just find yourself ready to write a blog post that delivers the goods. Create a template from which you start every one of your posts. I use Google Docs, mostly for its ubiquity on desktop and mobile, but also because it allows for quick sharing and copy proofing from my compatriots.

    Whatever your subject or limitations, building content from a solid foundation always leads to better results. Taking the above points to heart, do yourself a favor and work from a template that frees up more valuable time to do what you set out to do in that imaginary, vaguely European nook in the first place: be creative.

  2. Content Marketing: What It Is and Why It Is Important to Web Design

    Content marketing is not a new idea.  Providing straight-forward, educational information on a product or service is as old of a tactic as the seminar or white paper.  Simply defined, content marketing is the creation and distribution of content (a blog post, an article, illustration, photograph, etc.) that informs and influences but does not advertise or sell.  There are many other definitions of content marketing available from different sources, but the common threads are information, education, and product alignment.

    Content marketing has become particularly important in recent months because of Google’s ever-evolving methodology for generating search results.  Google has publicly indicated that it will reward fresh, original content with high search rankings.  And since we are all turning to Google to find pretty much anything (and certainly the things we intend to buy), a marketer must create relevant content in order to gain exposure to these searches.  It’s simple logic:  if you want to market successfully, you must write.  Publish or perish.

    For the marketer that accepts the website as the centerpiece of a digital marketing strategy, content–not design–must lead.  One can’t exist without the other, certainly, but content should no longer take a back seat to design.

    In so many web projects, unfortunately, content is an after-thought.  Marketers get particularly excited about design and features and leave content for another day.  All too often, content is the last “task” that people want to tackle because it as seen as time-consuming, laborious, and menial.  The marketer that wants to gain search exposure (and, ahem, customers) should put content first and leave design for another day.  Ideally, the two should work hand-in-hand, but erring on the side of content is a safer bet.

    Practically speaking, content planning within the course of web design should involve more than just “copy.”  Content is not just the text on your About Us page.  In the context of a content marketing strategy, “content” is much bigger than marketing copy.   It incorporates things like:

    • titles of your navigation items
    • your sub-navigation strategy
    • blog categories and tags
    • social media strategy
    • diagrams and illustrations
    • ALT tags
    • corporate videos and descriptions
    • testimonials
    • links
    • your content calendar for future updates
    • meta-data

    Embracing content marketing as a form of promotion is critical in today’s world of customer acquisition.  Making content creation and distribution a priority in your organization puts you in a better position to gain more traction from Google and more customers from the traffic this brings.

     

  3. All the news that’s NOT fit to print…

    Many agree that blogging is really changing the face of journalism. One of the best things about journalists (especially columnists) who blog is that they now have an outlet to publish more content that isn’t necessarily appropriate for their regular column. I subscribe to an ESPN column by Bill Simmons (The SportsGuy) and I get immediate notification of when he publishes a new column or news-bite. That alone is pretty convenient.
    But take The Orlando Sentinel’s ‘Taking Names’ column by Scott Maxwell. His blog gives him a place to talk about each day’s column and to share stories about the column that a reader would find interesting. His recent coverage of ‘Lynum-gate’ has given readers a chance to see how the column has evolved…and to learn more than the column could ever hope to reveal.
    Want to see a good example of this? Check out one sports columnist’s case in point about Will Ferrell not always having a sense of humor!

  4. Netflix RSS

    I’ve noticed recently that Netflix is using RSS feeds for a number of things. Most interestingly, the company is allowing customers to subscribe to new release announcements. It makes it easier for customers to stay active with their accounts–a sure issue for customer retention.
    Many tend to assume that RSS is just for blogs. It’s important to remember that it can be used for a number of different applications beyond just blogs.

  5. Common Question

    I get a very common question (or variance thereof) when I talk to people–especially businesspeople–about blogs: ‘why does anyone care about blogs’? Restated, ‘why would anyone want to read about some stranger’s vacation’? Restated again, ‘why would anyone ever care enough to read a blog about someone’s sick cat’?
    My answer, in short, is another question: ‘why is America obsessed with reality television’? Perhaps it’s not an original parallel, but our society loves the trivial and true.
    Somewhere in some broadcast board room years ago, some TV executive probably asked the question: ‘why would anyone ever want to want to watch a group of college grads living together in a random city’? Or, ‘why would anyone ever want to watch a group of strangers compete for an immunity idol on a deserted island’? I could go on but I won’t!
    Agree or disagree with the parallel?

  6. Big/Small Company Blogging

    The St. Pete Times has a pretty interesting (and accurate) article about the different ways that small and large companies are approaching corporate blogging. Small companies seem to be embracing the medium faster than larger companies who seem to be taking more of a wait-and-see approach. It seems natural, though, in that larger companies have Sarbanes-Oxley issues, more bureaucracy to contend with, and–frankly–more to lose. The article describes attitudes in the business community which are consistent with what I see lately within small (more aggressive) and large (more hesitant) companies. Thanks to Josh, who is quoted in the article, for the tip.

  7. RSS – Thinking out Loud

    Many of you who read this blog are probably sick and tired of me talking about the ins and outs of RSS all the time. It really fascinates me, though…both because of the high potential and relatively low adoption rate. One thought I had this morning in the car: RSS is important with blogs moreso than online newspapers and magazines. With the latter there is an expectation of up-to-the-minute content freshness. As such, I know that I can go to an online newspaper at any time and see updated content. Not so with your typical blogs. Many of them go for days (or weeks) without any changes. My RSS-enabled reader keeps me from going to each URL all of the time. I’m afraid that if I subscribed to an online newspaper via RSS, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the flurry of content.

  8. The Death of Newspapers?

    Much has been said about the decline of print newspaper circulation lately. John Spiker has a few interesting thoughts as does David Deans on the growing popularity of newspapers’ online versions.
    Many newspapers are experimenting with various models to monetize the shift from print to electronic. The Palm Beach Post is exploring the use of reporter blogs, seemingly blended with the paper’s existing online ad network (as opposed to Google AdWords). The paper calls the effort “The Blog Squad.” I wonder if this effort will result in an incremental revenue thrust for the paper. Time will tell.