When readers arrive on your blog for the first time, what is their first impression? If it is educational and informative, they may read on. If it is purely self-promotional, they probably won’t click any further. The best blogs are not purely SEO driven; they teach, entertain, or provide value.
A few years ago, blogs carried more weight than today. For one thing, there were fewer blogs to read on any given topic or category. Some blogs contained longer features or full-blown articles that were well-thought-out and researched. However, personal rants and commentary have moved primarily to Facebook and Twitter. That does not mean that blogs are over; it is just that the nature of blogging has indeed evolved.
Blog platforms offer an abundance of features, plug-ins, and themes, and are free to use. Some offer paid plans and options for training and expert assistance, if needed. WordPress is widely considered the most attractive platform to search engines. In fact, 49% of the world’s top 100 blogs use this popular Web publishing platform, according to Cnet.com SEO plug-ins can be easily added to enhance optimization in WordPress.
WHAT IS THIS BLOG ABOUT?
Get your message across without making the reader hunt for it. Make the topic of the blog evident so the reader can judge whether it is of interest. Blog posts should have a concise and catchy title to entice the reader to go further. For example, “5 Tips for Speedy Recovery” or “How To Take Years Off Without Surgery.” Write a clear, brief introduction to the post. The title and introduction should be written to hook readers quickly. (Sweat the lead, as they say in journalism school.) Stay on point in each post; don’t add superfluous or unrelated information that may confuse the reader. Ask yourself, “What is the one thing the reader should be able to do after reading this post?”
WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM?
A blog should not be a repetition of Web site content. Topics can be repeated, but the phrasing, message, and content should be fresh to give the reader a reason to pay attention. The reason may be to get something that they cannot get on another platform; for example, an offer, an answer to a question by an expert source, or photographs of treatment results.
Editing, grammar, and vocabulary do count in blogging. If your blog posts are filled with typos, misspelled words, and abbreviations, people will not take them seriously. They may assume that it was written by a programmer not fluent in English. Poor-quality writing and incomplete sentences do not speak well of your brand. Avoid using overly long blog posts; 500 words is a good length as a guideline.
Avoid rambling; if your posts get too wordy or complex, you risk losing the reader’s attention. Break up run-on sentences and long paragraphs, and consider dividing long posts into two entries. Include relevant words that readers would normally search for in all posts.
WHO IS THE BLOGGER?
A practice’s blog may have more than one author, which adds another level of diversity and interest. Having different voices can be an advantage. This can include different practitioners, aestheticians, nurses, patients, or guest bloggers. If the blog is created with a separate domain name from your main Web site, the author and his or her credentials should be stated up front. The credentials of the blogger give the post credibility—since it is coming from the point of view of an expert.
WHO ELSE IS READING THIS BLOG?
Blog readers want to read what other people who have similar interests are reading. The social impact of blogging has changed because there are so many other platforms to participate and comment in. If you are not getting comments on your blog posts, do not despair. Repurpose the content for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or other platforms to get it out there. Subscribers to your RSS feed will also receive your posts.
WHY SHOULD THEY COME BACK?
The promise of new or more information can serve to beckon readers back. For example, one strategy is to develop blog content in a series, such as “Good Skin Foods Part I,” followed by “Good Skin Foods Part II.” However, don’t let too much time elapse in-between parts or the reader may forget to come back. Anticipation of new content that is compelling can create excitement in your readers, who will hopefully share your posts with their circle to create buzz for your blog.
HOW CAN THEY LEARN MORE?
Think about what you want the reader to do because of reading your blog post. For example, you may want to direct them to your Web site, a web page, a shopping cart app, Facebook page, or to call the office to book an appointment. Always include a link for the reader to get more information. Add a call to action at the end of your posts, such as, “If you enjoyed this post, click here to share it,” or “Write a comment; tell us what you think.”
Wendy Lewis is president of Wendy Lewis & Co Ltd, Global Aesthetics Consultancy, author of 11 beauty books, and the founder and editor of www.beautyinthebag.com.