Bloggers are constantly focused on creating new content. So they tend to leave their old blog posts just sitting there in the archives and never give them another thought. But it's definitely worth looking back through them from time to time and rewriting them.
This is because there's always room for improvement. And who doesn't want to have the best possible blog content for readers to enjoy?
Also, just the fact that your blog has been spruced up somewhat will help with SEO. As all bloggers know, Google rewards you for constantly adding completely fresh material. Rewriting of old blog posts is not unlike this. It's another way of making Google know your blog has a pulse, even if you haven't created entirely new content for it.
Things you can do
And there is always something you can do to improve an old post. For example, you can tweak its keyword targeting by putting it through a word cloud generator like Wordle. And you can apply similar changes such as including subheadings if they weren't there before and linking out to quality related sites if you hadn't done so originally. All of these things are known to lift a post's position in the SERPs.
Longer posts are better
Adding more thoughts to make some old posts longer than they were before is a good idea, too. Of course, you don't want to make this fluff. It should always be good, useful content. You can also correct some points you made that are no longer relevant. That's worth doing for any blog niche, but it's particularly useful if you write about fast-changing disciplines.
If you add some good new observations you can cut bits here and there and the blog post will still be the same length as before -- or a bit longer. And word count does seem to be an important ranking factor, with longer blog posts performing better than short ones.
Rewriting a blog post in such a way will make it more densely packed with good information. Needless to say, readers will appreciate this and be more likely to return. There's a greater chance they'll share such content on social media, too.
There's no denying that Google traffic is excellent quality, and you should always be working to grow it. But it's great that social media is so massively popular now, and offers an excellent alternative for drawing visitors. Focusing on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus to increase traffic offers certain advantages over the "old fashioned" SEO methods.
They are immediate
As anyone with a website knows only too well, it can take a long while to rise up the search engine rankings for your chosen keywords. It's often a two steps forward, one step back process. You have to do many hours of keyword research, content writing, building backlinks and on-page tweaking. And even when you've done all that work things often don't pan out as you'd hoped.
It's hardly surprising it would be this way, of course. Your pages are being ranked by a giant computer, not a person. So it's really out of your control -- even though you can make educated guesses about how best to approach things.
If you get into social media, on the other hand, you can draw targeted traffic pretty much from day one or soon after. Sure, that takes some work, too. You have to find people, engage with them, share your own stuff. But it's certainly quicker than SEO.
They are human
At the risk of stating the obvious, sites like Google Plus, Twitter, and Facebook are social in the truest sense of the word. They are populated by countless real people who are genuinely trying to connect with each other and form communities.
And if you become part of these communities, they give you a sense of belonging. The interactions you have in them are often warm and friendly, much like those that occur in real life. They're just mediated by technology, that's all.
Of course SEO is not entirely devoid of humanity. You are still trying to connect with other real people by working out what they are searching for and how to appear in those searches. So you have to consider their wants and needs. However, you're not often actually engaging with real people. If you spend all your time on SEO you can easily wind up feeling alienated, as if you're floating in space.
They offer quality
I don't think there's much doubt that search engine traffic is still best for conversions. But traffic from social media is still very good quality.
The Twitter followers who are clicking on the blog links you share on the site, for example, are already highly targeted. The very fact that they're following you means they have some respect for you, and share your interests, after all. So the odds that they will become regular readers, and maybe even buy goods or services that you are promoting, are quite high.
You can further improve the odds of this happening by repeated engagement with them on Twitter itself. People buy from those they trust, after all. And the more they communicate with you, the more they trust you.
They help with SEO anyway
The final benefit that you get from using social media is an indirect one. Google now records the number of shares, likes and plus ones your pages accrue. The more of these you have, the more positively your site is perceived by the search engine. It then rises up the rankings, gaining more targeted traffic.
This isn't a massive effect, but it can accumulate to become quite substantial. It's just one more reason you should regularly engage in social media activity.
