Blogger Elinor Yee has a few suggestions.
Originally published at Elinor Yee’s blog A Horse For Elinor:
There’s some fantastic content out there, in all those blogs, some is really well worth a read! But much of it doesn’t actually, you know, get read.
None of us are expert blog marketing gurus. Let’s face it – we’d rather be in the saddle than reading up on mysterious ways to increase readership traffic on our little side-kick horse blogs.
Since we’re all in this together – today is all about sharing a bit of what I’ve learned from 3 years of blogging.
1. Fewer words. So little time.
Many horse blog posts I’ve come across are simply too long. Wordiness and endless blabber isn’t going to get much more than a click on the Back button.
Unless a post is documenting a very specific event, contains research, intricate discussion points etc., it should be easy to keep it under 600 words. Every time! It will help readers actually make it through to the end. Trust me on this one.
2. Pictures. Without them, no blog is truly alive.
Your posts need images that will anchor the text and the content, and offer a break for the eye. Test your self when reading other articles. Which ones do you find the easiest to read and follow?
Note how soon a picture will appear in the text, often very high up, and how a second image will make the post seem less “chunky” even if there are several sentences before and after it.
Experiment with your posts. It’s a blog outlet, not a book.
3. Tag your images!
Google has a phantasmic way of sorting and organizing web content. Take advantage of it! All that’s needed: correctly labeled pictures – readers will find your content through images searches. And find your blog, yay!
While there’s no proven way to make sure of a high rank in Google results, chances are upped by putting a tag on the picture. If you don’t, Google will use the title of the image, which isn’t often as descriptive.
The more “unique” the content, the better chance of a higher search-rank result. Your horse abscessed from a broken wine bottle opener, and you found the corkscrew poking out of the hoof wall? Label the picture!
All bets are I’ll find it when I search for it. Because that’s the sort of stuff that would happen to my horse! And yep, you know I’d be up all night searching for a picture of it to see if this can actually happen…
3 1/2. Tagging posts.
Honorable mention for tagging the posts too. From the WordPress articles I’ve read on this, depending on the content of the post anywhere between three to ten tags is good. With eleven, we’re pushing it and the post may not even show up in the Reader.
Personally, since this is All Horse, All The Time, mine rarely go above eight.
4. Provide some space. Avoid squashing everything together.
Many readers will come to your blog from a small phone, late at night, when the day is done and they don’t have the energy to read big blocks of text. Again: it’s a Horse Blog.
Sometimes posts are really good, but because they read like an essay, I just skim through the content — because they’re too long. Too cluttered. Too squished.
A couple of simple clicks on the space bar will make for easier breathing. And reading.
5. No need for Social Media Channel Overload.
How many channels do you absolutely need to post on to have a solid readership?
Your blog platform? Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest? Some other cross-posted platform? Plus all the others… Really? Not sure I’ve bought this.
Three is OK. Feel like you absolutely have to Tweet, Pin, flash on Insta, and schlep up on some other channels? Fine. Just know that it isn’t a requirement for having meaningful interaction with readers.
6. Forget Diary Posts. It’s so pre-2010.
Don’t have much to say today? No need for a “just-because” post! Also, no need for “catching-up” post content. It often feels stressful to read, harried, egocentric, and irrelevant.
Everyone doesn’t have to read about everything that has happened. That goes up on your Facebook feed instead! And then friends can unfollow you there.
7. Be ready for the tone of posts to be misunderstood. Roll with it.
Things will go wrong sometimes. Or often. English isn’t even my first language, so hey, there you go.
A focus on always creating flowy sentences or just the perfect intonation will pretty much kill off any creativity. Too much pressure.
In the end, blogging will feel blocked. And all those intentions to post will wane. Some days, just post and be happy!
8. Cuss words may not be necessary. Unless you’re incredibly funny.
This blog hasn’t been that funny yet.
9. Write for yourself, not to please any particular reader.
Having a narrow niche blog is great. And if you’re here, yours isprobably about horses. That doesn’t mean you have to appeal to a specific person(s). Just something to keep in mind…
10. Count on possibly getting completely picked apart.
Picked apart is usually constructive. Appreciate it!
On the other hand, getting attacked can only mean two things. Either it’s from some troll, who should be ignored. Or, your content is simply painful/neglectful/dumb-bottle-necked for the horses. Post stuff like that and be ready to be eaten up. And definitely unfollowed. I’ve avoided this category so far.
And trolling, myself, is not high on my “Let’s-make-time-for-this-today” list. The Unfollow is much easier.
As always, I’d love to hear your comments on this!
Go blogging, and go riding.
Elinor Yee is a dressage enthusiast originally from Sweden who trains and shows her young mare on her own. She is striving to get to 3rd level and writes about the journey to get there and about anything “Dressage On A Dime.” Oh, and she very rarely falls off.