Blogging Tip to Keep You Focused
I have no love for SEO. Too many sites use search engine loopholes that put big businesses trying to get out of paying taxes to shame. I have a hippy-dippy view of the web. I feel it should be a place of sharing and cooperation. (You can borrow my rose-colored glasses whenever you like.) I reject their use and replace my own.
So why use an SEO tool?
First off, Yoast’s SEO plugin is powerful and I don’t fully understand all of its doo-dads and widgets. As I type this post, just below the post box, is another box that asks for keywords. A tab, inside that box, called Page Analysis will look at my post for those keywords and compare the description words to my post, headline, and description.
(There is also an Advanced tab, but I’m not SEO smart enough to mess with that one. )
Keywords?! I don’t want to be that kind of blogger!
A cardinal rule constantly
screamed encouraged by the blogging ‘experts’ is to stick to a topic. If you blog for you or are keeping an online journal, please ignore and carry on as you were. If you are trying to sell something, spread a message, or connect with a particular niche or community – you probably want to stick to a narrow topic.
I will be the guinea pig here.
I sell a Blogging How-to book for Novelists and fiction writers. I enjoy writing and photography. I also have a special family life. I choose to blog about these things to sell my book, connect with other like parents, and to encourage creative lifestyles in our interesting times.
I need to stick to the topics: writing, blogging, photos, family anecdotes, memoir, inspire, novels, fiction (and a few synonyms of each). With me so far?
Hold that in your mind and join me on a short detour.
I also have Good Writer Checkify installed. In another box beneath this post box is my checklist. On that checklist is a list of those topic words from above.
Back to the main point.
To make a long story short (too late) – as I write posts I have one box with my topic words to keep my on topic. And another tool that will look for those topic words and fuss at me if I don’t use them. The checkify list reminds me what I set out to do and the SEO plugin makes me stop and really think about my headline and post description. If I set out to write a post about blogging, did I use the word blogging in my post and title? Did I use it in the description? Is the post really about blogging?
They are simply a pair of helpful layers that keep me on track. (I have discovered I need these, you may not.)
What about Checkify?
I sang its praises in the past. I love this simple little plugin. Over the years I’ve collected tips and tricks I want to incorporate into my blogging. I want to remember to resize and watermark my images. I want to look for backlinks so my reader doesn’t have to. I want to be able to answer a half-dozen questions for myself after writing each post. There may be something my readers like and I want to do more of it for them.
And I can be a complete scatter-brain. I need this list or none of it will ever happen.
Good Writer Checkify allows me 10 check-boxes I can customize however I want. No more excuses.
How does this work in practical application?
I am such a child when it comes to being told what to do. These are non-intrusive, gentle reminders. I can ignore them and nothing bad happens. I can check off each of them and the only thing I earn is the knowledge that I did what I set out to do. So far, it works very well.
How does this help the reader?
This is what it’s all about, right? It helps the reader by making it clear, instantly, what the post is about. I’ve read bloggers who are super creative with their post headlines – and for some it pays off. But I think it’s a gamble. Most of the time the reader isn’t going to want to dig through a post to learn what it’s about. Just tell them up front. (Writing great headlines is a must for all bloggers.)
How many times have you needed help with a topic and just can’t find the right website or post? Stronger descriptions may have helped you find that information faster.
Your reader comes to your blog to read about your topic. Keep them happy by sticking to that topic.