Hitting Publish to push your post out to wherever it lives on the Internet is far from the final act of blogging.
Take these seven additional steps to ensure that your blog is being discovered by new readers and revisited by existing ones.
1. Share Your Post on Social Media
Tweet the link to your post. Share it with your Facebook friends. If it has relevance to your business actions, inform your LinkedIn network and groups. Go where you socialize online, and tell those people.
Don’t just throw the link to your new blog post at them and consider your effort a success, though. Here’s an important word: relevance. Ingrain it into your objectives for blogging. Why is clicking on the link to your post important to the people you’re sharing it with? Give them a reason to click. Tease them with a question, or tell them what nagging issue it might solve for them if they read the post.
And always ask for feedback.
If you give this some thought before you start the effort, it should take you only about 10 to 15 minutes to accomplish.
2. Shrink the URL of Your Post
Twitter and other social networks have character limits on status updates, so maximize the room you have to lay out the premise for your blog post by running it through a URL shortener. Not only does it economize character usage, it also serves as a way for you to track clicks and shares of the post’s link.
Here are some of the most commonly used URL shorteners:
This should take only about five minutes.
3. Optimize Your Post With a Keyword Phrase
Select the top keyword phrase matching the topic of your blog post, and make sure that this chain of words has been integrated into your title, URL, meta description, and tags. For this post, I optimized for the phrase “habits of successful bloggers.”
It shouldn’t take you longer than about five to 10 minutes, but the post will be easier to find in search engine results.
WordPress users, I highly recommend the free WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast, which makes it painless to find a focus keyword. That’s probably enough. But if you really want to drill down, you’ll want to spend some time on keyword research.
4. Bookmark Your Post on Relevant Social Media
If you don’t actively use sites such as Digg and StumbleUpon, forget about them. Unless you are a frequent participant on those sites and have a track record of sharing content other than your own, posting your own blog URL will just get you ignored.
That said, it’s highly complementary if you’re sliding it in alongside a rich sharing of other cool links you’ve found. If it’s useful, spend the five or so minutes it takes to throw bookmarks here to attract more readers.
5. Link to Other Posts on Your Blog
You’ll probably have older, related posts on your blog that add relevance to the new post. Find them. If you’ve used tags and keywords appropriately, this is as easy as doing a search of your blog.
Linking to these older posts is a great way to add some mojo to blog posts that aren’t ranking well in the search results. But primarily, this exercise provides an easy way for your readers to find other posts related to what they’re reading.
6. Comment on Other Relevant Blogs
Reciprocity. It’s a good thing.
I don’t think Martha Stewart has ever said that, although I suspect she would agree.
Do a quick online search for the top results on your post’s keyword phrase. Go to the highest ranked two or three blogs and leave a comment on the post. Warning: Fake reciprocity runs afoul of the objective of this exercise. Don’t waste your time if you’re not going to add relevance.
The reason you’re doing this is to offer a new angle or insight not seen in the post, which your new blog post does cover. Readers of that blog will visit yours by following the link. More important, the author of that blog might just become a reader and in turn add more reciprocal links to your blog.
This may take longer than any of the additional steps I’ve mentioned—up to 20 minutes or more because you’ll have to search, read, formulate for relevancy, and maybe even register to contribute to add a comment to a blog. But the payoff is worth the time invested.
7. Write a Few Personal Messages
If you use popular blogging software such as Blogger or WordPress, you already know how easy it is to integrate RSS and auto-notify email messages to your blog’s registered subscribers so they know about new content when you post it.
That’s personalized, but it’s not personal.
Look through your contacts and identify at least one person you believe would truly find the subject of your new blog post helpful and interesting. Send that person a personal message. Don’t forget to include the link. If it does actually help the reader, he or she will likely share the link.
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