5 Bullet Points for Beginning Bloggers
[Journalism class assignment]
I recently started a blog, in part inspired (or required) by my digital journalism class at Northeastern University — I am no expert. However, I’ve picked some tips up along the way that could help me (and you) plan your blog and its social media effectively.
- Know that the longer a user stays on your site, the more likely they are to become a loyal visitor, according to this Chartbeat white paper. This means that the goal is to not only get someone to click on your blog, but to stay there for a while and engage.
- A great way to keep users engaged is by accommodating the human eye; according to The Nielsen-Norman Group, readers on web pages tend to read in an F-shaped pattern. One way to work with this is left-justifying engaging multimedia elements on your page.
- Contrary to popular belief, you need quality content. Although social media may bring in high referrals to your blog, the actual amount of time that users then stay at your blog is usually small. As you can see, Parse.ly published a graphic showing the amount of time a user typically spends on your website according to its referral. Considering internal referrals and no referral are greater in value than social (the lowest value), it’s clear that quality content leads to more clicks. Just as an example, my blog recently received over 7,000 unique visitors on a single post and, at the time that this happened, there was only one other related post on my blog. Though this other post received some page views, in general I have not had repeat visitors — likely because I did not have any more “quality content” to refer my sources to, and therefore they could not follow this potential loyalty pattern. With that said, a large part of the reason my blog received attention in the first place was because influencer social media accounts shared them.
- Don’t underestimate the search engine. According to a Parse.ly white paper, search engines sometimes bring in more traffic than social media. With that said, the white paper states that social media is also a major contributing factor and should also not be underestimated. For instance, social media was the main reason for referrals when it comes to the top news stories online for the year.
- Promote on all fronts. As you can see from the previous bullet, the leading referrer to your blog or website is dependent on which study you select. The real takeaway is to promote your blog in all ways that you can by optimizing search results, sharing on social media and designing an F-shaped pattern using quality content. As stated by Allie VanNest, “Some publishers such as TheAtlantic.com, social remains a great way to generate traffic in conjunction with audience development goals.”