Eight Creative Tips to Improve Your Blog Writing Strategy

Creative Tips to Improve Your Blog Writing

If you’ve followed any of the updates from Google over the past year or so, you know all too well that one of the most important things you can do to help your site rank well is to focus on quality content.  High quality content is essentially the lifeblood of every site, and if you don’t have a steady flow of it, your rankings will soon start to suffer.

The problem is, it can become difficult to come up with fresh and interesting ideas to write about week in and week out, especially if you have a fairly narrow niche that you are focused on.  Review the following ten tips to help product creative posts for your blog on a regular basis.

Tip #1 – Top 10 Lists

If you’re reading this, you’ve proven this point already.  People love top X lists, and they make great posts for just about any type of site.  If you’re worried about coming up with ten points to make, remember that it doesn’t always have to be 10.  You can come up with a list of 3, 5, 8, 11, almost any number will work well.

Top 5 and top 10 are fairly standard options, so you might want to start with those.  Some people, however, think that going with an unusual number actually gets more attention.  For example, going with ‘9 Great Tips for X’ may perform better than ’10 Great tips for X.’  To my knowledge, I don’t think anyone has done a case study on this. Give it a try on your website and see what works best for you.

Tip #2 – Publish Studies

People love learning more about topics that they are interested in, and studies are always an attractive read.  The big thing to remember here is that you don’t have to be a Harvard professor to complete a study.  Anytime you are doing your own market testing or research, you’re technically doing your own study.

Using the example from the previous tip, you could test different tops of “top X” lists and see which ones perform best for you.  Once you have gathered all the data, post about the results.  People will appreciate the work you did, and may be able to learn a lot from it.  Just make sure you are honest about how you did the study, and make sure it is relevant to your target audience.

Tip #3 – Write like You Talk

One of the hardest things for many writers to do is start breaking some of the grammar rules that they’ve worked so hard to learn.  While grammar is certainly essential in most cases, you can also cut loose every once in a while and write a more causal post that sounds much more conversational.

Using common phrases like, “You’ve gotta hear about what happened next.” Or, “keep reading, you’re gonna love it.” Can help to spice up your page.  Some people will say that search engines only want perfect grammar, but there is really no evidence to support this.  Search engines want engaging content that readers benefit from, and in many cases, a casual article is just the thing.  There have been some important studies and other research that has gone into this, and writing in a more casual way is definitely a good idea, at least some of the time.

Tip #4 – Follow the News

For most niches, one of the best ways to come up with new things to write about is to follow the news.  You can sign up for alerts whenever a new story is published about your niche, and then write a post about it.  Whether it is something simple like a new CEO for a company in your niche, or it is something slightly off-topic like a celebrity being seen with your product.  News stories are always a great addition to any site.

Tip #5 – Shake up the Length

One of the most commonly cited blog writing tips around is that good blogs should be 500-1000 words long.  There are all types of reasons given for this ranging from this is the ideal length for holding the reader’s attention to people thinking that it is best for SEO.  The reality is, however, that the length of your post really doesn’t matter.

Your focus should be on providing the best possible post that you can.  Sometimes that will take 200 words, sometimes it will take 2000.  You should never concern yourself with word count, but just make sure you get all the necessary information into each post no matter how long it takes.

Tip #6 – Get Off-Topic

Another major mistake site owners make is always having every single article they post on one specific topic.  If you have a site about cookie recipes with caramel in them, for example, you may be tempted to only write about this very narrow concept.

While you certainly do want to focus on this more than anything else, it doesn’t hurt to talk about loosely related things as well.  For example, you could post about an amazing brownie you had at a party, or post about how caramel is made.  As long as the topics are in some way related to your main niche, people will appreciate the change of tune every once in a while.

Tip #7 – Do Keyword Research (But Ignore the Numbers)

If you’re looking for a really great way to quickly come up with dozens of good ideas to write about, start doing some keyword research.  While typically thought of as an SEO strategy, keyword research tools are great way to quickly generate lots of ideas.  It doesn’t really matter if the keyword is popular or not, your goal should be to write a quality post that your readers will enjoy.  The SEO research isn’t about numbers, it is about ideas!

Tip #8 – Interviews Rock!

If you’re really stuck on an idea, consider reaching out to others for help.  The best way to do this is to ask others in the industry, or in a related industry, if they would be willing to do an interview for you. Written interviews are typically easy to perform, and many people will be happy to complete them in exchange for little more than the free publicity they will get.

Come up with a few dozen questions that you can ask people, and choose the best ones for each interviewee.  There are many resources out there to help you come up with the right questions so you can really interview like a professional.  When ready, send out interview requests to everyone you can think of that is in your niche, in a related niche, or uses products from your niche. As people begin to respond, you’ll find that you have a good supply of ready-made posts for your site!

Bonus Tip: QUALITY QUALITY QUALITY!

To wrap this up, let me just reiterate the fact that no matter which of these tips you use, the most important thing is that you do it with quality in mind.  Quality doesn’t always mean perfect spelling and grammar (though that is typically a part of it).  Quality means only posting things that people will actually want to read.  This is how you will build your audience over time, and more importantly, build a solid relationship with that audience, which is really the true point of any website.

