If I asked you to name your biggest blogging challenge, I bet you’d say it’s not having enough time. Or perhaps, not knowing how to use the limited time you do have.
How do I know? Because whenever I ask this question, I get these answers over and over again. Plus, I feel that way myself at times!
And while there’s no perfect, one-size-fits-all answer, I’ve discovered some blogging tasks are more worth investing in than others.
So, today I’m starting a new blog series to answer the question, “How should I spend my limited time as a blogger?” I’ll be sharing the key areas of blogging I think are worth focusing on, along with some tips and best practices for each area.
Ready to dive in?
Worth it Blogging Task #1: Blog SEO
Search engine optimization. Three words that bring forth groans from bloggers and entrepreneurs world-wide. Yet, I’ve never heard anyone say it’s not important.
Search engine optimization (SEO) helps people find you when they search for a particular topic on Google, Bing, or any other search engine. For example, if someone searches “definition of joy” or “biblical joy” they are shown this post I wrote about the biblical definition of joy.
So why is SEO important? Think about your own tendencies, if you want to know something, where do you turn? If you’re like me, you pull out your phone (or computer) and perform a Google search. The truth is, people do not go on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter to search for content. Therefore, SEO allows new people to find you.
Currently, ranking in search engines brings me the majority of my website traffic. But this wasn’t always the case.
What no one ever tells you about SEO
I started focusing on SEO—making sure all my posts were optimized—only a few months after starting my blog, but it took over a year for it to becomes my top traffic referral source. Believe it or not, this is completely normal for new websites.
Search engines prefer popular content from established websites, so a brand-new website or a brand-new blog post is unlikely to rank high in search results. But don’t let that discourage you! The sooner you start optimizing your blog posts, the quicker you’ll get recognized by search engines. Just be aware it takes some time.
3 Important Ways to Optimize Your Blog Posts
1. Write great content.
Let me take a minute here to say something: The key to growing your blog, no matter where you spend your time or what strategy you follow, is great content. In fact, writing great content should actually be the very first “worth it” blogging task. Keep this in mind throughout the whole series.
Okay, now let’s think like a search engine.
A search engine’s job is to find the very best content on the internet. Content that is clear and helpful to the user who performed the search. In fact, those are two questions you should ask yourself about every blog post. Is my post clear? Is it helpful*?
*A helpful post doesn’t mean it needs to be a how-to post, an inspiring or encouraging piece can be extremely helpful, but every post needs a clear purpose.
2. Make your post easy to read.
Online readers are skimmers. This means it’s rare for someone to read a post word for word, at least a first.
Easy to read posts are made up of short paragraphs (2-3 sentences), headlines, and bullet points or lists. They also use easy to understand language, short sentences, and clear transitions.
Learning to write for an online platform is different than how you learned to write in school, so it may take some time to get used to.
3. Make your topic clear and chose a relevant keyword.
When talking about SEO, lots of people automatically jump to keywords, but I’ve put it last here for a reason. I believe, your content should dictate your keywords.
It’s like Crystal Paine recently said on Instagram, “The SEO experts will tell you to focus on keywords that will do well in search engines. I say focus on creating keyword-rich content that will serve your current and target audience well.”
You can and should still perform keyword research. For example, you may want to find out whether “prayers for kids” or “prayers for children” is a more common search. The point here is, if you choose one clear topic for your blog post then optimizing for SEO becomes much easier.
One final tip, I highly recommend using the Yoast SEO plugin on your website, which gives you feedback on both readability of your post and the keyword you’ve chosen.
If SEO feels overwhelming, do some more research and find more help. My intent here wasn’t to give you a full tutorial on SEO, but rather to help you identify areas you may need to invest in for your blog.
Ready to invest in a full SEO tutorial? Then I highly recommend SEO Fundamentals for Christian Bloggers. LeeAnn teaches SEO in a way that’s easy to understand and gives you practical steps for optimizing your entire website. The best part? It’s designed specifically for Christian bloggers. Check it out here.
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