Do you really understand how to make a successful WordPress post? Read this guide for our top tips.
Used by millions, WordPress is expanding every day. Its user-friendly nature has allowed many new businesses to fast track their presence on the web and countless bloggers to establish a unique voice within their industry.
While WordPress offers a professional platform, you still have to put in a great deal of work to engineer content that is going to be consistently read in a way that builds the audience you crave. Below are ten techniques you need to be employing to maximise the reach of your blog posts:
Your post’s headline is the main pitch that sells the rest of your blog post. Make an attention-grabbing header and try to sustain its impact through the first lines of your blog post. A good way to start the post’s body is by posing a question – it makes you sound open and friendly and gives readers a direct opportunity to respond.
For example: ‘Can you build a successful blog with just one piece of writing a month?’, or ‘How do you get more people to read and share your content?’
A powerful statement will equally entice readers to continue investigating what you have to say. Alternatively a short anecdote is great for setting the scene – this should be a small story presenting a situation to which the reader will relate, or posing a problem to which your blog post will eventually find a solution.
Give something to your readers
Do not use your blog posts just to boost your SEO or as a way to funnel promotions down your readers’ necks. A blog’s primary role should give something to its audience – content that readers should find useful and engaging. Learn about what things your readers like by engaging with them in the comments sections, or by emailing contacts individually. Writing tutorial blogs or beginner-friendly advice are good ways to win the trust of, and to expand, your readership.
Make it yours
Avoid republishing someone else’s content on your blog. Rather, if you want readers to be aware of content that is not yours, provide a link to the content’s location. If you haven’t devised your content yourself, you should be offering more points of interest or a twist on the original concept.
Use widgets wisely
In WordPress a ‘widget’ is a small icon that sits in your sidebar. Whether it links to a Facebook ‘like’, a Twitter follow button, a short biography or information snippet, these little pathways have the power to add functionality and dynamism to your blog. Beware, however, if your blog has too many different feeds, updates and links to recent tweets, viewer fatigue will set in pretty quickly. Reduce your sidebars to the essentials by going into Appearance and Widgets and removing all the redundant items that threaten to undermine the calm and collected appearance of your cause.
Be on trend
What are people talking about now in your industry? Whether it’s the latest Jeremy Clarkson controversy, how the England cricket team is tumbling out of the world cup, or your office’s interpretation of the Harlem Shake, harnessing the cultural zeitgeist in your blog posts shows your finger is on the pulse. Be careful not to link every new blog to what’s going on, at the risk of being gimmicky, but this technique done properly will offer your readers familiarity and an easy way in to your content.
You’ve put your heart and soul into content for your site, so you want the major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo to be picking up your creation. There’s a lot you can do to make this happen – signs you can put out to help point out what’s important to the search engine giants.
The built-in WordPress permalink field at the top of the editing page allows you to revise your links before you publish them. Take out unnecessary words and design your description with keywords in mind, ensuring that the final text is attractive to read.
For example: Myblog.com/10-tips-for-becoming-a-better-surfer
You need compact permalinks that provide a concise outline of your post for search engines to understand, and this will help you rank a keyword that you’d like your page to be associated with.
Paint a thousand words
Images will enhance the look and feel of your page, but they should also be complementary to the content you have put up as well. They also work towards search engine optimisation. Keywords that you attach to your image’s caption and alternate text fields create text that appears when someone hovers the cursor over the image. Make sure the alternate text accurately describes the image you want to show, as this is what your readers will see if the image fails to load.
A video provides a third dimension to the content you’re putting out. It’s a great way to strengthen links with existing audiences, as well as an effective means of giving new viewers a quick presentation of your blog’s personality. To embed a link to your YouTube video in WordPress, just start a new line in your post editor and paste in your link. The video will automatically appear in your post.
Have a landing page
A landing page acts as the face of your site and is your chance to present what you are about without the distractions of menus, sidebars and related iconography. Many premium themes will have a template-landing page complete with plenty of white space to build a frontage for your domain. A landing page lets you direct visitors to the most important part of your site, in a way that makes the reader feel they have chosen to go where they are being led.
The bottom line
A footer on your WordPress site will enable you to give a copyright message or publicise a link to an important associated page. This can be expanded to a full content section through many premium themes, where you can host a short bio or links to popular posts or pages. When people scroll down your page, they’ll be expecting to see who is behind your site, so be ready with a potted explanation of who you are and what you do so that readers are engaged with this space.
A great example is the one that can be found on WordPress itself:
Even if you have devoted yourself to formulating ideas and opinions that will revolutionise modern society, they will fall flat unless equal attention is paid to how your information is presented.
Effective blogging calls on skills that need to be developed over time, so try not to be too overwhelmed by all the myriad possibilities when it comes to communicating your message in a way that works for you and your audience. You will have a more productive – and enjoyable – experience if you take your learning pathway slowly, recognise that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and invest time in experimenting with different methods and media until you start to see the desired results.