What should I call this blog article?

I’m a big advocate for writing blogs. I think any busienss should have an active blog. One thing I don’t always love about writing blogs, is coming up with a title for the article. One quick tip – don’t fret over it too much. 

So let’s go over two technical points of sorts on the titles. First and foremost, make sure the title makes sense. If the article is about how to build a new kitchen table, don’t name it “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” Let your readers know what they can expect. Second, use a keyword if possible. If you can use one of your business or websites main keywords that would be great. SInce your blog doesn’t need to be 100% tied to one topic or area of what your business does, those main keywords might not fit. Don’t feel like you need to force a keyword into the title if it doesn’t fit. 

So that’s the technical side. The less technical advice I’d give is simple – don’t worry about it too much. It’s a title. That’s it. It’s the article that matters. Think about some other famous titles for a moment. If you think about it, a lead zeppelin is a lead blimp, and a deaf leopard is a leopard that can’t hear. But we know them better and Led Zeppelin and Def Leppard, two iconic rock bands. Not only did the names make no sense, they weren’t even spelled correctly. And even further – Led Zeppelin didn’t really name their first 4th album at all and the first three were barely titled at that. But even with band names that make no sense, they’re both incredibly popular bands. Why? Because it’s the content that matters. 

It’s simple, don’t fret over the title. Write great quality articles that people will want to read. Your blog should be about great content, not great titles. The most important part is simply having the active blog. 

Different Authors?

Some of our clients have multiple individuals writing blogs for their website. Having content from different perspectives is a great way to showcase all that your business has to offer. However, you may not always want to give admin access to all blog contributors. Thankfully, with WordPress, there are two really great options.

The first option is to set the additional writers up with a WordPress account and set their role as “author.” By doing this, those contributors will be able to login as needed, create new blog posts (and a select few other types of posts, depending on the plugins used on the site), and edit older posts. They will not, however, be able to add new pages or edit older ones. With this account role, your additional writers can edit their personal WordPress accounts, but they will not be able to create any new accounts or change their own role.

Alternatively, a business may opt to not allow individual authors WordPress access. We’ve had a few clients who have had additional blog writers contribute, but all content had to be approved by one person before that content could go live. To achieve this, the client simply created a user account for each writer, but did not share any login information with them.

That way, when the client (or other approver within the organization) received the written information from the author, the client could simply copy and paste the blog into WordPress and manually select the name of the author for that particular post.

With WordPress, there are some easy-to-use options that allow for multiple writers on a blog. Whether each writer has their own login or not, having multiple writers on a blog is a great way to show different perspectives and viewpoints: just one more way to make the most out of your blog and website.

Do you have trouble closing your blog articles?

Watch what I do here: oftentimes when I’m writing a blog, the opening of the blog comes pretty easily to me. The body of the is fairly painless to write as well. The part I get hung up on the most it seems, is the closing. However, recently I found a great way to help get the closing piece written quickly and easily as well.

If you’ve talked with me much at all, you know I’m a big fan of having a blog on your site. It’s a great way to provide your users and readers with more of your ideas and let them get to know who you are. The problem with writing articles for your blog, however, is oftentimes the actual writing of the article. When I give a prepared speech, I always go in knowing what my opening is, have a couple of bullet points for the body of the speech, and then state my intro again, but in reverse. The same applies to writing a blog article.

Simply start by writing out your opening since quite often, that’s not very difficult. Introduce your subject and say why you feel it’s important. Moving into the body of the article, simply list some bullet points and then expand upon each point and turn it into a paragraph or two. Offering an example or two can be a good way to help illustrate your point as well.

However, it’s those pesky closing paragraphs that can trip me and many other writers up! One of the easiest ways to handle the closing is to simply to restate your opening. As we say in Toastmasters, in the opening of a speech you should, ‘tell us what you’re going to tell us,’ in the body you should actually ‘tell us,’ and then in the closing you should ‘tell us what you told us.’ Simply apply the same method to your blog or other writing projects.

By writing your opening in reverse, you’ll be able to quickly and easily bring your blogs to a close. The closing is the part of writing a blog that a fair amount of writers get tied up on, even with the opening and body of the article come easily. Simply switching the heading around is a great way to easily bring your blog to an end. (See what I did there?)

Struggling to Write

Here I am, struggling to write a blog… again. I have a list of several topics written down but I can’t seem to get myself interested in any of them enough to write about them at the moment. So here I am at my favorite spot to do any writing – my favorite coffee shop while enjoying my favorite pot of tea. I started writing whatever came to mind, in the hopes that I’d eventually get that one flicker of an idea.

I’m thinking over the blogs that I’ve written in the past, again hoping that something gives me a spark of creativity, an idea of anything to write about. Hmmm… I’ve written about Star Wars in the past – that was a fun blog to write. Maybe I should write a blog about Batman…

The Presidential election is coming up. I’m not at all opposed to people writing about politics or religion in their blogs. It’s a great way for people to get to know you – but I’ve had enough of politics for one week already. I’m currently re-reading one of my favorite books, Rhinoceros Success. As the author of the book, Scott Alexander, often says – you have to keep charging! So I think it’s time I start charging to the office and start work for the day.

