As writers I think we can all agree on one thing: we desire to be read.
So what happens when you spend hours each week crafting an article for your website or blog only to find that very few people have read it? Discouragement can set in quickly but it is soon overclouded by confusion. You know the content is good. You know it is written well. Your writer's critique group raved over it so what could be the problem?
It's simple. In the vast network of the internet your website is lost. No one can find it. If it can't be found, it can't be read.
The internet is like a library. It stores and shares millions of written works in the hopes someone will want to check them out. Search engines are like the card catalog guiding people to what interests them. In this internet library, your website is still in a back room somewhere waiting for the librarian to tag it, categorize it, add it to the card catalog and put it on a shelf.
Five Ways to Get on the Shelf and Get Noticed
1. Choose an SEO (search engine optimization) friendly platform. Self-hosted WordPress sites are superior when it comes to SEO friendliness. This platform also delivers more options in the way of advertising, plug-ins, networking and monetizing. Perhaps the most appealing feature for writers is that you own your content with this platform. If you write on a free platform then you should check your terms. It is likely they can use your content at any time to benefit them and you can't do anything about it.
2. Use highly searched keywords. I use and recommend Google's keyword tool to find the terms that people are searching for but that have low competition. Strategically placing them in the title and post body in a way that reads naturally will contribute to an increase in search rank. Using those same keywords to name the photos within the post will also bring traffic.
3. Optimize internal links. Linking to your articles from within other articles is called internal linking. This practice is beneficial for several reasons but we'll discuss the two main ones. Internal linking causes others to stay on your blog longer. The longer people stay, the lower your bounce rate which increases your search ranking. It also serves as a way to get more hits from your RSS feed reader subscribers. Without links within a post they aren't likely to click over to your site but if there is an enticing link within an article then chances are good that they will click on it. NOTE: Always use search worthy anchor text when linking. That means you should not use "click here" as the link. Instead use a keyword phrase or the title of the post. No one searches for "Click here."
4. Network with other writers in your niche. You can reach more together than you can apart. When you link to each other Google pays close attention. That is what Google looks for. In addition to it being good for search rankings it is also great for readership. You expose each other to your readers. The internet is an unlimited audience. Here we can share readers instead of competing for them. Guest posting on sites is the most successful way of gaining other readers. Promoting each other on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter increases search rankings and exposes you to new readership.
5. Avoid duplicate content posting. In the past when a writer published on another site they would simply freshen up an old article or even use the same article on multiple sites. That is no longer advised. Google frowns upon sites that have duplicate content. It is also no longer recommended that you write excerpts to articles on your blog since that too can be seen as duplicate content. Instead, change out complete words and sentences or rearrange the format of articles before reusing them. Publish a synopsis on your site to direct traffic to the article you wrote and be sure to use searchable anchor text when doing so. This practice will benefit both sites.We've only scratched the surface of ways to improve your web presence but this list will definitely get you out of the backroom and onto a shelf to be discovered.
Amy Bayliss is a professional writer whose preferred medium is the internet. Her skills and talent help hundreds as a consultant and the co-founder of DIYMinistry.org. Along with her business partner, Lisa Boyd, they have made the site a one-stop site for help for those looking to build a platform online. You can also find Amy blogging at her home on the web: AmyBayliss.com.