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Using a Blog SEO Checklist to Streamline Your Blog Post

May 12, 2021 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , , , ,

Did you know that using an Blog SEO Checklist can help you streamline the time it takes you to build your blog posts?

We all know it takes time to figure out what we even want to write about, but then we also need to figure out all the SEO parts that support that particular blog post.

If we were to build the SEO as part of the blog post step, we’d save ourselves a lot of time and be more strategic and purposeful with what we are posting.

I don’t know about you, but it seems every month I forget how much time it takes to organize my SEO because I think about it AFTER I write the post. Sometimes it takes longer figuring out the SEO then it does to write the post and pull graphics together. And then because I’m entering it all last minute, I don’t think it through as much as I would like.

Screen shot of Yoast SEO Fields to complete for stronger SEO

I’m working on changing that and thought it would be helpful to pull together a checklist for all of us.

Focus Keyword: 

Figuring out this first—even before you start writing the post—will help save you time in the long run. What do you want your focus word to be? Everything else should stem from this.

Category & Tags:

Knowing your categories and tags before you develop your blog posts help you be more strategic and set up an organization within your posts. In my classes I help you brainstorm and build out potential ideas for your blog.

Blog Title: 

Make sure to put your focus keyword in your title and the first paragraph of your post.

Slug:

The slug should be condensed version of your title and/or keyword. See my blog post about slugs—URL Slugs: The Right Custom Slug Builds SEO or Custom URL Slug and How To Make One

Meta Description:

This is a summary in a small one-to-two sentence structure. Some use the first paragraph, some change it up. Make sure it includes your focus keyword, and remember this is the summary someone sees if they are searching the topic and your post appears on the search results.

Graphics Alt Text:

The Alt Text should have your keyword in it. If you pick your keyword last and already uploaded your graphics (see my three-part blog post about graphics and SEO) you might miss this opportunity to connect your graphics with stronger SEO.

Think of one link that would support your blog post (research, your own website). You can sign up for my Marketing for Authors Newsletter using this link to my website.

Think of one link within the blog website that supports your current blog post. Don’t forget to use Anchor Text. I did this in the slug section and the graphics alt text above.

How to Apply Your Blog SEO Checklist

I highly recommend creating a spreadsheet to keep track of what you use for SEO every post. It’s important that you don’t repeat the same words and phrases each time, yet build out synonyms and similar themes with your SEO to help establish your authority on certain topics.

If you have a notebook, you can download this sheet to write in the blanks.

a checklist of SEO fields to complete for your blog by Denise M. Colby, Marketing for Authors

Short on time? Take a screen shot of the data, or write it on a post-it note. Anything to help you keep track of your SEO. It’s all about building your brand, and your SEO strategy is a part of that. And using a blog SEO checklist is one way to help you develop this strategy.

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URL Slugs: The Right Custom Slug Builds SEO

February 12, 2021 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , , ,

Did you know you can customize the slug part of the URL for every blog post you create AND that it helps to build SEO? All of us create a URL when we post on this blog. But did you know you can customize it?

Blog post header that talks about how a Custom Slug Builds SEO by marketing for authors owner Denise M. Colby

What is the slug and what does it do. 

A URL is the address of a website page. URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It’s this address that allows someone to go directly to a specific page. The slug is the tail end of the URL that identifies a particular page on a website in an easy to read form.

What’s nice about the slug is that you can provide the link. Or someone can find it in a search engine. 

And we all want someone to find it if they search for the information we are writing about. 

How can a URL slug appear in the searches we want?

Choose the right words.

In my research I found out that the simple extra words can be removed. Words such as the, and, of.

The simpler, the better. Just 4-5 words max.

And using the Keyword or phrase you’ve selected is a bonus when building SEO. 

Even though we don’t own this blog, we want our writing to be found. So SEO on our individual blog pages matter, which means the right slug builds SEO.

And one way to do that is to customize the URL slug. 

How do you customize the URL slug to build SEO?

The slug is listed in the Yoast section at the bottom of our post entry. You can also see it appear in the Permalink to the right, under the document.

Just take out the extra words. Choose words that would be a phrase that someone would write in a search looking for this particular article.

For this blog post, I chose custom-slug-builds-seo, which is the same as my keyword phrase.

I then took this keyword/slug and googled it to make sure that it fit what I wanted it to fit.

Once you set a slug, don’t change it.

This is because once you give out the link to the post, if you change it, no one will be able to find it.

I know I have several slugs I would love to go back and change and make them stronger and shorter. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

But keep in mind. It may not be wise to go back and clean up past URLs. Especially if you have already used them in other blog posts or pages. Once you change the URL the link is broken and people who click on the old link will get an error message. 

