Are you a blogger who has dreamed of writing and publishing the best blog post ever?
Do you know the basics of blogging already, or are you just starting out?
Do you want to improve your posts? Would you like to learn a new trick or two? Take your blogging skills up a notch? Learn the secrets of “bigger” bloggers?
Regardless of your blogging status, I’m willing to bet that you still have a few things to learn. There’s always room for improvement, right? (Yes, and that’s why you’re here right now, reading this post!)
Luckily For You…
I’m here to help. I want to help you. I want to teach you. I also want to prove to you that I know what I’m talking about. You can and you will learn from me and my experiences. I promise.
I wasn’t offered a special appearance on Dear Blogger for nothing.
In case you didn’t know this: Dear Blogger has never before had a guest blogger. I’m the first.
There’s a reason for this: I have met and exceeded all of Greg’s expectations. I’ve impressed other bloggers so much, too, with my knowledge that I’ve appeared on another blogging blog. My guest post on the topic of editing blog posts was recently published on Ashley Faulkes’ blog. His site is called Mad Lemmings. I am proud to say that I am the first person to guest post on that blog as well!
So Who Am I?
My name is Lorraine Reguly. I’m the person who has scoured the internet and has read blog posts about creating and publishing blog posts until I thought my brain was going to burst.
I’ve also applied what I have learned, which is a lot. The good news is that I’m willing to let you in on a few blogging secrets, too. There’s no bad news. (Aren’t you glad?)
As a teacher, I am compelled to share my knowledge with others. As a writer, I decided to consolidate this information into an eBook, and as a blogger, I felt that getting it out to other bloggers as soon as possible was my duty.
For the last part, I needed Greg’s help! (If you are new here, Greg is the great guy who runs Dear Blogger. And if you’re reading this, you probably need some of his help, too!)
What’s the Deal with My eBook?
The eBook I wrote is called 20 Blog Post Must-Haves (click to be one the first to enter the Bookstore). It is jam-packed with information. Big time.
The funny part is that it originally started out as a blog post.
Because I wanted to include a bunch of posts for further reading, my own experiences, and specific step-by-step instructions, it morphed into the ultimate guide for creating and publishing the best blog post ever! Helpful and inspirational images are included, too, as well as a bonus section. Resources are plentiful and the information is solid.
20 Blog Post Must-Haves is a must-have for every blogger. Just ask Greg!
Today I’ll share some of the essentials with you. (You lucky duck!)
I’ll also be sharing content in this post that is not in the book. I think that it’s only fair that you should learn something, especially if you don’t have a credit card or a PayPal account, or simply have no extra money to spend right now.
To start, I’ll share some information about title creation. There is more to this subject than you would think!
I could have called this book The Ultimate Guide for Creating and Publishing The Best Blog Post Ever, but twelve words is simply too long for a title – for a book OR a blog post. I needed something simpler. I also wanted a title that would convey what the content was about AND who it was for. 20 Blog Post Must-Haves clearly accomplishes this.
It is also a title that is short enough to share on Twitter. Here are two sample Tweets:
Notice how there is room left over if someone wants to Retweet this to their followers? It tells me that I have 25 “leftover” spaces! THIS IS IMPORTANT. Twitter only allows you 140 character spaces. It’s up to you to only use about 100 or so. Less is better, especially if you have a long “handle” or username, since Twitter adds “via @[yourusername]” and the initials “RT” when someone retweets your tweets. (It’s nice of Twitter to give the original Tweeter this credit, too, isn’t it?!)
Notice that the shorter title is much better than the long title! Look at this sample tweet to see what the Tweet would look like if I used the long title:
Using the longer title makes Retweeting impossible. Where would via @lorrainereguly go?
If someone wanted to share this, they would have to modify the original Tweet OR create their own tweet, which would run into the same problem if they used the long title. A modified Retweet may also be possible if the hashtags were omitted. Often people don’t want to take the time to modify someone else’s Tweet or create a new one – especially when they are doing you a favour by retweeting you in the first place!
Let me ask you this: When was the last time you modified a Tweet? Have you ever modified a Tweet? How often have you seen “MT” instead of “RT”? Or have you ever? I’ve only witnessed this once. (See what I mean?) Retweeting should be easy, a click or two and you’re done. By choosing a shorter title, I have clearly eliminated these problems!