If you are still having trouble coming up with great ideas for your blog, consider contacting us for help.  We have seasoned writers on staff who would be happy to create custom content specifically for you.  This content will be interesting, engaging and optimized so the search engines will love it.  We will work with you to determine the type of content, and what type of goals you want it to accomplish.  Your satisfaction is guaranteed.

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WordPress Performance Optimization Tips

WordPress Performance Optimization Tips

WordPress is the most popular content management system (or blogging platform, if you will) in the world today.  While WordPress is the backbone of millions of webpage’s, they aren’t all created equally.  One of the biggest things that set one site apart from another is the speed at which it responds to requests.

If you have found that your website isn’t loading as fast as you would like, the chances are pretty good that the issue lies with your particular configuration of WordPress.  Fortunately, in addition to being exceptionally customizable, WordPress is also extremely easy to optimize.  If you implement these simple optimization tips, you’ll likely find that your website response times will be dramatically improved.

Optimization Tip #1 – Eliminate Unnecessary Plug-ins

wordpress plugin speed test

There are hundreds of thousands of plug-ins available for WordPress sites, many of which can add powerful features to your site.  Over time, many website owners end up installing many of these plug-ins, which they don’t actually need.

Each time a plug-in is installed on your site, it adds additional code that needs to be processed when each page is accessed.  In many cases, it can also add additional files that need to be transmitted to each user.  If you find that you have multiple plug-ins that you really don’t need, disable them to help your site run faster.  Disabling plug-ins is extremely simple with WordPress.  To do it, follow these quick steps:

  1. Log into your WordPress admin panel.
  2. Click on the Plug-ins menu on the left side.
  3. Locate the plug-in that you want to disable.
  4. Click ‘deactivate’
  5. *Optional* Click Delete – If you know you won’t want to use this plug-in again, you can delete it completely.

If you are planning on disabling multiple plug-ins, it is a good practice to only do one at a time, and then test your site after each.  This is to ensure no problems are created from disabling a plug-in.  While it is very rare, it is always best to be cautious.

Optimization Tip #2 – Limit Comments Per Page

wp optimize review

If your content gets a lot of people to make comments, you will want to make sure you limit how many of these comments are showing on each page.  For example, if you have a blog post with 1000 or more comments, it is necessary to break these comments up into pages.  This will limit the amount of data that has to load with each page, but will still allow your visitors to read and benefit from all the comments.

This is a feature that is built right into WordPress, so you’ll just need to enable it if you haven’t already.  To break comments into different pages, follow these easy instructions:

  1. Log into your site’s admin page.
  2. Click on Settings on the left side.
  3. Click on Discussion under settings.
  4. Under the heading ‘Other comment settings’ make sure the last box is checked.
  5. Limit the number of top level comments per page to 50 or fewer.

In addition to benefiting the load times on each individual page, it will also reduce the overall server load, which can have some beneficial impact on your site’s response time.

Optimization Tip #3 – Enable Caching

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Cashing is a technology that allows visitors to store certain files on their computer so they don’t have to download from your web server every time they come to your site. When you enable caching on your WordPress site, the total amount of requests your web server experiences will go down dramatically, which can help load times to go down as well.  In addition, the individual visitors will see faster load times because they don’t need to download as much data with each page.

There are several great WordPress caching plug-ins available to choose from.  We recommend W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache, both of which are free and very easy to setup.  Simply search for them on the WordPress Plug-ins page and enable them to get the great optimization benefits.

Optimization Tip #4 – Offsite Hosting of Videos

multiple wordpress sites on one host

A growing number of people post videos on their websites, which is great.  If you are hosting these video files on your own site’s web server, however, it can really hurt the performance.  Fortunately, WordPress makes it really easy to embed videos that are hosted on other sites like YouTube.

If you love posting videos, make sure you upload them to YouTube or other similar sites first, then simply embed them so that they aren’t causing your site to slow down.

Optimization Tip #5 – Minify JavaScript & CSS

minify js and css online

WordPress uses a lot of JavaScript and CSS files to help make websites attractive and easy to use.  Unfortunately, many of these files are not properly optimized and can cause your site to perform poorly over time.

A great way to speed up your site is known as ‘minifying’ these files, and it can be done automatically through the use of plug-ins such as WordPress Minify. These plug-ins will remove excess data and HTTP requests from all your JavaScript and CSS files, so they don’t cause your site to slow down.

Optimization Tip #6 – Compressing Large Files

wordpress compress images

Most sites today have at least a few images and other large files on them, which can cause pages to load slowly.  This is especially true when the files are not compressed properly.  Using a feature known as Gzip, you can shrink your files down so that your website operates much more quickly.

There are a number of ways you can enable GZip on your website.  The easiest option is to simply use the WP Super Cache plug-in (mentioned above).  This plug-in has a setting that will automatically turn on the GZip feature so your site operates more efficiently.


Keeping Up on Optimization

speed wordpress plugin

The above six optimization tips will help you to get your site loading up quickly and working efficiently, giving you noticeable results almost instantly.  It isn’t enough to just do a onetime optimization improvement, however.  You need to do your best to keep your site running properly every day.

This means thinking carefully about what plug-ins you are installing, and taking the time to keep up to date with any new optimization strategies that come along.  With a little bit of effort, you will be able to help your site run the way it was meant to so your visitors have an excellent user experience.

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