10 ways to improve your content

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<p> 1. 10 ways to improve your content angelawilsononline.com /improve-your-blog-content/ Not getting the hits you want? Not seeing engagement on posts? Chances are, your content needs a facelift. Dont worry, its not necessarily your fault. Sometimes business rules get in the way, while other times the push to publish pigeonholes writers into going live with words that arent quite ready for Prime Time. Whatever the reason, you CAN fix problems with your contentquickly, easilyand start connecting authentically with readers. 10 ways to improve blog content 1. Images Either you have no images, or the images you use dont fit the content. If you arent using images, START NOW. Images are not only expected on most websites, thanks to Buz zFeed, but they are also major eye catchers on social media. Users are more likely to click your link if they see an image. You dont have to be an experienced graphic designer to create awesome graphics for your sitein record time. Go to Canva.com, grab a FREE account and use the templates to start designing awesome art for your website. Canva also offers free classes on design. 2. Not sure if your image fits? A great rule of thumb is to use a simple backgroundsolid color, wood grain and put your text on top of it. Use varied fonts to draw attention to keywords. Dont spend a ton of time searching for the perfect image. The majority of the time, it doesnt exist. Stick with a solid background and the text of your blog post for a simple, yet effective graphic that also draws the eye. Quick Tip: Still queasy over choosing images? Find a graphic designer looking for exposure. Have that person create the graphicsand get credit for them. Be sure to work out ownership details before you bring someone on. 2. Optimize for mobile This seems like a no-brainer, and yet, I find sites daily that are not optimized for mobile. I am a Twitter fan(atic), and at least twice daily, I click a link there that takes me to a site that doesnt fit my iPhone. With more than 30 percent of website traffic (and growing) coming from mobile devices, it is imperative your site conforms to the screen on which its viewed. Not only that, but Google has started adding mobile-friendly to search resultsand many believe sites that do not conform to small screens will take a rankings dive. If you work in WordPress, grab an HTML5, mobile-ready theme from a trusted source like StudioPress.com. If you already have a theme, its not mobile responsive and you dont want to change, check out the WPTouch plugin. It works with any theme and will let you easily create a mobile-friendly template in record time. 3. Organize content Content organization is key to return visits. Its not just about how to access the content on your site; its also about how you present that content. Dont just throw some words together and publish them. Have an idea, outline the idea, write an intro and conclusion, then dive into the meat. Once your post is edited, use the outline strategy to format the post properly for online readers. Break down posts into manageable chunks. Use headers for different topics. Use bullet points for long lists. Add images to break up the text monotony. Use pull quotes not only to break up content, but to highlight important points. Make them easy to share socially by using Tweet This from CoSchedule. Stay on topic. Delete anything that doesnt fit. Keep a Word or Google document to save these tid bits for future posts or ideas. Write a short intro and conclusion. Dont always use the long tail story format. It gets old fastlike parallax themes. 3. 4. Improve SEO Seriously, I have to mention this? Yes, because many sites are still not optimized for search engines. Man agement at some companies still do not believe this is a budget line time. (Hitting head against desk.) There are many directions I can go with SEO. Here, I will focus on content. They days of keyword stuffing are OVER. Please, stop doing this. I cannot believe I still see websites that publish nonsensical gibberish stuffed with keywords in the hopes that the Google gods will elevate the site to search engine stardom. That is not going to happen for most sites (though some perps sneak through even Googles Panda micro lens). Your copy should be clear and focused. (See Point No. 3.) Include keywords that are important to the topicbut do not overload the article with them. Keywords should be in your (catchy) headline, body of the article, meta data and tags. Keywords will likely also be categories on your blog. Here is my trick for adding keywords without creating a crappy product: First, I write the article. I dont think about keywords. Then, I edit the article. I dont focus on keywords. I focus on grammar, punctuation, spelling and clarity. Finally, I take another read through, and find places I can include my keywords without the reader knowing I added them on purpose. Notice I dont worry about the keyword when I write. Why? Because my topic is typically my keyword. Key words should be a natural fit for the article. Once I edit, I can make sure my keywords are in the article. If my keywords dont fit, then I either need to scrap the article, or change my keywords to better reflect the focus. This is a great way to take the pressure off if you worry about keyword overload. Quick Tip: Dont forget to optimize your images! Use alt text to identify what the image is, so search engines can properly index. Give the image a title that matcheslike fog.jpg, not IMG468125. The title matters, too! Jennifer Bourn at Bourn Creative has a fabulous post on optimizing images. Check it out and be sure to subscribe to her blog for updates! 