Hey, look at that: it’s a blog article.

Writer’s Block

Have you ever been on a car trip to a destination that you were pretty sure you knew how to get to, but realized once you got going that you were horribly lost? You make turn after turn, each time thinking that you’ll get on the right path that time only to find out you’re still stuck. Writing for your blog can be like that at times. Even if you know the topic you want to write about and are deeply passionate about, sometimes you get stuck in the dreaded writer’s block. After a couple years of writing blog articles, I’ve found a couple of tricks that always seem to work well for me to get me out of my writer’s block ruts.

I think the most important thing to remember about writer’s block is that it doesn’t mean you are a bad writer or you have nothing of value to say. If you are hit with writer’s block, all it means is that you are a write. You know about the famous writer who never got writer’s block? Nope, you don’t. That’s because they never existed. Sometimes the best thing to do is to admit that this is simply not your day or time to write. Move on to another task and let your brain focus on that for a while and then come back to the writing later.

Another trick I’ve used many times is called free writing. I like doing this best with a pad of paper and a pen, and simply write whatever comes to mind. The goal here isn’t to write the blog, it’s simply to write and write and write. Sometimes you’ll start writing something that almost sounds like a diary entry and it will quickly move into something that reads like a novel to a delicious recipe and then back to a diary. What will happen when doing this is you will a lot of times eventually write a series of words that gives you that “aha!” moment. Once you have that “aha” moment you can go back to writing your blog again and see if words start flowing.

A few times I’ve had what I thought was a great idea for a blog article but have struggled to get it written. I’ll ask someone for their input on the particular article topic and see if they are interested in it and have a quick conversation with them about it. What a lot of times can happen with those conversations is that you’ll hear a phrase or sentence and have that “aha!” moment. Sometimes by doing this it can even take your blog in a totally different direction than you had originally intended, a lot of times it turns out even better.

Writer’s block happens to everyone that writes. A couple things I’ve found that have always helped me out are to simply admit that I’m stuck and move on to another task and write again later. If that doesn’t work free writing and have a quick discussion about the topic I want to write about have also worked great for me. There really is no silver bullet for getting over writer’s block, so if those don’t work and you still find yourself stuck, write a blog about your writer’s block.

Before you spend money on SEO

I get a lot of questions from people, both clients and at various networking events, about what they should be doing to help boost their Google rankings. When I review their website, a lot of times the site is fine and using up to date coding techniques. I often times don’t recommend for them to spend money on SEO, instead, I tell them to spend some time going over their website content.

Google, like many of the leading search engines, have stated many times that what they look for is quality, relevant content that is updated regularly. To provide that quality and relevant content, take a look through your Google Analytics and see what types of keywords users are actually using to find your site and compare that with industry recommended keywords (available by doing a Google search) and find what content or wording works best for your site.

Another extremely important feature to make sure is on your site is an active blog. By having an active blog, you’ll be able to provide your clients, prospective clients, and the search engines with regularly updated quality, relevant content. The blog articles should include some of those keywords or phrases that you discovered while reviewing your analytics and industry recommendations.

When you’re writing your blogs and content for the pages on your site, be sure to use some of those keywords, but don’t overpower the content with them. The content should be conversational, as if it was you talking directly to a client or potential client. The leading search engines are such advanced algorithms that they can tell the difference between conversational content and content that is bloated or stuffed with keywords.

If you’re not confident in your writing skills, there’s no shame in bringing in a copywriter or content strategist. Writing quality content can take time, but it can have one of the greatest impacts on your search engine ranking. If after six months of focusing on quality and relevant content that is regularly generated, then you can look for some additional monthly search engine optimization plans.

Trouble Starting a Blog?

When it comes to writing blog articles, one of the biggest struggles I’ve had at times is not necessarily coming up with topics to write about, those are relatively easy. What I struggle with is getting the blog started. After working with a friend of mine to help him write his book, I found a great remedy to that problem – don’t start at the beginning. Read more Trouble Starting a Blog?

Can I write about…

I’ve had a couple clients start a blog or an email newsletter this year and one question I get asked quite a bit is whether or not they can talk about certain topics. The two main topics they wonder about seem to be their personal lives and politics. Can you talk about those possibly touchy subjects? Absolutely. They are great topics to write about, so long as you do it correctly. Read more Can I write about…

Can’t find and idea for a blog?

Not long ago I sat at my desk and spent an hour coming up with a new blog topic. My blogging notebook had some ideas but nothing jumped out at me that day. I was about to give up on it for the day when I decided to stop down at the office next to mine and ask them if there was anything they’d like to have me blog about. Turns out, that was a great technique to use for finding new blog topics – simply ask someone what they’d like to see in your blog.
Read more Can’t find and idea for a blog?