7 Steps to Optimize Your Blog Posts Like a Pro

I’m a content manager; my background is in public relations with a little bit of marketing strategy and graphic design. I’m sitting here thinking, “What do I know about online optimization!?” I’m not a web design guru; I’m no software engineer or web developer.

And then it occurs to me, if I can get the basics done, like keyword research, I can easily optimize those blog posts I write by using a simple tool that is built into our WordPress dashboard, Yoast. I’m sure there are other SEO plugins that do similar things, but Yoast is the one I know so Yoast is the way it goes.

Now that you know my secret tool, here is a step-by-step guide to optimizing your blog posts:

Step 1:

Identify the keywords you’d like to optimize for. This process starts with a basic idea of what your organization (or your client’s) covers, and then you can dig down into the specific relevant phrases that people are using to search for your organization’s product or services.

Step 2:

Pick a focus. Don’t try to optimize one post for all of the keywords you’ve identified. Pick a few that correlate and make sense and then delegate the rest into groups of similar terms as well (those can be for your next post, and then the one after that.)

Step 3:

Write your post. Try to use the exact phrases that you’ve identified in your keyword search, without sounding forced. You don’t want optimizing your blog post to make it unreadable. For example, did you notice I have used a version of the word “optimize” four times already?

Step 4:

Proofread. This isn’t really necessary to optimize your blog post, but a personal preference that you ensure what you’re publishing makes sense. (Thanks!)

Step 5:

Tell the web what your post is! This is where Yoast comes in.

  1. Enter your focus keyword into the spot that says “Focus keyword.” This is the specific keyword or phrase that you used the most throughout the post.
  2. Write your SEO title. You might have an awesomely clever title, but if it doesn’t say what your post is about, your SEO won’t be as strong for your blog post. Use this space to write a title that is enticing and clear, and preferably that includes the focus keyword. This is what will show up in search results when someone does an online search for your keyword.
  3. Develop the meta description. This should have your focus keyword in it, and be in complete sentences. Typically, I like to copy a sentence or two that includes my keyword straight from the post. This is what will show up under your SEO title to give online searchers more information about your post. It should be short, sweet and to the point.

Step 6:

yoast seoMake sure you get the “green light” on your SEO check provided by Yoast. If you don’t, go back and identify the places that can be improved.
The plug-in will show you if your keyword is being used in each of these places for maximum optimization:

  • Article heading
  • Page Title
  • Page URL
  • Content
  • Meta Description

If you’ve included your keyword in all of these places, you’ll get an SEO green light.

Green light means go!

Step 7:

Publish and share!

Bonus:

Here are some bonus tips to ensure your blog post is optimized to its max potential:

  • Use your target keyword more than once.
  • Incorporate your target keyword into your URL.
  • Include an image that has your target keyword in the “alt text.”
  • Pin that image as the “featured image.”
  • Link to other blog posts on your site and/or link to other influencers’ content (they will get a pingback to notify them that their content is being shared).
  • Apply relevant tags and categories to your post.
  • If you can, use your target keyword in a heading somewhere in your post.

So I’m not an SEO expert or web development guru, but with a little research and help from a plug-in, I can optimize my blog posts with the big guns. Do you have any other tips or best practices to share for optimizing posts?

IMG_2750Kala Linck is the Community and Content Manager at Duct Tape Marketing. You can find her blogging her travels and tweeting about marketing, coffee, and cats @tadasunshine.

What Is Shared Hosting and Is it Reliable for a Business Website?

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 5.06.18 PM

photo credit: flickr

Imagine that you are trying to start up a website for your company and you want to consider your options.

Well, you first should perhaps consider what you are going to do for the exact purpose of the website (whether that is marketing, actually selling products, or offering an online service).

Then, you might want to consider some of the design elements of the website and how it might be the best thing for your particular clientele. Yet with all of this to consider, one question still remains. How should I host this website?

You can use shared hosting or dedicated hosting. Dedicated hosting will mean a single server for your website and that server has what you want on it and only what you want on it. Shared hosting means sharing the server space with several (or many, depending on the service) other websites.

Try to think of dedicated hosting as living alone and shared hosting as having unknown roommates with unknown needs and dispositions.

Based on these definitions, shared hosting is almost always cheaper, as there are several users sharing the costs.

Responsibility

 

That being said, shared hosting also shares the responsibilities among those using the server, as well as the consequences. For example, another company could be engaging in spamming practices and could get your IP blacklisted from search engines. This is not good for your business and it would be a large problem to fix.

However, if you don’t have a dedicated IT professional or some other service that manages your computer networks, websites, and systems, then you might want to lean toward shared hosting. Hosting services often put up protections for you and there will often be a weight of responsibility on the shared server should something go wrong. You will also not need all of the technical expertise that is needed with using a dedicated server (although some options might have a dedicated and managed server, for a price of course).

There are great limitations, though, on some of that protection. Shared hosting is often not so easily compatible with some security protocols, and if another website is compromised on your server then all of the websites could become compromised.

If you need data and/or your website to be absolutely safe and that is your highest priority, avoid shared hosting like the plague and do it yourself. If you do it yourself, you can control everything and take the risks you want to, and no more.

Bandwidth

With shared hosting, you are also going to share the bandwidth. Do you only expect your website to get a little bit of traffic? Then shared hosting is fine. Otherwise, your customers may experience lag or other problems should the other websites on the server get a lot of traffic at the same time you are. They won’t blame the shared server like you might, but they might directly blame you for their poor experience.

So, to answer the question about whether shared hosting is reliable and a good idea, you must ask another question. Do I trust the people sharing with me? More specifically, you should be asking the question “Do I trust the people sharing with me enough so that a vital part of my business is in their hands?”

The answer, if you are a large organization that can afford better options, is probably not. Otherwise, it might be great for a simple website with some contact information. As with many things relating to technology, the choice is yours and only you have all the information. Thank you for reading and we hope you make an informed decision on how to move forward with your website.

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 5.06.11 PMCaroline is a technology enthusiast and blogger who writes for www.securethoughts.com. She enjoys writing about technology and her main area of interest is internet security.

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