This is a guest post by Kenneth McCall of storage.com.
An Organized Approach: Why Blog Order is Ubiquitously Essential to Success
One of the best things about having a blog is being able to get your ideas, your business, and any and all information your readers might find helpful out into the world. No longer must you contain all that great stuff in your mind or scrawled on a legal pad. But from your abundance of great stuff, your content must be selected carefully and presented in an organized way or it loses its impact.
Not too long ago I was at a jewelry store with a friend looking for something special for his wife. He didn't see anything that caught his fancy, so he asked if they had anything else that wasn't on display. The jeweler went to a cabinet and pulled out a box with literally countless plastic bags of diamond earrings, ring settings, precious stones, and pendants. She pulled a few things out of their baggies and put them on a velvet display, but we left soon after without making a purchase. "Seeing all of it crowded in that box," my friend explained, "I don't know...it just cheapened it somehow."
So too can clutter and over-displaying content cheapen the value of your blog. If there's too much to see the effect is overwhelming rather than intriguing.
Here are 10 tips for organizing your blog to maximize the impact of your content:
1. Make your topic known immediately and clearly through the title of your blog and a concise tagline. A well-defined and consistent focus helps organize your material, attract the readers you are looking for, retain readers, and cut the clutter of extraneous copy or graphics attempting to explain your blog. The focus of your blog should be clear without readers having to look for it.
2. Organize and plan your posts based on the needs of your clients. Anticipate what topics they will be looking for and how they will be searching for them so you know how to categorize your posts. For example, if you are blogging for your plant nursery business, keep your posts consistent with planting, pruning, or fertilizing seasons.
3. Even though you will probably publish your posts chronologically, you can also include them in lists arranged by topic rather than date. That way, an amazing post you spent hours on doesn't die after the days it's published. Headlined lists you may want to include to thoughtfully recycle your best posts: My Picks, Most Popular Posts, Hall of Fame, Classics, For Newbies, For Experts, or Guest Posts. Or if there is a current event that relates to past posts, you may want to include a list for that. For example, if your blog focuses on some aspect of travel then the week of the royal wedding you might include a list of previous posts featuring travel to England.
4. So readers of your blog can search and find posts, categorize them by topics. But like every aspect of your blog organization these topics should be planned and thoughtfully conceived. In the beginning come up with a manageable list of categories you feel your posts will fall under. This will also help you keep your content focused since you will want each post to be able to fall under one of your pre-set categories. For each post, put it in only one category. That way a reader will not search for different topics and get the same post over and over as a result.
5. Make sure you are always following your identifiable topic. If you are torn by your interests in wine, dream interpretation, and raising money for your local animal shelter - not to mention promoting your dry cleaning business - consider having separate blogs for each so that no matter what a visitor clicks on, she or he will always be in recognizable waters and not get lost in a topic she wasn't looking for.
6. After a post use the "similar posts" plug-in so that if a reader is engaged they can easily find another post on that topic. [Editor's note: I use Yet Another Related Post plugin on Wordpress blogs.]
7. Within a post, use a strong title, headings, sub-headings, bullet points, and plenty of white space so that your readers can easily digest your content.
8. Consider having scheduled topics or themes. For example, every Monday could feature links to other articles about your topic, every Tuesday could be a theme of a green living aspect of your topic, every Wednesday could be a guest post, every Thursday could be on a financial aspect of your topic, and every Friday could be a funny or entertaining take on your topic. Of course, all of the above would be topics customized to your blog's focus. This way readers know what to expect on your blog and they return to see these themes. You have a better grip on planning your content since it is all lined up by theme and day. With a consistent schedule you are more likely to stay on track rather than falling behind on posting.
9. Be consistent with your blogging. Do not blog every day for a week and then not again for two weeks, for example. If you are planning to be on vacation from blogging at some point, go ahead and write a bunch of posts, but schedule their postings over time until your return so your blog remains organized and consistent and your content gets the attention it deserves rather than getting lost in the crowd.
10. Have a plan in mind from the start as to how you will organize your blog and your content and stick to that plan long enough to be able to evaluate how it is going. Then make calculated adjustments rather than changing your blog format or organization frequently and leaving it unpredictable and messy.
Organization and valuable content go hand-in-hand. Neither can contribute without the other, so let them work together in ways that complement each other and give your message maximum impact.
Kenneth McCall is an avid ski, boater and bicyclist. When he is not engaged in outdoor activities he directs the IT operations at storage.com, building websites and tools for homeowners and businesses needing storage, including self storage in Memphis and around the South.
What tips would you add to make sure a blog is well organized for your readers? Please post in the comments.
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