Blogs are the current rage, and many webmasters have blogs but fail to use their blog to it's full potential. Blogs provide a steady stream of fresh content, and if this content is written and managed properly, blogs have the ability to increase a website's ranking in the search engines.
1. Host Your Own Blog
In order to prosper from a blog, be sure to host it on your own domain. Hosting the blog on your own server will maximize the links to your website. Link popularity is one of the factors search engines use to rank websites. Resist the urge to use free hosting services, do not give away your link popularity!
2. RSS Feeds
All blogs should have an RSS feed. An RSS feed will allow for your blog posts to be easily syndicated. The syndication will result in links back to your blog from RSS directories or others who display the feed. Blog entries should be available via an RSS feed. Website visitors who subscribe to the feed will receive notification when new blog posts are added. If the title is of interest, they will click through to your website. This gives subscribers an easy way to know when a blog has been updated.
3. Use White Space
Be sure to make your content scannable. Few website visitors actually read blog posts; most web visitors simply scan a blog entry to determine its relevance or point. With that in mind, the blog posts should be displayed in short paragraphs. Overly long posts should be segmented into concise paragraphs or broken into bulleted lists to make scanning easier. Avoid the urge to "clutter" the post.
4. Titles Matter
You only have seconds to grab the attention of scanners browsing your blog. Use keywords and catchy titles to draw readers in. Blog post titles can be bolded for emphasis and white space should be used to buffer the content.
5. Grammar Matters
You will be judged by your knowledge and use of the English language. Search engines will make note of blog entries that lack proper punctuation or capitalization. If a blog post does not respect the rules of grammar and punctuation, it is possible search engines will make the assumption that a bot cobbled together the posts leading to a potential ban.
As with any web design select fonts carefully, do not use micro or macro-fonts. Colors should be web safe, making it easy to discern and read. The background and background color should not obscure the text.
Give readers somewhere to go, include links to additional information resources or extended information in the blog post. Including links in the actual blog post will ensure back links should the RSS feed be syndicated.
If you create a post about someone, let them know, they might surprise you and link back or they might blog about your blog post, essentially creating a virtual dialogue. This is an easy way to build link popularity. Be warned however, simply mentioning a popular blogger on a blog will rarely result in a link back, the content of the blog post must "grab" their interest.
9. Incorporate SEO
Blog posts should be written as you would write a web copy. Posts should be natural and make sense while still incorporating keywords and keyword phrases that relate to the content.
10. Speed Matters
Web pages that are slow to load will frustrate users, be sure to use reliable web hosting. Compress graphics to maximize load time.
Use your blog to help your website attract traffic. Attention to search engine optimization details could mean the difference between popular and unpopular.