Writing a blog sometimes feels like a running a marathon. To be successful requires serious commitment.
Once you have the headline, written the post and wrestled the words into a Web-friendly format, you’re half-way there.
The real work now begins. You must make your article visible and publish it where your audience is.
One of the best places to start is optimizing your blog for search engines.
Search engines should be an important part of every bloggers marketing strategy. I have found it essential. In fact, I can attribute 40 percent of my traffic to search engines.
Step #1. Assign a category
WordPress includes a section that allows you to enter which topics your article should be categorized. An article can be included in several categories.
To add to the standard SEO capabilities of WordPress, I recommend an additional plug-in for entitled “All in One SEO Pack.” It’s easy to install even for non-programmers and optimizes your WordPress blog for search engines.
Once loaded, it will appear at the bottom of your “edit post” screen and will make your article highly visible to search engines.
Step #2. Write a title with essential keywords
This is what Google (or Bing or Yahoo) will index and place on the results page when someone is searching. It is as important as your headline and will also be your search “title.” It is best to keep it to 60 characters if possible.
Step #3. Write a description
Also appearing on the search results page is a description, commonly known as the “meta description.” It needs to be written to tempt people to click on the search result link.
Step #4. Enter keywords
Use keywords that appear in your article and that people will use to search for your posts.
Step #5. Give your images a description
Search engines can’t index or read images unless they’re given a text description. This is often called “alternate text.”
Promoting—the sharing and marketing
Now that you have optimized your post for search engines, you need to share and promote your content.
Step #6. Publish to your Facebook page
Take your blog post’s URL then publish it to your Facebook page.
I don’t automate this, as research seems to indicate that manual posting is more effective (it only takes seconds to do).
The more frequently your fans like, comment and share your content, the better. The best indicator of this is the “Talking about this” stat.
Making it easy for people to like your Facebook page from within your blog is very important. I have found that the WordPress “Facebook Social Plug-in” is great for this. It’s my main driver of Facebook likes.
Step #7. Tweet it to your followers
Tweeting once is not enough. A new post needs to be tweeted several times the day it’s published. Remember, Twitter is a stream—not an inbox—so you need to toss your link into the Twitter torrent a few times to get noticed.
Step #8. Share it on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is often forgotten in the social media sharing equation, but it’s a business focused network where content is passed around. This platform with 150 million members drives traffic, especially for a B2B-focused blog.
Step #9. Post it onto StumbleUpon
Research seems to give substance to the re-emerging power of StumbleUpon, so post your article onto this social network.
Step #10. Share images on Pinterest
If you have cool images such as infographics on your blog posts from time to time, don’t forget to share them on your Pinterest boards.
Step #11. Share on Google Plus
This may not be a big traffic driver at this stage, but it’s still an emerging social network that should be in your mix.
Step #12. Email it to your subscribers
Email is still a powerful marketing medium. This marketing channel used to be the only way bloggers could get their content out before the arrival of social networks.
Make sure you capture emails on your blog and then email your blog post to those subscribers. Subscribers must opt-in, which will provide you with a loyal band of readers.
You will be surprised how many people will be waiting for your blog post to arrive in their inbox to consume with their morning coffee.
Jeff Bullas is a digital media coach, mentor, consultant and speaker. He blogs at JeffBullas.com, where a version of this article originally ran.