Basically, blogs are a private matter. But at the latest since the Internet development made it possible to place ads on them or to register at an publisher on networks such as RankSider, people professionalize their hobby. The results are new requirements concerning form and content which make your blog appear more reliable, higher of value and, by that, attract more advertisers.
With our compact language training and some high-valuable advice concerning good content given by our SEO expert Christian Süllhöfer, we want to provide you with a manuel how to upgrade your blog in a way that both readers and advertisers will be gravitated to it.
Texts consist of more than just good content. Imagine it was a machine: flawless grammar represents the machine´s skeleton which is necessary to keep the whole construct working. Orthography is the fuel as it is a condition precedent to keep the machine alive. After all, each product needs a significant design in order to be eye-catching and reminded. That design is represented by your own personal and distinctive style of writing.
Grammar has been a terrible word since school. But if you have a gaze on it from a more distanced perspective, you will soon recognize the advantage of it: your words can be assembled to create the big picture if you match them correctly, in the way a puzzle is being completed and finally shows his whole beauteousness. That means: think well about your blogpost´s skeleton in course of it to be strong enough to carry the content.
First of all, create a first draft of your text, note supporting arguments and examples and structure your concept. Take care on your orthography already as making mistakes rapidly becomes a bad habit! If necessary, note how large each paragraph should be by adding tags such as “small”, “medium” or “long” at the border (maybe in another color). That secures you from getting lost in your own ideas.
Now start to transfer your concept into a comprehensive text. This first version does not need to be grammatically flawless already!
In case you are insecure, a classical monolingual dictionary will help you as it does not only contain almost every established words with their correct preposition, but also informs you on the most important rules of our language, gives some advice concerning the perfect phrasing and grammatical specifics. If you feel to need more profound knowledge on that, there is a specialized dictionary for almost every imaginable purpose such as phrasing, grammar and style dictionaries.
Unfortunately, you will not find a panacea for wording and grammar – at least, you are probably not an studied anglist. But the time invested in consulting a dictionary will pay multiple dividends in the end – yet as soon as you extend your own knowledge and decrease the number of your mistakes.
– after a colon, you start the following word with a small type (in American English, sometimes you rather use a capital letter)
– to prevent yourself from iteration, concern a synonym dictionary
– use vivid construct, i.e. more verbs than nouns
– you will find the right prepositions in every classical dictionary
– use elegant expressions such as metaphors, similes and poetic language
– don´t say (or write) “like” all the time
Take a short rest to get distance from your text. Then, take your time to screen paragraph after paragraph. In case you do not have the routine to check for both grammar and spelling at the same time, read each paragraph twice! Your readers will feel your efforts when reading your blogpost.
Your “machine” will not be distinctive till you add a unrecognizable feature to your machine: Your personal style of writing. But regard that a personal style of writing is no adequate excuse for rough grammatical mistakes! Use different linguistic varieties of language, depending on topic, your character and your readership: write casual, use onomatopoetic words, stay classical and plain, pyramid a lot of main and subordinate clauses, keep your sentences short and concisely, use dialect or national varieties, try youth language or lingo. Your opportunities are endless!
Everyone knows the decisive code word concerning this problem: Unique Content. Don´t make the mistake to copy-paste content from other websites! Not only that Google can punish you for such a try by letting you down in their ranking, but also your readers will probably recognize it. Both scenarios can be easily prevented from: creating unique content will turn you into the archetype of a successful blogger who attracts hundreds of readers and at least dozens of trustworthy advertisers.
By structuring your blogpost, you help your readers to follow your chain of thoughts and accompany you on your way to new knowledge. Besides, texts with a clear structure look “fluffy” and lighty and are therefore more likely to be read.
Hence, structure your text both regarding to content and optic. Regarding to content, your blogpost should be divided into introduction, main part with different paragraphs and conclusion. Your introduction should lead your readers towards the topic and increase the delight to read the whole text. To achieve this, use metaphors, similes and an casual style. Your conclusion should follow the introduction concerning style and content.
There is one perfect matching pattern for every kind of content managing to display its worth and support its structure.
Lists, reviews, instructions and interviews are just a small selection of master patterns you can use depending on the type of your content. If you want to arrange information, opinions, advice or mistakes, you should rather use a list as it enables you to structure the single points by using bullet points or subtitles. Lists do have the great advantage that they display a topic clearly arranged which makes the reader think reading them was less time-consuming than reading a comprehensive text.
However, more comprehensive texts such as reviews or instructions can be easily structured, too. Isolate cohere paragraphs from others by blank lines. If you want readers to make only a short break after reading a certain sentence within a paragraph so that they think about what they read, use a line break. Take care on all (sub-)titles to be in the same font and size and intensify words or sentences by using the very same method, e.g. formatting it in bold or italic.
Format quotations always in italic to stress that this isn´t your personal opinion but someone else´s.
Generally, you can say: create “fluffy” texts which means that you should rather use more than less blank lines and line breaks. Texts which suggest that impression are being more likely read than more compact ones, and that also increases the chance of your blogposts being shared and bookmarked.
“First impression has to hit home! This can be applied to blogs, too.” says RankSider SEO expert Christian Süllhöfer. But how does it work?
Of course, you can find free and chargeable layouts on the Internet. But how their quality actually is, can only be found out by trying them.