All the top blogging gurus stress how important passion is in blogging. Needless to say, this is good advice. If you're not genuinely enthusiastic about and interested in what you're writing about then it's unlikely you'll persevere with your blog long enough for it to become established and draw a loyal audience.
Expert or newbie
But it should be remembered that there are different types of passion. For example, perhaps you are already an expert in some field or other and you want to educate others about it. (Many tech-related blogs are like this. They often include a lot of diagrams and step by step guides.)
On the other hand, you might be a complete newbie in the field you love so much. So you use your blog as a way of collating all the good information you find about it. Ultimately it becomes a kind of online course you give yourself and that others can learn from as well.
Another common blogging passion is politics. You could be an activist and you want to change people's minds about something. You want to inspire them with your vision for a better world.
Or maybe you've had it with all the utopian activism. You just you want to debunk it relentlessly. And a blog is certainly an effective way to do that.
Maybe you are interested in politics, but you're more of a philosopher. Rather than getting het up about current issues you remain more detached and analytical. Standing back form the fray, you use your blog to explain political machinations without taking sides.
You could also be a bit of an entertainer; a comedian. The main point of your posts is simply to amuse people rather than inspire, convert or inform them. So you use political developments, news and current affairs items merely as fodder for jokes and wry observations.
Perhaps your blog is motivated by a combination of two or more of the aims listed here -- or by something else entirely. Whatever the nature of your passion, it's worth really thinking about it before you start your blog, or at least fairly early on in its life. If you can clarify this purpose and stick to it then your blog will have cohesion. Readers who find it will immediately know what it is about and trying to achieve. It will be more compelling and shareable as a result, and it will likely become established far sooner than if you didn't have such a clear purpose in mind.
When bloggers start out they are so often fixated on the sheer numbers of people visiting their blogs. You also see this with Twitter and Facebook users. They're constantly on the lookout for how to get more likes and fans.
Quality beats quantity
While it's nice to get more of something, you've got to remember that it's the quality that counts. Much better to get 100 readers who are genuinely interested in the content of your blog than thousands who are just bouncing straight off it. Quality, interested visitors are more likely to read your posts fully, respond to them in comments, and share them on social media. They're also more likely to buy something if you are promoting stuff on your blog.
This is one of the reasons you should stay away from traffic exchanges. They are all full of people just wanting to promote their own stuff. They're not interested in reading other people's blogs. While using them might get you on the radar of a few other bloggers who ultimately link to you at some stage, I don't think the time invested is worth it.
Be unique and insightful
So how will you ensure that you have quality readers? Obviously, you should write quality stuff on your blog. It has to be unique content, meaning that it's not spun form other sources or plagiarized. But that doesn't that the concepts have to be completely unique. (There's nothing new under the sun, as they say. It just has to be written by a human, and be a never before used arrangement of words.)
That said, if you can find a new angle on something that's been covered a million times before, then that helps a lot. Blog readers always appreciate interesting insights into a subject. If you can consistently deliver these, they're sure to keep returning.
You'll make your blog even more distinctive if it has a unique voice as well. This might come from a humorous or ironic deliver, or the use of unusual and colorful analogies.
Remember, too, that many readers come to blogs to blogs looking for answers to various problems. So you should give them that if you can. You can get a really good sense for what questions people are asking from Google's drop down suggestion box. Question and answer sites like Quora are worth browsing from time to time, too.
Your blog also has to be persuasive. So write confidently. If you've got some research data to back up a point, then use that.
But loads of facts and figures from other sources aren't absolutely vital. Often authority comes from your own experience. So use personal stories to illustrate your points whenever possible. This is a great tactic to use because articles and blog posts will tend to flow naturally and quickly. And people often find them more compelling than data-laden pieces.
As I've mentioned, one way effective way to get more likes on your Facebook page is to comment on others
. Common sense dictates that the older and more popular these pages are, the greater the number of people who will see your page's name when you engage with them, and therefore the greater the number of people who will ultimately like your page.Like new FB pagesBut I also think that liking, then commenting on, new pages with low numbers can be beneficial. This is because these page owners really appreciate the fact that you've actually contributed to their page.
