Golden Blogging Standards: Reality vs Expectations
If you want to build traffic, search rankings, and an audience through blogging; the golden blogging standards will help you shape a realistic expectation on how to proceed.
The Internet has definitely changed the way we share information, as well as the fundamental way that people interact with each other.
We’ve seen social websites skyrocket in popularity and usage over the past 5 years. Likewise; there are currently millions of blogs across the internet for every just about every topic one could think of. Some blogs appear to gain traction with relative ease, but literally tens of thousands simply get lost in the great online void. We’re going to take a look at the golden blogging standards that separate the successful from those that get lost in the depths of Google search. We’re also going to look at what your expectations should be when it comes to blogging for business.
A little history; The term Blog comes from the expression Weblog, in which “Web” represents the network/internet and “Log” the register an activity of some kind. Thus, we could simply define a Blog as an “online record”. But what are the principles of blogging that make it such a progressive online practice?
The Essence of Blogging
In short, blogging is the act of frequently publishing articles about a specific topic or market niche. These articles are also known as publications or posts and more often than not discuss subjects that the owner or writer(s) of the blog is interested in. The content itself can range from simple text to anything like images, graphs, tables, videos, slides, links, and audios… the ultimate goal being that each should be helpful to your audience.
Most bloggers take the common approach of providing daily or weekly (as long as it is frequent) content for the readers. In terms of blogging standards, content frequency is a widely debated topic among bloggers and essentially daily regularly scheduled frequent posting is what distinguishes a successful blog from one that isn’t.
Google’s current position is that fresh content isn’t favored when ranking content, but that doesn’t mean that fresh content isn’t a major factor to your audience!
As far as layout goes, most blogs tend to share a very similar structure. A blog usually features a home page where posts are displayed in inverse chronological order, that is, the most recent publications stay at the top of the page. Within each post or article, there is an area reserved for comments, where readers can leave their questions, suggestions, or even begin a discussion. This is the space for interaction between the blogger and the reader – one of the main features that distinguish a Blog from a Website.
Still, for a blog to work, you do not necessarily need to create articles with thousands of words; you just need to write articles with a certain frequency to build an audience.
Following up your content publishing, it will be most important to follow a standard blogging framework that goes from understanding what you want to say, to analyzing your results.
Subject: A strategy that rarely works is to try to appeal to everyone on your blog. Hence, it is crucial to start by defining what the blog is about and what it does not address. This is often entwined with the blogger’s personal interests.
Blogger(s): Who writes for the blog, a person or a team? If a team, who will make sure that whole team writes? Defining responsibilities is important to ensure blog continuity.
Audience: Of course, everyone will be able to access a given blog, but it is recommended to think about the ideal audience to reach. Once this is figured out, it is easier to define the “voice” or the way of speaking when covering topics.
Frequency: How often will a post be published? The blogger should ensure that the ideal frequency is guaranteed. Most successful blogs are viewed as news sources and as golden blogging standard have several posts daily.
SEO: You do not have to be a master in search engine optimization to run a blog, but it is important to have an idea of the basics. Understanding how Google works, choosing keywords, and take the first steps with site optimization is enough to get you started.
SEO Copywriting: Again, it is not necessary to be a master here, but you most certainly should understand the basics and more importantly what quality content means.
Yoast, one of the leaders in SEO plugins as well as seo content analysis practices a ‘holistic approach to SEO’. Your primary goal should be to build and maintain THE BEST possible website. It would be beneficial to take a look at their complete guide to SEO copywriting, if you plan on doing this yourself.
Ranking in Google will come automatically if your website is of extremely high quality.
URL: In order to have a blog, you need to have an address for it. There may be exceptions, but generally, this means using either blog.company/brand.com or www.company/brand.com.br/blog. Although it is common to use a free address through platforms like blogger.com or wordpress.com, it may not be worth it in the long run. By choosing this type of address, your company website does not take advantage of one of the main benefits of having a blog, which is to position yourself better in Google.
Content Management Platforms: When publishing content, it is important that the writer/editor can publish and change content without ever needing assistance from an IT team. In this case, content management systems (CMS) like Joomla and WordPress can make this easy.
Subscription: As a way to keep readers coming back to your blog, you should give them the option to receive posts by email or RSS. Options such as Feedburner serve to offer signature on the major content platforms.
Search: Having a search field helps the visitor find content quickly and easily, which assists in lowering the blog’s bounce rate.
