You’ve started a blog. Great! But, are you getting the number of readers you thought you would? You get disheartened. You think of quitting, because, well, you started the blog to share your knowledge, wisdom, opinions, solutions to readers’ problems, and generally get noticed, right?
I’m not going to provide tips about why you should blog, what you should blog, inspirational ideas, blog topics, or about starting a blog. There’s plenty of that kind of advice on the Internet already.
In this article, I’m going to talk about some simple things you can—and maybe should—do to potentially increase the number of readers you get.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) means making your posts more search-engine-friendly. This means your post will rank higher in the search engine results page (SERP) when someone searches for the topic you’ve written about.
The aim is to get your post onto the front page of the SERP, where it has a higher chance of being clicked. If you’ve monetized your site, that converts directly to money.
All examples are based on WordPress, but the tips will apply to almost any platform.
The first thing you need to think about is the keyword. The keyword is a single word or short phrase that indicates the subject of each post. If you have lots of keywords, though—lots of subjects—you should probably break the post into more than one, with a separate keyword for each post.
For example, the keyword for this article is ‘blogging tips.’ It appears in the title of this post, in the URL (uniform resource locator,) and throughout the content of this article. This is good SEO.
Most themes have some kind of SEO built in, but I also have a plugin, WordPress SEO to give me advanced functions.
Speaking of themes, you need to have a responsive theme. A responsive theme adjusts its layout to look good on different mobile devices, as well as desktop or laptop computer screens.
With 60% of Internet access being via mobile devices, it’s important that you make the viewing experience as good for these users as it is for the PC users.
There are plenty of free themes for most blogging platforms, but it may be worth your while to pay money to get a really nice looking one, or for some professional support.
While Google has removed its “Mobile Friendly” label from search results, their algorithm still evaluates the mobile-friendliness of your website.
Check whether your site is mobile friendly using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Articles with images get more shares than those without.
When including images on your site—in Posts and Pages—there are a number of issues you must consider.
- file size
- intellectual property
- title and alternative text
The images you use must be high resolution. It’s better to scale down a large image than to scale up a small image.
Use Google’s Search Tools on the image page to show only images of a certain size.
Unfortunately, large high quality images are usually many megabytes of data. This data has to be downloaded to the reader’s PC or mobile device, which makes the page load more slowly.
There are two ways to reduce the file size of an image.
- Reduce the pixel size
- Optimize the image for the web
Reducing pixel size
This is simply scaling down the image in your favourite image editor. For me, it’s The GIMP.
For example, an image that is 858KB at 1024 x 768 pixels will reduce to 274KB when resized to 50% (512 x 384 pixels). That’s a 60% reduction in the image data that needs to be downloaded.
Optimizing images for the web
We can reduce the file size further by reducing the quality of the image, and removing extra data that is usually embedded in images.
Using GIMP, we Export As… a JPG/JPEG, and use the Advanced Options to remove embedded data and reduce the quality of the image.
We’ve reduced a 858KB image down to 75.6KB.
You should aim to keep images under 150KB, unless it’s an image which readers expect to be large, such as an infographic.
The images should be free to reuse without any copyright restrictions. This is especially important if your site is monetized, or you plan to monetize it in the future.
Again, Google’s Search Tools can help you with this.
Select the Labeled for reuse with modification option.
Alternatively, there are many places where you can download and use images for free. Here’s a list from Digital Inspiration.
Title & Alternative Text
You must make sure that the title of your images have the article’s keyword. The easiest way to do this is to copy the article title in to the Title and Alt Text fields when inserting each image.
If your theme includes a featured image, and you decide to include one, the same goes for that image, too.
After that, include the title of each specific image.
The Alt Text text is displayed if images are not displayed for any reason. It’s a nice idea to include a caption, too, but that is entirely your choice.
I’ve given you three tips that you can use to improve your