As writers, we sometimes get so involved in our craft that we neglect the more technical aspects of our blog. It's easy to get so engaged in the process of creating content and totally forget the "moving parts" of the blog.
We sometimes forget that it is a type of website that requires maintenance & tweaking and sometimes a significant overhaul to make sure it ranks properly on the search engines. I want to touch on three specific parts of your blog that are absolutely essential to your success. They are backlinks, permanent links (permalinks), and comments section.
(See "Newbie Blogging" prelude and parts 1, 2, and 3)
These sections are so important that you would be doing yourself and your potential audience a great disservice by ignoring them. First let's deal with back links:
These are also known as inward or inbound links. Search engines like Google are constantly providing linking urls to relevant and authoritative websites and blogs to make web surfing easier for internet users.
When you provide content that is helpful and/or useful for the majority of folks that are looking for it (especially webmasters) you may receive a referring link to your original article from another source. It's like getting a vote of approval in an election campaign.
For example, let's say you have a blog that deals primarily with clothes pins (don't laugh because there are some out there) and you write an article that explains not only how to effectively use clothes pins, but it even provides a detailed history possibly not found anywhere else on the web.
Your content at this point may not only be viewed as helpful and informative, but it may also help someone who may have had questions about the subject or may be even used as a resource for someone else researching that subject. Just like in the non-virtual world, good news travels fast and word of mouth can propel it to light speed level.
Imagine, not only getting a link or two referring to your article, but also getting folks to talk about it on the social networks. If this keeps up, over time your blog may be viewed as an authoritative resource. One link turns into dozens which multiplies into hundreds. More and more people will want to visit your blog, this is where your site's traffic picks up and may equal into a higher ranking on the search engines.
In short, great content only helps. Keep at it and your results will be long lasting.
If backlinks are like unto popular votes for political candidates, then permalinks are the votes that the candidates cast for themselves. Anytime you post an article to your blog, it automatically creates a unique url identity (ex: www.whateverclothespinblog.com/how-to-use-clothes-pins.html).
This, of course, makes your individual articles easier to find (if you have adequately researched your subject) as well as your blog. Permalinks are a permanent part of your blog's history. Keeping this in mind should encourage you to do your very best on every article and random posting you put up on your blog.
Remember, this is a reflection of you and can leave a lasting impression with potential readers.
Although you personally may not feel as though comments are part of your blog's content, many of your readers may feel differently about them. In 2008, there was a study completed to determine the reading habits of most website visitors. Surprisingly, most visitors tend to do three things consistently:
- Glance at the article title
- Read the first two sentences or first paragraph (if you've got an engaging article)
- Pore over the comments (for hours sometimes!)
There is a psychological reason for this. It's because people love opinion-based dialogues.
Think about it for a minute.
Let's say you are at a seminar and the speaker is talking about an interesting (or even controversial) subject matter. If the speaker is effective, the topic automatically engages the audience.
After the speaker has completed their session, they open the floor for discussion or questions, then you start hearing two or more people in the audience passionately debating the issue. Depending on how heated the debate is, the speaker may even have difficulty regaining control over the audience.
Which part of the seminar will be most memorable, the speech or the debate?
This is NOT to say that every list of comments on a blog need to be controversial, but it does grab attention. Here's an example from my own blog to help sharpen the image I am projecting to you:
As many of you may recall, this is one of my most popular posts on this blog. The subject matter was controversial, but what made it a winner was the exchange between two of my readers as illustrated above. Their debate over the article, caused a mass influx of steady traffic to this blog for a period lasting over 60 days (incredible!).
Comments work both ways. In order to drive traffic to your blog, you should also comment as well:
Read more: http://marsupialmind.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-keshia-interview-part-two.html#ixzz2nrmrTNNr
As a blog author you have a reputation to maintain. It's up to you on whether you have a good or bad rep. It's a good idea to at least try responding to some of your reader's comments from time to time (especially if there is a question or if there is a controversy like the one above). You should also try visiting other blogs in your niche(s) to read and comment relevant to the article. Anything less is an insult to the author:
Read more: http://marsupialmind.blogspot.com/2012/08/first-question.html#ixzz2nrxlAd6e
This is an example of what may happen when an affiliate link is inappropriately added to commentary. It does no good for the author & it does even worse for the commenter. Again, this is perceived as disrespectful and may even get you banned from a blog. Don't do it, it's not worth it.
However, if you continue adding good and well thought-out comments you may gain favor with the author and you may even get invited to post an article.
I hope this article helps you understand these three important components of your blog more clearly.
Feel free to leave a comment below.
Up Next: Newbie Blogging: Part 5
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