Comments: Another reason to have a blog (if not the main one) is for the engagement it provides. Thus, be sure to include a space for visitors to comment on posts.
Share Buttons: Social media and email should be great traffic drivers for a blog, so it is worth to encourage users to share by liking on Facebook, sending via email, posting on Twitter, etc.
Wed Analytics: Finally, in order to measure a blog’s progress and thus understand what is and what is not working, a Web Analytics package is essential.
The Difference Between Blog and Website
Though subtle, there are quite a few differences between a Blog and a Website – many of which are important to understanding how you should be driving your business such as;
While the blog’s focus is to interact with clients and people interested in the theme at hand, a Website’s approach is more directed towards present and inform the audience about the products or services from a given company/brand in order to enhance business.
A blog has a simple structure for easy navigation, with posts usually organized by date and classified by categories. A website, on the other hand, has a much more “formal” navigation and (possibly) intricate structure, with a homepage that highlights the main areas of the site and directs the reader/viewer.
The content of a blog is approached in a more informal way, focused on a specific theme, and has the distinction of being updated with frequency. Meanwhile, a website has, again, a more “formal” aura and a narrower flux of content, thus not being updated as frequently as its counterpart.
In general, blogs are managed by the person or people specialized in the topic at hand, who often have full autonomy to publish new content. As for websites, depending on how big they are and whether they were developed by a designer or built on a platform, they sometimes need the assistance of the marketing department as well as the developer to add or remove content.
It is important to note that any business can successfully integrate both a service or product based site with a blog. This hybrid is very common and typically, produces better results for businesses online.
As a blog’s main feature is the possibility to comment on a given post and start discussions between writer and reader. Conversely, the interactions on a website are more systematic and revolve around lead generation through contact forms, emails, and sometimes chat.
Although blogs often have visitors who came from the main website, many of them are frequent and sometimes may have found it through Google. Since search engines enjoy frequency of content, many blogs are found in Google searches and are often promoted in a “viral” way. The website is usually the brand/company’s official online advertisement form and although it is also found on Google, it has less “viral” appeal.
More users are now going online to search for important information about products and services they would like to buy. According to a 2014 Google Report, millions of websites are being indexed but out of these, only 52%make any revenue. You might have the most fantastic-looking website but with poor or no return on investment (ROI), does your fantastic website really matter? A blog can change all this, especially if you are able to develop the right layout.
The Act of Blogging
During the past few years, blogs have ceased to be just online journals and personal records and have increasingly become an important channel of communication for businesses and individuals alike.
“A blog is a channel where you share your thoughts. Think of it as a public journal, diary, or even book. You can share personal thoughts, quick updates, or even educate others on what you learned.
What you publish is up to you, but I recommend that everyone try to at least blog for 6 months. Why? Because it is a great way to get feedback from others. In which people can leave comments and give you advice.”
– Neil Patel / He has written a Guide to Blogging.
“For me, a blogging is more than just a place to post new content on a regular (or, lately, semi-regular) basis.
It’s a hub for people to share their thoughts around my contributions to the industry (in my case, startups & marketing), and a home for anyone to discover new ideas about those topics.”
– Rand Fishkin / Make sure you check out his super-awesome post titled “21 Ways to Increase Blog Traffic”.
“Blogs are the new resume, the new business card, the new marketing brochure or advertising billboard and they’re quickly becoming a source of excellent income for many.”
– Amy Lynn Andrews / She teaches how to blog.
The approach to the art of blogging may differ slightly depending on the desire of the blogger, but one thing that remains constant is that blogging is an effective way to communicate with a particular audience or community.
Ultimately, this has led blogging to become an essential part of brand building online. As we move through 2018, creating an SEO strategy based on brand building is the best way to capitalize on the true objective of SEO, read more.
Among the many reasons why people start a blog, some main ones are:
- Create a network of like-minded people to discuss a common interest
- As advertising for a company or brand
- Share news and information about social and political issues across the world
- Build a portfolio or resume to highlight a given area of expertise
- Express a wide range of creative ideas, from imagery to texts and videos
- Share basic or in-depth knowledge over a given subject with those interested
- Make money online and develop a career
As in any project, creating a blog needs planning, dedication and a certain level of maintenance. If you are going to embark on this experience, you need to recognize that understanding and applying the golden blogging standards talked about above will be essential to achieving good results.