16 Helpful Tips For Better Blog Formatting & Structure

Reblogger Rich Jacobson
Real Estate Broker with Keller Williams West Sound Realty

Count on Justin to serve up his usual faire of really excellent "How-To" tips! This guy is insanely talented when it comes to the more technical side of blogging and social media. Subscribing to his blog is a MUST!

Original content by Justin Smith

A couple months ago, I decided to create a post on my Searching Solutions Blog that contained a giant list of blogging tips on everything from setting up an effective blog, to advanced SEO tactics.  It has become a regular feature of my site, and something I update every week with new tips.  There are currently over 100.

I'll be posting portions of the list on AR for reference.  If you want to see more, make sure to check out the origianl list here: Ultimate Guide to Blogging

 

** If you plan to link to or bookmark this guide at some point, please do me a favor and link to the original at: www.searchingsolutions.com/blog   Thanks for your help!  **

 

Here are some of the categories I cover in the guide:

 

Contents:

  • Tips For Getting Started
  • Basic Blog Formatting & Structure
  • Blog Design & Features
  • Blog Content Tips
  • Blog Participation
  • Blog & Article Promotion Tips
  • SEO For Blogs
  • Social Media


Here is part 2 in this series on Blogging Tips:


Basic Blog Formatting & Structure:

  • Learn How to Make a Blog Post Pretty - There is nothing worse than a poorly formatted blog post with alignment problems, multiple fonts, poor use of bolded text etc.  Practice aligning pictures, and previewing posts before you publish.
  • Proofread - I’m as guilty as anyone in this area…  Spelling AND grammar.  Frankly, it makes you look like a dork when you mipsel wrds in a poast.
  • Use Complimentary Pictures - As opposed to uncomplimentary… think about how a picture can actually add value to an article.  What does that picture communicate to the reader?  Is it valuable, or is it just wasting space.
  • Learn a bit of html - There are great wysiwyg editors on most blog platforms these days, but a basic knowledge of html will save you in some instances when your editor is being uncooperative.  I still struggle with line breaks in Wordpress… argh!  Focus on basic things such as: bold, headings, hyperlinks, spacing, breaks, etc.  Need help?  Try this html tutorial site
  • Choose Your Categories Wisely - For most blogs, categories act as a sort of table of contents.  Try to stay under 15 if you can and use them as an outline to stay on topic.
  • Subtitles are Crucial - Big blocks of text are the last thing people want to read online.  Even if it’s the best article ever written, people will still only scan it to find what they are looking for.  Try to break things up by using subheadings (H2-H4).  Don’t go more than 10 lines without breaking it up.
  • Create Lists & Use Bullet Points - The list post is a classic way to catch readers attention.  One of the reasons they are so popular online is because they are easy to digest.  The same can be true of bullet points.  If you can condense your ideas into small chunks, your readers will thank you.
  • Fewer Words - Don’t use 10 when 7 will do.
  • Titles Are Your Most Important Asset - Yes, you heard me right.  Titles can make or break a blog.  Not only is it the first thing people see on the page, but it is typically the first thing people see in search engines as well when they find that post.  Titles have implications with: search engine ranking, click through rates, clickability, readership, subscriptions, popularity, sharing, bookmarking, and more.  The perfect title will capture the attention of an audience by using emotionally charged words, and also include relevant keywords to help you rank higher in the search engines.  Check out Brian Clark’s blog for ideas.  His titles are so good it’s almost sickening…
  • Hold Off On Advertisements - Some new bloggers are gung-ho to throw adsense and banners all over their blogs thinking that somehow it will help supplement their efforts.  But this is rarely the case.  I suggest at least a few hundred subscribers before launching an ad campaign.  The last thing you want to do is turn off potential readers with intrusive ads.
  • Ditch Your Blogroll - The traditional blogroll appears in the sidebar of your blog… which in turn appears on every page of your blog… bad.  If you can’t help but create a large list of your blogging peeps, create a single page.  Your internal Page Rank will thank you.
  • Set Up Keyword Rich URL Slugs - Some people will argue that using a URL with an ID number is better for usability, such as: http://yoururl.com/post/1234   But I suggest using a keyword rich slug that matches the title of the post.  Not only will this improve click throughs in search engines, but it will also help identify your hyperlinks.
  • Can’t Help But To Monetize Through Advertisements? - A couple tips ago, I suggested holding off on advertising, but if you simply can’t help yourself, there is alternative.  Try some affiliate marketing.  This is a super easy way to make money from the sites that you are probably already linking to.  Simply sign up for the affiliate program, and when you create links in your posts to different services/products, make sure to include the affiliate code so you make some money if that person converts.  This can also work well sprinkled throughout an email newsletter.
  • Include Relevant Pictures in Posts - Pictures and visual elements can speak volumes by themselves in a blog post
  • Editing Pictures - Of Course Photoshop or Photo Elements are good choices, but if you’re technically challenged in this area (like me), try an online tool like: picnik.com, or a simple editing and screen capture tool like Snag it.
  • Finding The Best Pictures for Posts - I prefer to use a site like istockphoto.com where you pay a small amount as a license fee per photo.  But there are plenty of ways to get free pictures too.  Read this post about licensing before you go “borrowing” pictures from Google Image search.

 

 

** If you plan to link to or bookmark this guide at some point, please do me a favor and link to the original at: www.searchingsolutions.com/blog Thanks for your help! **

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Bill Gassett
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Rich - Jason is excellent at his craft that's for sure!

January 15, 2009 12:06 PM
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Thanks for the post, Rich:) Justin is indeed a great mind and offers really valuable tips anyone interested in bloggins should read:)

January 15, 2009 04:11 PM
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