Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just throw some text on a page or in a blog post, hit Publish, and be done? Then, the readers – and clients – would just start flowing in! How awesome would that be?
Well, it takes a little more than just throwing some text on a page or post, and this post will break down all the different elements you need to maximize your website to ensure a quality, search-friendly, and user-friendly experience for all.
Here are some best practices to follow:
- In addition to a well thought out title and great content, you also want to make sure you’ve added a Custom Title Tag and Meta Description for search engine optimization (SEO).
- Next, you’ll want to make sure your blog posts and pages look good! No one wants to read a long page or blog post with nothing bolded or highlighted in any way. Break it up to make it easier and more appealing for your readers. Add headings, bolds, italics, Click to Tweets, bullet points, etc. If we build your site, we’ll style your headings and other special sections to match your brand and provide you with a customized Website Style Guide so you’ll be able to use those styles when creating new pages or posts!
- Nice graphics are a must! From a featured image that appears on your main Blog page and at the beginning of your full post to images within the post (or page), they all help draw attention to the material, keep readers engaged, and give readers something visually appealing to share on social media. Whether you create your own graphics (via PicMonkey, Canva, Illustrator, or PhotoShop), hire someone to do so, or simply use attractive, post-appropriate photos, they can all help keep your posts interesting and visually appealing. Be sure to keep it legal and only use images and graphics you have the right to use.
- Close out your blog posts with your signature for a more personal approach. Want to make sure your signature looks the same on all your posts? No problem! Try the Add Signature plugin, then simply insert an image (your name in your favorite font, saved as a PNG) in the plugin and set it to automatically appear below every post. (Note: That plugin does say that it’s a bit outdated, but so far, we haven’t had any issues with it. If your encounter any, there are other options!)
The last piece of anatomy is the opt-in (well, ALMOST the last piece). There’s a good chance that most of the people reading your posts or pages aren’t actually on your email list. They may have seen your post on social media or had a friend send it to them. Having an opt-in area right below your post is a great way to capture the reader before they leave your site. Give people an opportunity (or, multiple opportunities around your site) to sign up for your list so they can receive your posts and other important information – delivered straight to their inbox.
We use the Magic Action Box plugin for the opt-in form below our blog posts (and other areas). They have a free version and a pro version, so check out the differences and then go ahead and install + configure the one you choose. In fact, the wonderful Leah Kalamakis wrote a post about Magic Action Boxes, what’s so great about them, and even how to set them up.
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Sharing + SEO
When you’ve written, edited, styled, added graphics, taken care of your SEO title and descriptions, signed it and added your email opt-in to a new blog post, it’s time to share it! Again, if your goal is for people to actually read your blog posts (which is probably the case for most people who actually have a blog), then you’re going to want to actually send it out. That’s where having an email newsletter comes in.
If you have an email list (i.e. in MailChimp), simply put together a nice email “campaign” for your subscribers and send them your blog post. You can put the whole post in the email or just a small portion with a “click here to read more” link. Just like with your posts, you can make your newsletters look however you want them to look. They can be short and sweet, they can include content exclusively for your subscribers, or they can just be a way to let people know you have a new post ready for them to read.
Finally, if you want to make it easy for readers to share your posts, make sure you have sharing buttons at the bottom and/or top of your posts. Add shareable icons for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media platforms you/your clients use. We use the Share This plugin on all of our sites, and we love it!
BONUS SEO: Each time you publish a new post or page, that post/page is indexed by Google. That means, your helpful information will increase your organic SEO. When your readers show you some love through sharing, that helps too! Learn more about the importance of blogging and sharing here.
Set your website up for SEO success!
Don’t forget to grab the Essential Page and Post Optimization Checklist!