If you’d like to learn more about SEO, sign up for my Marketing for Authors newsletter (notice this url slug was created way before I knew to condense them), or take a look at some of my other posts on this website including one about blog post creation.

I’d love to learn your experience with renaming the slug part of URL. Let us all know with your comments listed below.

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How A Question Created a Post: This Month’s Blog Creation Process

June 12, 2020 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,

Ever have non-existent ideas or too many that they are over-whelming?

Blog Post Header Titled The Month's Blog Creation Process by Denise M. Colby

Never fear, my brain can think of plenty of ideas when I have no time to flush them out but when I finally schedule time to write this blog post, they all have escaped my brain.

Anyone else have this problem?

Sometimes the blog creation process can be easy or hard. In searching for a topic to write about this month, I asked myself the question ‘what is the point of a blog post?’ and then decided to google it.

Interesting, that!

Here’s what popped up…

What's the purpose of a blog? google search screen shot of description for post on Blog Creation Process

I love how google also provides similar questions on the same topic. Notice the different choices in words, but they all fit within the same topic. Obviously, people have searched this topic before.

What's the point of a blog post? google search additional questions screen shot for post on Blog Creation Process

And this is why SEO and keywords matter. Someone may not google your name or book directly, but they may google something you’ve answered in a blog post or on your web page.

All of these thoughts should go into your blog creation process.

What is the Purpose of a Blog Post?

These are all the pages that show up on the search’s first page. Notice all the different page titles. Those matter too.

What's the point of a blog post? google search page results screen shot for post on Blog Creation Process

So this leads me to more questions as I ponder my why about my blog creation process. (Yes, my family calls me the Question Queen)

Why do I write blog posts? 

  • I love to write.
  • I love to share ideas.
  • I love to teach and encourage and be positive and inspire.
  • I want to keep learning and challenging myself and writing blog posts do that.

Why do I read blog posts?

  • I want to be informed.
  • I want to connect.
  • I want to learn something specific.
  • I want to read what my friends write.

Why do YOU write and read blog posts? 

I really would love to hear your answers!

As I formulate this into something someone would actually read, I’m asking the question ‘what would you like to read?’

  • Should I write more about branding and SEO topics?
  • Or what’s happening in my writing world over the next few months?
  • Or should I write something related to my continuously never-ending book I’m editing?
  • Or something fun and distracting?

Keep in mind: The process to create a blog post can start with just a question.

Even though I picked a topic out of thin air to write about, as I asked questions and googled one, I was able to create something. It all connects. And that’s what it’s all about.

So, in essence, if we have a topic for a blog post, performing a search about it may wield ideas of phrasing or additional keywords to use so that your post would appear in these searches too.

As I wrap up this post, I now realize I have to figure out a keyword that fits the topic in order for me to have strong SEO. Why I make stuff challenging for myself, I’ll have to cover in an entirely different blog post in the future.

I really would love to know what you would like to read.

It’s much more fun creating content people enjoy. Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

On a side note…I’m teaching on the subject of SEO during the month of July!

Clean white desk with words July Classes on SEO by Denise M. Colby

SEO Marketing for Authors in the ACFW course loop in July. If you are a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), these courses each month are FREE!

I’m also teaching a course on Branding, SEO, & Content, at the Virtual SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference July 9-11. Here’s the link to the conference website.

If you’d like to take a peek at some of my other blog posts, here is a link to my archive on this blog.

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Do or Do Not, There is no Try When it Comes to Building your Brand

May 12, 2020 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , , ,

Since May is all about Star Wars, I thought I’d start with a famous Yoda quote and apply it to a building your brand message:

“Do or Do Not, There is no Try”

Yoda

How does this apply to your author platform?

  • We write or we do not write.
  • We post social media or we do not post social media.
  • We start building a brand or we do not. 

When it comes to building your brand, there’s this fear of getting things wrong.

And sometimes this fear prevents us from doing anything about it.

But that’s exactly what I want to encourage you to do. Do something! Don’t just say you will try. And know, whatever you do, it doesn’t have to be 100% perfect. It’s most important for you to do.

Yes, I know, all the different variables to building your author brand can be stressful. But keep in mind, I’ve seen several small businesses evolve and grow in their online presence. It has opened my eyes to the fact that they did not get to their current place overnight. There’s not a magic switch that turns on everything perfectly. Most sites have evolved over time, trying things that work and don’t work and making adjustments as they work out the kinks.

Our author websites and social media are just like this.

We need to do some things first before we figure out if it works or not. 

