Every time we start a new year, we do two things: look back to analyze the past year and look forward to make plans for a better year. If you haven’t already made adjustments to your blog’s content, social and SEO strategies, it’s not too late.

It is a perfect time to review your existing blogging strategy, determine if you have missed a thing or two, and make the necessary adjustments for the rest of the year.

We’ve compiled a list of tips that will help every blogger optimize their blog. These blogging tips will serve as a guide whether you’re starting a blog or are a professional blogger.

Either way, applying these tactics or making the below adjustments will help you take your blog to the next level in terms of growth and revenue.

To make the checklist easier to follow, we’ve divided the tips into four sections: content, blog design, SEO, and social.

CONTENT

1. Identify the topic/s you are going to write about. Are you going to stay in your current niche, or do you want to expand your blog’s coverage? Or, perhaps you want to change niches entirely. Deliberate deeply as it will greatly impact the direction your blog will take.

Just remember that you can’t be a blog like CNN or HuffPost – you just don’t have the domain authority or resources to write and cover everything. If you want to actually earn traffic, focus on a niche and then expand to adjacent niches.

2. Determine the best type of content for your blog. Evergreen, long-form content is always highly recommended. It attracts the most links from other bloggers, earns the most long-tail keyword traffic, and ultimately ranks the highest in the long-run without the worry of a Panda penalty.

However, not every niche requires the same content approach. Recipe and fashion blogs work better with a brief introduction and plenty of high-quality images. List posts are excellent for entertainment-related blogs.

Be sure to research the top performing blogs in your niche to make sure your skillset equips you for becoming a successful blogger.

3. Analyze your writing tone/style. If you’ve found a voice that is personable, reflects your personality, and allows you to connect with your readers, then stick with it.

The goal is to be relatable, not overly authoritarian or condescending. The easiest way to stand out in any niche is to be yourself because that is fundamentally what makes your blog unique.

4. Write an outline or bullet point your sub-headings, if necessary. This may sound like an annoying exercise from your high school English teacher, but the benefits are tremendous.

First, writing an in-depth post can quickly become confusing, especially if there are multiple factors or concepts you want to tackle. A simple outline can ensure your article’s sections flow.

Second, it allows you to research the keyword relevance of each sub-heading. When writing a blog post, one way to optimize your content is to make sure each section tackles a major, related keyword.

If you’re having problems writing an article from the get go, break it down into manageable increments by writing an outline.

5. Read as much as you can, especially from the prolific bloggers in your niche. This habit will also help with topic ideas, but more importantly, you get to learn from your peers – concepts, strategies, results of surveys, etc. You can also learn from their writing style and how well each resonates with their readers.

6. Devote time to craft the perfect headline. It’s been said a million times: headlines either pull or push readers. Invest the time to come up with 10 different headlines and choose your favorite. Even better, get colleagues or other bloggers online to give you their opinion.

7. Write to inform, not to impress. Readers don’t need articles with words that come straight out of the Oxford Dictionary. They want articles that provide useful information and solutions to their problems.

8. Infuse the body of your posts with other media. Complement your text with media such as graphs, charts, infographics, GIFs, and videos.

They can be used to present information in a more digestible way, drive a point home, or add humor to the content.

9. Proofread, and then proofread some more. There’s nothing like an article riddled with punctuation, grammar, and formatting errors to turn a reader off.

Furthermore, how you choose to phrase or present information can change when you step away from your post for 24 hours.

Proofreading takes care of most mistakes, but I recommend reviewing your post again after a day and coming back with a fresh perspective.

BLOG DESIGN

10. Invest in a premium theme. If you’ve just learned how to create your own blog, then you may still be figuring out how you want your blog to look and function.

However, if a free theme doesn’t cut it or your blog is growing and needs a more unique look, buy a premium one. It will pay for itself in the long run.

11. Redesign your logo. Many WordPress themes will simply write your blog’s name in the header. Based on trends and your branding strategy, consider redesigning your logo in such a way that it is recognizable on its own wherever you choose to use it. A unique image is really the best way to go.

12. Prioritize user experience. Beautiful is good, but it won’t keep visitors if the user experience is poor. Make navigation at the top easy, use reading-friendly fonts (experiment with types and sizes), and incorporate plenty of white space. Focus on content and make ad placement secondary.

If ad placement is a vital part of your monetization strategy, then design your blog so that the ads aren’t intrusive and don’t take away from the reading experience. Alternatively, find other ways to make money blogging, such as affiliate marketing.