They're more likely to reciprocate by liking yours back, or commenting on it, or liking your posts. (At least that's what my own recent experience tells me.)I also suspect that they're much more likely to continue to engage with your page, particularly
if you do the same with theirs. (It's a bit like a couple of kids who make friends on the first day of school. It's a strong bonding experience.)Comment on young blogsThis also holds for blog commenting. Of course you should comment on prominent, high traffic blogs, since they'll tend to bestow more clicks than the younger ones. Still, how many of those popular bloggers will have the time or the inclination to have a good look at your blog, let alone comment on it?Certainly some of them will do this. But it won't be most or all of them. Unless you're consistently writing absolutely brilliant comments on their blogs, the big names are unlikely to check yours out.New bloggers, however, being chuffed that you have responded, will almost always do this. They'll often come back to comment again and again, too.Potential long-term benefitsRemember that even the big names had to start somewhere, too. So a certain percentage of the newbies that you connect with via mutual commenting will eventually become established bloggers in their own right. You might end up benefiting traffic and link wise at some stage way down the track. For these reasons it's a good idea to engage with a mix of new blogs and Facebook pages as well as old and established ones. You'll get the best of both worlds then.
One thing that you read repeatedly on blogs about blogging is that writing lots of quality comments is a very effective way to build traffic and connections with other bloggers. This is certainly true.
A potential waste of time
However you can overdo them a bit. Blog comment threads almost constitute their own self-contained social network. So, it's easy to get lost in them and waste quite a bit of time, just as you might do on Facebook.
It's not such a problem occasionally but if you do this regularly it can really lower your productivity. Think about it. If you write five two hundred word comments in one sitting, that's a thousand words right there. If you'd spent that time on your blog instead you'd have two solid blog posts.
Remember to keep those comments
You can still build content for your blog while commenting on others, though. You do this just by cutting and pasting your comments into a file. You can return to this content some time later and rewrite it all substantially, expanding it into many substantial, comprehensive blog posts and articles.
You can't respond to all replies
Also, I wouldn't recommend being too conscientious about replying to all those who have responded to your comments because that can take a lot of time and energy. Sure, it's nice to respond to some of them, but I wouldn't lose sleep if you don't get to every last one. That's why I think it's best not to tick the little box that says "alert me when someone replies to my comment".
This is a blog about blogging, as well as related subjects. As everyone is surely well aware, there are already an awful lot of them out there!
That's because millions of people love blogging. They also see their blogs as an opportunity to make money. So there's this huge interest in this particular niche as well as massive competition. Occasionally I've wondered whether it was a wise decision to choose such a saturated niche. But I do still think it's worth it. You should always write about a subject you enjoy regardless of its popularity
, after all. Break the subject downStill, the competition can be overwhelming. So how do you overcome this problem? One way is to break the subject down a bit. For example, the big obsession bloggers have is how to get more targeted traffic. So there are countless posts about how to achieve this.But if you've got a new blog you'll just never compete for a keyword phrase like "how to get traffic to a blog". So you should focus on just one method of getting traffic, and maybe break it down even further.Take getting traffic from comments, for example. You could write posts about how best to approach this, answering questions like: Can you do too much commenting?
Is daily blog commenting a worthwhile strategy? What are the potential pitfalls of commenting for traffic?New anglesPerhaps there's another angle you can take. And this very post is an example: problems that you encounter when blogging about blogging. Other questions that suggest themselves include: Is it worth writing a blog about blogging? Which are the best blogs in this particular niche and why? When you look at a subject in different ways you can generate an unlimited amount of relevant and interesting content. A big surpriseThe endlessness of this particular niche has been a big surprise to me. That's because long ago, when I started to blog, I never thought the subject of blogging itself was all that interesting. I just saw it as a quick and free form of self-publishing. So I would just write posts about all the things that I found interesting, particularly politics.Now, however, I've discovered that blogging is a whole world unto itself. The way people bring traffic to their blogs; how they establish authority in their respective niches; the methods they use to make money -- these subjects are all fascinating to me now. And maintaining that fascination is crucial. You must write about what you're genuinely interested in. If you do that you'll constantly be learning new things and experiencing original insights. This will supply you with endless fodder for blog posts -- whether you blog about blogging, or another subject entirely.