There are a few more things to consider when crafting compelling titles, but you’ll have to buy the eBook for the rest! (I can’t tell you EVERYTHING right now! I will, however, tell you that Blog Post Must-Have #8 is: Create a Compelling, Clickable Title, and #18 is about promoting your post.)
Other things you should know – ahem, MUST know – right now are some facts and stats about me, since you can learn from my experiences. I’ll share a few other things with you, too, including two short excerpts from my book.
The reason I want to tell you a bit about myself and reveal how I went from “nobody” to “somebody” on the blogging scene is because you will learn a few tips about blogging simply from hearing my accomplishments and blogging goals. Trust me on this. And this information is not included in my book. I didn’t want my book to be about all about me – it’s about helping YOU.
I want you to understand that EVEN YOU can achieve some of YOUR blogging goals.
Right about now, you might be saying to yourself: Huh? Blogging goals? Do I even have blogging goals?
I’m here to tell you that you do, whether you realize it or not!
Surprised? Don’t be.
There was a point when I didn’t know I had blogging goals, either. (That’s why I’m here. I want to help you achieve them.)
Most of you may not have heard of me, because I am “new to the scene”. I’m what you would call an “up-and-comer” – or a “blogger to watch”. I am a certified teacher, a writer, an editor, and (yes, you guessed it!) a blogger. However, I’m not a marketer, and so my blog, Lorraine Reguly’s Life, is not known by everyone worldwide. Yet. That’s because it is largely a personal blog, not a public blog. But this is changing. It seems to be taking on a life of its own, thanks to Google, and how Google is ranking some of my blog posts, which, incidentally, were written with the 20 Blog Post Must-Haves in mind!
Some facts and stats:
- I began blogging in January 2013, four days after purchasing a laptop.
- I hadn’t owned a computer since 2006. Even then, I didn’t use it. It was old and didn’t work.
- I started a blog to document my writing and publishing journey.
- I never thought anyone would take an interest in it.
- People started to read my blog, Lorraine Reguly’s Life. (Even though it was called Lorraine Reguly’s Life!)
- Unbeknownst to me, Google started sending people to my blog because the 4th post I wrote ranked in the top 5, with varying rankings depending on the specific search terms used (It was about my experience with the VisualBee toolbar and what I did to remove it after it was unintentionally installed on my computer.)
- My blog – like millions of others in the blogosphere – was nominated for several awards.
- The first award I got was the Liebster Award, and like many newbie bloggers, I had no idea what this was, so I decided to “google it”.
- I learned about it after reading many blog posts.
- I wondered, “If I write a post about this award, will it end up on the first page of results?”
- I decided to do an experiment. I consolidated my newfound knowledge in my acceptance post of this award, and added the words “Official Rules” to my blog post’s title.
- At the time, I had no idea what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was.
- I also knew nothing about crafting awesome titles for my posts.
- I ended up titling this post The Liebster Award: The Official Rules + My First Blog Award and a Few Personal Secrets Revealed.
- To my surprise, I got Google’s attention.
- This post is ranked #1 on Google.
- Variations on search terms still rank is as #1. Look at the various terms used in these pictures; they all yield the same result – a ranking of #1
- I decided to experiment further. I read some posts about SEO, learned that writing naturally and not for search engines is better than trying to stuff your posts with keywords.
- I read tons of posts about blogging, and discovered that there is more to blogging than meets the eye.
- I wrote posts I had no intention of writing, (A) to help people and (B) to see how they would rank (yes, another experiment, of sorts!)
- I was amazed at the results!
- My post on Google+ Circles is found on the 3rd page of search results (good researchers check out several pages!) BUT my other post on Google+ Circles is ranked #6 on the first page of results.
- My post on tips for making a good impression is also found on the 3rd page of search results BUT my post on turning weaknesses into strengths is ranked #2 on the first page.
- My post on adding click-to-tweet links to blog posts is ranked #3.
- My post on How to Add Images to Your Sidebar is ranked #3 BUT is ranked #1 if Google is asked: Is there a video that can show me how to add images to my sidebar?