13. Make mobile a priority. Most people read on their mobile devices today, so you need to ensure that your blog displays properly on different screen sizes and is optimized for mobile SEO. Always test your blog on multiple devices and browsers to ensure a seamless user experience and blog design.

SEO

14. Build a brand first. Your backlink profile will be strongest if you ignore keyword-rich anchor texts and focus on branding in the early stages.

For example, all your early backlinks should be AllTopStartUps, AllTopStartUps.com, All Top Startups, All Top Startups’ Blog, etc.

15. Edit your permalinks to contain your main keywords upfront. For instance, if your post is about content marketing and you want to target this phrase, your headline should be “Content Marketing – How To Build A Killer Content Strategy in 90 Days” and your permalink should be “/content-marketing/”.

This puts all your SEO focus on indicating to search engines that your post is all about content marketing.

16. Use the keyword naturally in the text. We all know that keyword density is a thing of the past and that keyword stuffing is the quickest way to a Panda penalty.

Instead, enter your keyword in Google’s Keyword Planner and find all the natural variations to incorporate in your text. Make sure your content flows; otherwise, no blogger will link to overly-optimized content that repeats the same phrase a million times.

17. Use your keyword phrases in subheadings. This is pretty explanatory, but since H2 and H3 tags are still SEO indicators that search engines use to learn more about your content, incorporating your keyword phrase in your headings and subheadings can help you send strong signals.

18. For images, use a descriptive phrase with your keyword in the alt tags. Again, this is really SEO 101, but use images to send search engines signals.

19. Make internal linking a habit. Always link to related posts, especially to evergreen posts. Internal linking helps distribute link juice throughout your site as well as aids crawlability and increases user stickiness.

While over-optimization for internal anchor texts has never been confirmed, be safe and don’t use the same phrase all the time.

20. Engage in link building, but place more importance on quality than on quantity. Guest posting is still a viable link building strategy, but focus on strong, authoritative domains instead of weak sites with loose editorial standards.

Do your research by evaluating a site’s overall profile, including reviewing authority, keyword rankings, site structure, social media presence and engagement, user engagement, etc.

SOCIAL

21. Identify one or two platforms you want to focus on. By focusing on a limited number of platforms, you can gauge what works and doesn’t. Ideally, the platforms you focus on are the ones most used by your readers.

For instance, food and fashion bloggers should focus on Facebook and Pinterest. Business blogs will see the most traction on LinkedIn and Twitter.

22. Make it easy for readers to share each post. Position your social media buttons in a prominent place so that readers can easily follow your account and share your content. The best places for shares are at the top and bottom of your posts.

23. Create a social media sharing plan. Save time and optimize your social media reach and engagement. Use hashtags that will get your updates found.

Update during the heaviest traffic hours. Limit the number of updates to avoid annoying followers. Experiment with different hooks to catch a social user’s attention.

Saving creative social media updates when ideas come to you can help add variety and give your readers content other than blog posts to keep your brand in mind.

24. Interact with your followers. Reply to tweets and comments. Retweet their updates if you find them interesting. Again, keeping users engaging with your brand is a way to build loyalty and familiarity.

25. Share other bloggers’ content. Although seemingly counterintuitive, sharing another bloggers updates and content is one way to get on their radar.

This concept of giving before asking is an example of how SEO and social media work together. By sharing, you build goodwill with other bloggers who you may want to collaborate and work with in the future.

The final word

Blogging is just like any other endeavor – to succeed, you have to work hard, be committed, find ways to differentiate yourself, and always deliver your readers (potential customers) value. While the above blogging tips seem fundamental, it’s because they are.

Like sports, it isn’t the fancy tricks or expensive training that is going to get you far. It’s the everyday basics executed consistently and perfectly that will help you grow your blog.

Founding Editor @Alltopstartups, Contributor @Entrepreneur, Columnist @Inc. Magazine and Curator at Postanly (my free weekly digest of the best life and career improvement posts on the web. Subscribe for free.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for this great piece of advice. I am not new to blogging but it’s a great thing to update the information you already have.

    I loved the way you discussed the niche part. Instead of completely shunning the idea of multi-niche blogging, you decided to sound a bit logical there. And then how one must think of the niche and then plan the year’s content. I realized I haven’t done that yet.

    Will work on it. :)

  2. Great article. When it comes to blogging, every little bit counts. In fact, these small things are what makes or breaks an internet business. Like in any other type of business , you need to be at the top of your game if you wish to beat your competition and create a company that will stand the test of time.

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