Last week we discussed (click here to read lost weeks post) how to start a blog and things that you need to do to brand ourself. Hopefully you took those tips into practice and are ready to start pumping content into your blog. Creating content for the online urban space isn’t has easy as it might seem. There are a lot of sites and sources out there that cover the same topics and your going to be doing a lot of overlapping and covering the same topics that your potential competition in the space will cover. So what’s going to give you the edge? What’s going to make people go to your blog first before anyone else?
We’ve put together this tutorial on how to create compelling content for your blog that will help you edge out the competition.
Write for Search
Before you even look at a Hip-hop site or make your first post you need to learn how to write for search. Google.com is the online lord and master and if you are not writing with Google search in mind then you might as well give it up now. Writing for search means that you need to know what keywords people are going to type into Google to find the information that they want. And if done correctly your site will land on the first page of Google results and will drive lots of traffic to your site. Your primary goal is to use the keywords that most people would use whenever searching for information.
So for example you want to write about the new Jay-Z album. So you need to figure out what people will type into Google to find that information. So it could be “new jay-z album 2008, Jay-Z album, new Jay-z music, Jay-Z new release.” These 5 keyword phrases should then appear in your post title and in the first 100 words of your content at a ratio of 3-5%. Meaning that you will want your post title to read “Jay-Z’s Releases new Album in 2008” and then you will want to inter mix your keywords within the first 100 words of your post.
Then when the Google search spiders come around and read your content then they will know your content is all about Jay-Z and his new album.
Another thing of importance is your permalinks aka permanent links. When you first start your blog your site will post something like this
http://www.blog.com/?=122. You do not want this as your permalink. You want your link to have your keywords in it. Go into the blog admin section of your site and change your permalink to display as http://www.blog.com/2008/tips_for_blogging. This way when the spider comes along it will also see your keywords in your permalink string and know that the content is fully about.
Other things of note are the usage of PING services and the creation of a Google sitemap. Most sites will contact a ping service for you once you update. But as a rule of thumb make sure to sign up for Technorati.com and it’s built in service will ping your site. A ping alerts the search engines that you have updated your content. Keeping your content updated daily will make sure that Google comes by and checks out your new content and that it gets indexed into the search engines.
Keep Your Content Interesting
Writing for search doesn’t mean that your content has to be BORING! It is 100% important that you find your online voice and have fun with it. People who read the Greasy Guide know I have a particular voice, I talk about particular subjects a lot and I’m a huge Janet Jackson fan. But what’s most important is that you find a unique style that is run, entertaining and worthwhile for people to read. Remember that you want to build a fan base and you want people coming back to your site daily.
So now that you have found your voice and mastered writing for search, now you need fresh sources of content to keep your site going. Here is my master list of places to find good urban content and how to keep track of it all.
Google News Alert:
Go to News.Google.com and set up new alerts for yourself. Take the keywords that you focus on like hip-hop, Beyonce, music, Jay-Z and create a google news alert for that keyword. Set it to Comprehensive and As it Happens so you a mix of news and blog content. Once it goes live to your account you will receive e-mails with news and information for that keyword. This way you will see what’s going on has it happens and be able to have a consistent flow of news.
The Google Reader lets you follow the RSS feeds of sites that you like, sites your friends like, and recommends new sites for you to follow. I have my Google Reader set up with over 100 sites and I check it often. This way I get to see a full picture of what people are talking about on the net at any given time. Each time a new site is updates then I can go right to my Google Reader and see what the latest information is. I find it a serious valuable resource for my daily content creation.
Google.com/Trends is a site where you can see what people are searching for on the net at any time. It’s updated hourly and it is critical to your career as a blogger to follow this site daily. You will see what keywords you need to use my click on the topic in the Trends list. For example I saw in Google Trends that people where talking about Toni Braxton’s hospitalization. So I quickly pulled together 2 post about that and received about 2,000 extra visits during those two days by make sure I have content on my site that people where searching for. Same with Ashley A. Dupree, the Elitor Spitzer girl brought in 21,000 visitors to my site reading about her troubles.
Another excellent source for content is Alltop.com. This site pulls together all of the best sites on the web and gives you a big snap shot of what’s going on right now. Celebrities.alltop.com is a good place to start to see what’s going on from day to day in the world of Celebrities. You can quickly see important headlines and then you will know what you need to cover in your own unique voice for that day.
Everyone loves to look a photos on the web so whenever possible post a photo gallery. But be warned that image copyright carry high fines to make sure you use sites that give you permission to use the photos. Sites like WENN or WireImage are when you can get the most up to date photos of celebs.
Online video is HUGE right now and you can capitalize on that trend by posting video to your site. YouTube lets you quickly embed a video clip into your site. Video clips do very well and get people sending a lot of time on your site. I recently posted the new Lil’ Wayne video “Lollipop” on my site and people where spending at least 10 minutes on that post watching the video.
If your going to jump into the urban blogging space please make sure you keep all of these tips in mind. Blogging takes a lot of time and energy but it’s worth it in the long run. But if you update daily and keep search in mind then you will be well on your way to becoming a blog super star.
New week in part 3 of this series we will go DEEP into how to make money with your blog.