“Every single new layout should be put to the acid test: use it in different browsers to find out if the elements are still displayed correctly, test the mobile version to make sure no elements will shift unintended, and take care that the source text is clear. Even if you´re not a web developer, you should have a glance on the source text and check it for being as slim as possible. Naturally, there should be no mistakes occurring in the source text – you can find them even if your HTML knowledge is not profoundly. Moreover, you should take care that format and size of all captures, titles and subtitles are consistently and that pictures are easy to include.”
Particularly pictures are likely to cause problems and therefore make your blog look less professional, continues Christian Süllhöfer. They would have to be compressed, so that they have the same quality but the site needs a shorter time to load.
Even more important than the most eye-catching layout was, that your blog shows your personality, says Süllhöfer. “Because: downloading a layout is easy, but adding soul to a blog, that is the point.” That´s exactly because it was a mistake to disregard the “About” section. It shall show the person, the face beyond the text – it is the “virtualization of your real ego” says the expert.
Thus, write about yourself in detail – e.g. why you are blogging and what your experiences with blogging are (up to now), or what role blogging plays in your life. Great photos of yourself emphasize your personality and adds a familiar character to your blog which will fascinate your readers and bond them to you. Besides, you will enjoy a good reputation after short time!
“Sometimes, more is less.” says SEO expert Süllhöfer. “A modern layout consists of uniformity, intuitional handling and the fact navigation and all other important features including categories are placed prominently.” What exactly this means, will be explained in the further course.
“There are five points which are important in addition to the ones already mentioned – at least concerning the quality of a blog. Code words are: blogpost, navigation, categories, legal information and social plug-ins” says the RankSider marketer.
Blogposts should not appear in their full length on your blog´s landingpage but be displayed as a preview, at the best with a picture. That´s how the reader gets an overview on your posts and won´t be flooded by information.
If a reader is only interested in certain topic, he should not be forced to search through all of your blogpost. Therefore, create categories! They will show your readers exactly their points of interest and keeps them staying on your blog instead of leaving it frustrated. The same thing with navigation: the easier your navigation is, the more you help people like your blog.
Social plug-ins play a big role when it comes to the question if your blog is trustworthy. They create an atmosphere of trust and community. As a side effect, they will get you more visits. Therefore, you should make it as simple as possible to your readers to like and share a blogpost. Support their need to communicate, that´s how your visit statistics will increase remarkably.
However, one thing is even more important than all the other facts: your legal information. If you host your blog in Germany, you can be punished by a fine up to EUR 50 000 if you violate the so-called “Telemediengesetz” from 2009.
According to the German Federal Bureau of Justice and Law, almost everyone who hosts a website or blog in Germany has to have a legal information following those rules: It has to include at least one first name and the complete second name, a complete address including street, ZIP code and place and at least two possibilities to contact the webmaster/ blogger. Take care on the fact that, according to this law, you are not allowed to use a post office box for this purpose. The two ways to be contacted are e.g. eMail, contact forms or a telephone number.
Experts are still discussing if the legal information has to be legible by machines. But to prevent yourself from violating the law, rather use average text for displaying your complete legal information.
If you create a text, you need to do research. But where do you find helpful suggestions, news, current developments of your branch?
“First of all, it´s important to be up to date. Bloggers and webmaster should monitor social networks – especially on Twitter, a lot of experts share links and news. Besides, it can be helpful to search for Facebook groups with your topic. That´s how I always know who publishes which information when. But take care – you should prove that information carefully. It can be quite embarrassing to spread wrong information.”
Asked for an insider tip, the SEO marketer replies: “Well, it´s not an insider tip anymore, but in my branch the Website Boosting Magazine is a source of inspiration. Such professionally edited magazines often publish suspensive and high-quality topics.”
If you have found an idea, you have to create a concept. Introduction – main part – conclusion, that´s commonly known. But what to do if your ideas develop in your thoughts, but you don´t know how to put them down on paper? To prevent from a wirter´s block, it often helps to change the perspective: Do not write about your topic as an insider, but try to regard it from the view of someone uninvolved.
Don´t be frightened to note plain words at first! If the only thing that comes to your mind when thinking about a certain topic is “foolish” – ok, that´s a basis. Think about why it is foolish, what it makes people think about it in that way and how one could change it – yet, you have a structure in your mind.
As long as your topic is related to your blog´s focus and your information is brand new, you can´t do great mistakes. So let your creativity not being restricted by your fear of starting a new, high-quality blogpost.
In case it doesn´t work with your ideas, why not offering someone to publish a guest post on your blog? “About one guest post per week is the amount I would appreciate on my own blog” says Christian Süllhöfer. Regardless of whether you write a guest post or someone publishes one on your blog, it generates links and traffic. On top of that, you get better known in your branch and your reputation will increase – especially, if your blogposts doesn´t only follow the slogan “Content is King” but are also a perfect symbiosis of content and grammar, orthography and style. Therefore, let us complement the old slogan and say: “If Content is King, Style is the Queen.”
Research, concept, structure, content, pattern; grammar, orthography, style; layout, form, technique, law; creativity and imagination. These are the pieces of your puzzle called high-quality blogpost. As scary this task might sound to your ears, you shouldn´t be scared of changing your average, good blog into one which attracts more and more readers and advertisers. Set your own requirements to your blog, depending on your prospect and aims. There will be no perfect blog – but with these advice, we are in the advantage of the knowledge how to. We greatly hope that we could have helped you taking a step towards the right direction.
Christian Süllhöfer is RankSider´s SEO marketing and affiliate expert. Since three years, he runs his own SEO and affiliate blog zweidoteins.de and successfully supports businesses in his branch as a freelancer.