- Others started linking to my site! People noticed my awesomeness! My skills helped teach others! I was pleased and proud! Word got around, and now I’m loved by many! (I told you I was a “blogger to watch”!)
- Currently, 285 bloggers link to Lorraine Reguly’s Life. This number is growing each day. (YAY!)
- The coolest thing about all this? My blog is a free blog on WordPress.com and I have not spent a single cent on blogging. I am living proof that you CAN accomplish things even if you have no money.
Okay, I think I’ve bragged enough. (Yes, I hear all of you saying, “Hurry up and show me those excerpts! Blogging tips are needed NOW! Get on with it already!”)
Alright. Calm down! I’m getting to them. Geez. Let me have my fifteen minutes of fame, will ya? 😉
To introduce a few more important elements of blog posts (which is THE name of the game in my eBook here) let me ask you a question.
Are you having trouble reading this one (this blog post)?
Seriously, stop for a moment and answer this. It’s important.
I know your answer is “NO!”
Now let me ask you another question.
Do you have an answer to that? Maybe you’re wondering how I knew your response to my first question, and “Is she psychic?”
There are actually several reasons why you responded this way. Let me fill you in.
My Super-Powers (A.K.A. why you think I’m psychic)
I’m not overusing colours. Or bolded text. Or italicized text.
Plus, there is a lot of white space. My paragraphs are short and easy to read. I’m using simple words that everyone can understand.
These points are included in my book, 20 Blog Post Must-Haves.
I’m also presenting this material to you in a conversational tone.
As promised, here is an excerpt (which ends with a Further Reading link):
Step 5: Use the Colour, Bold, and Italicize Features Properly, and Never Underline!
Highlight important points by using bold text or italics, and add colour to your post in the subheadings. Never underline, though, since underlining generally indicates a link to another website. Note that links may also be indicated with a colour, so choose and use your colours wisely!
Step 6: Don’t Forget the “White Space”
Write using short paragraphs. Write one-sentence paragraphs, too. This makes reading and comprehension easier.
Use lists, or bullet points, to help highlight important points.
If you are telling a story, you probably won’t use lists, but you can remember to include a lot of white space. It’s easier to read a couple of lines than a long paragraph of twenty sentences! Break long paragraphs into shorter ones!
This information is common sense, really, and something you may have heard before. Notice that I have used short, concise sentences and few colours. The words are visually appealing and presented in a “nice” way. The information is easy to understand. I have also followed my own advice – advice that you “must-have” in order to be a better blogger!
20 Blog Post Must-Haves was created for YOU. Remember that!!!
My Parting Words
Creating a blog post shouldn’t be like doing calculus or running a 50K marathon. Blog posting should be fun! There are simple tips to follow, like these ones, but there are a few complex ones, too.
Since I am not a technical person by nature, I operate on the assumption that others are like me, and need help. I keep my language simple, my tone informal, and try to let my good-natured personality shine through. I’m easygoing, and I like connecting with others. I’m genuinely interested in helping others learn. These attributes made me a good teacher. Now they make me a good blogger, and ebook author.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Good, now go get the book and get this wisdom for yourself!
Greg – Here is my seriously massive “bio” (What can I say? #Dedication!)
Lorraine Reguly is a certified English teacher-turned-blogger, writer, and editor. During her ten months of being online, she has mastered her blogging skills. Her two posts on the Liebster Award (an award received by newbie bloggers) both hit the #1 spot in Google search! Whether you are looking for general information on this award OR the rules for receiving it, you will be brought to her site!
Several of her other posts are also ranked in the top spots on the first page of results. Clearly, Lorraine knows what she’s doing! Lucky for us, Lorraine has used her expertise to write an ebook, “20 Blog Posts Must-Haves” that is sure to be a hit for bloggers wanting to increase their knowledge. The images included are those of her own creation, used to illustrate the points she makes in this book.
Visit her site, Lorraine Reguly’s Life, for her posts on True Tales Tuesdays and Featured Fridays, where she blogs with an honesty that is unparalleled by most bloggers in the blogosphere. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and LinkedIn – and leave a comment for her on her blog! (She LOVES comments!)
Now, what are you waiting for?! Go visit the bookstore to hear more from Lorraine!
Enjoy this post? Let’s chat about it in the comments.