Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
According to GrowthBadger, more than 3 billion blog posts are published each year. In the U.S. alone, some 31 million bloggers post at least monthly. For many businesses and influencers, this tool has become a cornerstone, helping drive web traffic and brand awareness and greatly influencing sales.
Of course, there’s more to a successful post than typing thoughts in a Word document. The process is surprisingly tech-heavy, and ensuring that these technical aspects are functioning properly is key to providing an enjoyable reading experience.
1. Use Google Search to Find SEO Keywords
Search engine optimization is heavily focused on using relevant keywords to improve search rankings. Topics chosen for blog entries should be relevant to the site as a whole, so you can naturally include the keyword in the title and content of the blog. And while you aren’t going to get much traction with short keywords like “shoes,” long-form keywords can be a powerful way to strengthen SEO rankings.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do tech-heavy research to find them. As best-selling author and podcaster Jeff Goins recommends in a recent blog entry, “Use Google Suggest, also called autocomplete. When you start typing a word into Google and it fills in the rest of the search for you, this is Google Suggest at work. Before you finish, you’ll see phrases that pop up as most relevant (and the occasional ridiculous results). Start here before getting into more advanced forms of keyword research.”
Related: How to Pick Your First SEO Keywords
2. Use Plugins to Incorporate Extra Features
If you’ve spent much time scrolling through blogs, you’ve doubtless seen a wide variety of added features besides text: video embeds, social share features, interactive polls and contact forms are just a few used to make content more engaging. While this process may seem complex, it can be done via user-friendly plugins that allow you to take more of a “drag and drop” approach to formatting.
Regardless of which platform you use to host or create your blog, a variety of plugins or widgets can streamline the user experience and help a site appear more professional and user-friendly. The task is then to consider which features would be most beneficial to your audience, as well as which ones will enhance a particular post.
3. Engage New Visitors by Pinning High-Performing Content
As Jesse Schoberg writes for DropInBlog, “A visitor to your site will probably enter by way of one of your many blog posts. They then click around your site and see what else you have and are bombarded with information. A pinned post can serve as a great entry point into your site. You can pin the post with the highest conversion rate at the top or just a general post introducing the site to your user. The pinned post functions the same way a sign on a storefront would. It should be something inviting or exciting to entice your reader further into your site.”
You can look at your website metrics to identify posts with higher performance metrics, such as views, shares or comments, and/or select according to what you think would be the most interesting to your readers (such as a contest or giveaway), or evergreen content that serves as a strong introduction to your business.
Related: Why Blogging Should Be On Your Weekly To-Do List This Year
4. Let Coding Happen in the Background
There are a variety of platforms for hosting a purely blog-oriented website, some of which can add blog content to a pre-existing website, and you don’t have to engage an IT team to make this happen. Many platforms use drag-and-drop design functions, or give you the ability to copy and paste a specific code to make the appropriate update. In using these tools, the coding aspect of a blog essentially happens in the background. This not only ensures that text, images and other content looks right when it’s published, it also ensures that transferring a blog post to the live version of your site doesn’t mess things up elsewhere. The key is selecting a platform with publishing and editing features that you are comfortable with based on your level of tech expertise.
5. Make Sharing Easier
Sharing blog content is key to reaching and growing a target audience. As noted previously, a widget can enable readers to share content they enjoy through their own accounts, and the use of other automation tools streamlines the process of sharing content through your own social media accounts.
By ensuring that blog content is automatically shared to your accounts after it’s published, you don’t have to worry about the technical aspect of correctly copying the link and scheduling an attractive post for social media. By automating this process, you can spend more time focused on creating material that will compel followers to click.
Related: Social Media Engagement Is Where the Magic Happens for Your Business
When all the technical aspects of a blog are properly in place, you don’t have to worry about glitches and errors disrupting the reading experience. You can have confidence that content will be delivered to readers in a compelling manner, while also providing opportunities for them to easily share it with those in their circle.