4. 5. Engage commenters Youve created some great content, now people are coming to your site. Inevitably, some will leave com mentsincluding follow up questions. Sometimes, these comments appear on your site, but more often, they appear on social sites like G+, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. I cannot tell you how many times Ive seen legitimate questions on articles that remain unanswered even months after the blog posted. Ive gone back through these sites and found up-to-date content so someone is publishing. They just arent engaging readers. Once you publish, be sure to check your comments on the site. Set up intervals through the day when you check engagement on social channels. We are past the days when users would forgive you if you didnt answer them on Facebook. Content-hungry readers want engagement NOWespecially if they have a question. You dont have to respond to every post. Go through comments, prioritize them and respond to the ones that need it. Then, you reply to others as you like. Large sites like Copyblogger axed comments on the site in favor of social engagement. The site is large enough to do thisand it works for them. You can try this, but whether it works will depend on your audi ence and where they read your content. 6. Check grammar/spelling/punctuation A few months ago, I read a post by an alleged blog coach. This person claimed to help businesses set up blogs and teach owners how to write posts. 5. In the sales pitch page, I found numerous spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors. I stopped counting at four, then found two more. The copy was non-linear, nonsensical and repugnant to professional writers everywhere. And this person was teaching others how to blog? AND had testimonials from clients?! That same week, I found errors on several popular blogs, including Michael Hyatts, and in a prominent photo cutline on the Daily Mail. One week earlier, a blog I follow had consistent spelling and grammar errors in EVERY article published. A commenter told the author he couldnt take one article seriously because of it. The writer didnt respond to the comment, and didnt correct the article. (Two marks for you!) It seems that publish or perish has come to content marketing, and our product is suffering for it. Readers will forgive an error or twoif the errors are not consistent. It happens to everyoneincluding myself. (The week I started to write a post about this, I found two spelling errors in a live post. Thanks for humbling me, Lord!) But if you consistently publish articles with errors, readers are going to go elsewhere. Are you posting crap just to meet a deadlineor be the first to report a trend? Dont. If you need to get an article out that day, write it, edit it, then step back from it for 30 minutes. Go back for one more edit, then publish. If you are like me, grab a hardcopy to proof. It is sometimes difficult to see errors on screen. 7. Stop sales speak I continue to find sites that are nothing but sales drivel poorly disguised as blog posts. Readers go to blogs for content, not sales pitches. You can write a stellar post, with a call to action that leads to a salebut dont write a post that is nothing more than a sales letter. People will click off. When I come to your blog, I dont want a pitch; I want a post. So do your readers. Remember that when you write. 8. Shorten copy Many bloggers now post long form content to please Google. Its nice, but frustrating. Not every topic needs a 2,500 article. Some topics just need short snippets, while others might need a paragraph or two. Dont force yourself to write more than you need. Write until the article reaches a natural finish. 9. Make sure your point is clear You have seconds to catch a readers attention. If your post is unfocused, or unclear, you will lose them. Dont start your blog on one topic and end with another. Stay focused. If need be, make it a series. Break down a big topic into multiple subtopics for brevity, focus and easy reading. Tie them all together with one post. Dont let deadlines and the content marketing push force you into posting inferior content. Do your best to make your content stand out from the competitionand you will find success. 6. 10. Give readers what they want Your readers are looking to you for tips, tricks, hacks, trends, news and more. You are an authority to them. Give them what they want. Dont post anything just to meet a deadline. Write about topics that matter. You dont have to develop enthusiasm for topics you dont like. Chances are, the people who read your work are in the same game as you. They want your knowledge of something specific. You can easily find out what readers want to know about. Check comments for questions, which could lead to future posts. (See Point No. 5.) Also, be sure to check Google Analytics for what topics drive traffic to your site. Content is king. It always has been and always will be. Take the time to create great content that gives your readers something to think about and share, and you will build a steady stream of fans and clients. </p>