Occasionally in this blog I recommend products and/or services. Some of the links I include are affiliate links. Needless to say, I'll be getting a commission if you eventually end up buying what they link to.
Please be assured that whenever I do this it won't only be because I want to you buy something! (Though of course it's nice when that happens.) I'll only ever link to products that I myself have purchased and used, or have done a lot of research about and know to be good quality.
Engagement with other members is very important when using Twitter. You can do this in various ways. Retweeting is one of the simplest and most beneficial.
Value for followers
You should do it a few times whenever you're logged in. It gives value to those who are following you -- but only when you are retweeting good stuff, of course. So you should be choosy about what you retweet. Don't do it merely for the sake of it.
And giving value to your followers is important. By repeatedly sharing quality content you are reminding them that you're a good source of information and they'll keep an eye out for you. Then when you come to tweet, say, one of your own blog posts, they will be that much more likely to click on the link.
Simple and quick
Retweeting is also very easy to do. While you can cut and paste the tweet itself and put the RT in front of it, as many people prefer to do, you can also just press a button. That's quicker. And you are still getting on the radar of the person you retweeted.
Being retweeted is a buzz
Those whom you've retweeted will definitely appreciate the fact that you've done so. So they'll be more likely follow you back if they haven't already. They'll be more likely to retweet you after a while, too. And if some of those who do this are big time influencers with massive followings, it can help lift your profile immensely on the site.
Leads to more engagement
Quite often they'll say thanks for the RT. When they do, that's a really good sign. It proves conclusively that they've noticed you. Whenever they do this -- particularly the first time -- it's a good idea to say "my pleasure" or words to that effect. Since you've conversed with them already, it'll be much easier to strike up a conversation with them in the future, too.
Clearly, retweeting confers benefits all on its own. It's also an excellent complement to other forms of engagement. (To learn more about using Twitter check out the excellent ebook Twitter Dummy, listed in the right panel.)
If you have a Facebook page, you'll want to get likes to it. Interacting with other Facebook pages in your niche is an effective way to do this
. So you'll want to find and like as many of these as possible. (And remember to be logged in as the page you want to promote when you like them. Then when you interact with them, your page name is what's displayed.)
You can locate a lot of relevant pages simply by searching within Facebook itself. You just type your chosen keywords into the search box and click on the Pages button in the search filters. But if you are really determined to find a lot of pages then this method probably won't supply you with enough of them on its own.Google, Bing, YahooSo, you should then move outside the "walled garden" of Facebook and search on Google, Bing and Yahoo as well. Just type in your chosen keywords along with "Facebook page". This will supply mixed results, but if you do it often enough you're sure to find ones you haven't seen already.The pages themselvesIf you've used both these techniques then you would have
accumulated quite a few of them. And you can use these to find even more. Just look at the likes of each of these pages. They usually list several, sometimes scores of other pages in their niche. Helpfully, Facebook tells you which ones you've like already. It's kind of like going from blog to blog via the comments. You'll never run out of them.BlogsAnd speaking of blog-hopping: That's yet another way to find new Facebook pages. This is because a substantial proportion of bloggers already have their own pages. They almost always have badges for them (much as I have on this one). So, make sure that you're logged into Facebook while you're looking for new blogs. You can join them as quickly as you find them, then. Facebook usersYou can also find new pages via the contributions of others. You'll see these in the top right hand corner of each page as well as below each update in the form of likes and comments. A good percentage of them will be from other pages. And if they are from individuals, you can check them out too. A fair proportion of them will have liked several more pages in the same niche as the one they've commented on or shared a link with.If you use several of these methods to find new Facebook pages, before long you'll have hundreds of them to interact with as your own. You can engage with them repeatedly and thereby get on the radar of many more people.