That’s what happened with my Marketing for Authors newsletter. I saw a graphic I liked and wanted to make it into the brand for Marketing for Authors. But no matter what I did, it wasn’t working the way I pictured it. And so I put off sending out my newsletter, or doing anything else for that matter. Not very business-minded, was it? So, I too am right in the thick of it, challenging myself with starting over and moving forward.

I’ve since chosen a simple design (thanks Canva!) and color scheme that I can incorporate into my training materials easily. And if I need to change some things as I go, I’m okay with that.

Here’s my new logo.

Building your brand one step at a time blog topic includes Marketing for Authors Logo - Teal, black and white text with a light bulb and MfA over it. By Denise M. Colby

What do you think?

I’m super excited about it. I didn’t overthink it like I usually do, and I can incorporate the colors into my training materials. The only issue is when I print it on my home printer, the color comes out a little more blue than what it looks like on the screen. Since most of my stuff will be digital anyway, I’m moving forward with it. And boy does that feel freeing.

I understand how much establishing brand and building content is complicated and time-consuming. That’s where I want to help you in figuring out what works and to offer encouragement.

As a writer and a small business person, every little action can help propel your brand forward.

For myself, I’ve written my first newsletter and I’m ready to send it out (you can sign up for my free newsletter here). I’m also preparing to teach my first online class and give my first zoom interview. I’m trying not to over think things, but just take baby steps, one step at a time.

I hope to encourage you in the same way.


If interested in learning more about brand and SEO, take a look at some of my past posts:

Why it’s Important to Have a Blog and What to Write About

Why Link Building on Your Website and Blog is Important

Why SEO Should Matter To An Author

Or you can visit my website by clicking on the button below.

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Why it’s Important to Have a Blog and What to Write About

April 12, 2020 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as ,

Writing a blog takes time away from writing your books, but a blog is something an author shouldn’t go without. Why is it important to have a blog and what do you write about? I’ll go over both of those questions in this post. 

Blog Header titled Why It's Important to Have a Blog by Denise M. Colby Marketing for Authors

Just know, the most important reason for a blog, is your brand. 

If done correctly, blog posts can help build your brand.

And your brand will thank you for it.

Here are four ways a blog helps build your brand:

1. You choose what your write about.

All of the parts in your stories build brand because this is what your books are about. Readers choose your books because of the genre, setting, characters, era, and other details, so why wouldn’t they be interested in learning more about those things in blog posts?

Don’t share where your book is being sold (unless it is a new release), but you can share about research, or why a character likes the color blue, or even a theme of your book (When the Plan Does Not Go According to Plan) which all relates back to your books. It might even help new readers to go search for your book and buy it.

2. Build relationship with your readers.

It takes a long time for a new book to hit the market, so connecting with your readers frequently keeps you in their minds.

Build excitement for the next book by sharing a little about your characters or other topics (see point #1) in your books.

You can also connect with your readers about topics that are near and dear to you. Being a Disney fan, I’m working on building blog posts related to my favorite things about Disney.

3. Build interest in your new books as well as your previous ones.

By connecting with readers, they can learn more about you and your books. A blog post about a past book and how much a specific character was your favorite to write about, or a trip you took to conduct research and your favorite sites, might encourage a reader to buy that book and read it.

In my post from this blog, It’s a Short & Sweet Mother’s Day I wrote about my first Mother’s Day without my mom and then the tribute article that was printed in a book titled Short & Sweet Family Album.

4. It adds new SEO onto your website

One of the only ways to add SEO to your website is NEW content. Even a monthly blog allows the internet to see your website is not stagnent. But more than that, having a planned out strategy for your categories and tags, allows you to build your brand within your SEO. 

In theory, readers who are interested in stories that include one-room schoolhouses, would be able to search and find web site pages related to one-room schoolhouses (It’s the One-Room Schoolhouse’s Fault), which in turn might lead them to my book. Or a post related to bookmarks (For the Love of Bookmarks), might connect with a reader who also collects bookmarks. That connection may encourage them to follow you and purchase your books in the future.

I don’t have published books, yet. But I’m building these concepts into my content on my website and blog now.

Screen shot of search with the words I love Bookmarks Denise to find Bookmark blog post
A search for ‘I Love Bookmarks Denise’ brings up my blog post and photos that went with it.

Once you brainstorm ideas, the choices of what to write about is unlimited. And provides another way to find new readers and connect and build a following with existing ones.

So don’t turn away from writing a blog. Embrance it. And consider writing for an outside blog as well. See last month’s post on Why Link Building On Your Website and Blog is Important to learn why I make this suggestion.

I love the topic of Brand and SEO and helping authors develop both. If you are interested in learning more, sign up for my Marketing for Authors newsletter.

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