Blogging...the first step is to start! Really, if you haven't started yet...don't get caught up in the rest of the article. Check out our Introduction to Yoga Websites instead.
However, if you have been taking action and posting regularly, like how I feel about websites in general, if there's going to a blog, we have to know how to use it. In this blog post, we outline a checklist to review after each post.
Does my blog post provide value to my readers?
Before diving into all of the other steps...content is like pranayama in yoga. If we don't breathe, every other aspect step is just a workout and we've missed the point. If we don't have stellar content, then all the other steps won't creating lasting change.
Hey, I'm all for creativity and sharing personal experiences. Storytelling is a crafted art that can connect the message with the reader in an emotional way. However, before posting a blog post about any of my personal experiences, I question if it provides any value to my readers. Are they learning something new? Are they connecting with me on a very personal way (and is that the point of my blog?)....or am I posting just to post because someone told me I should post regularly?
How do we know if it provides value? First, we try. Then reread the post does it provide value...would someone else want to read it? By someone, I mean NOT my mom. (My mom loves everything I post....including pictures of my black blob of a dog in bad lighting sleeping). There is a balance of self evaluating and posting versus working so hard and never posting. After all, we will grow through the process. Once it's posted ask for feedback. We're not fishing for compliments or self assurance. We want real honest feedback. That being said, ask someone who is honest yet will practice ahimsa.
Does my blog post reflect me or my business?
Blogs are rarely about us, just like teaching yoga, it's not about us. They're about the emotions and value to the reader. However, at the same time...they are about us because it should be authentic. Just like teaching a yoga class, finding our own authentic voice as a teacher is important. We can try hard to be something we're not and constantly let ourselves down or we can choose to love ourselves and overcome our fear of ourselves. This can take time to develop, but our blogs should reflect us not what we think we should be.
Did I optimize it for SEO?
SEO. If you're not sure what it is, read this blog post first.
Once you have written your post, optimize it for SEO by editing specific words the post to make it easy for Google and in turn interested parties to find. It should look natural and easy but based on the exact terms people are searching for. This will help people looking for your business in the long term easier to find.
Are there appropriate headers?
Header tags: Header 1, Header 2....are not only important for SEO but they also help make it easy for your readers to skim your content to see if it's worth reading.
"Wait a minute, what if I don't include them and then people will be forced to read it?"
Ain't nobody got time for that! Instead they just leave. Chunking out your content makes it easy and more manageable for readers to read...and well...we're here for the readers. Headers are usually in your text editors for whatever platform your website is on. I tend to write my headers or main points of interest before I actually write the post. Think of it as an outline and then I fill in the details afterwards. However, you can also do this in the reverse way by writing first and then chunking out the post and filling in the headers.
As an added bonus, use keywords that people are looking for using Google Keyword Planner to help strengthen SEO.
Is there a way to sign up to my email list?
Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and whatever the cool kids are using these days are excellent tools to connect with an audience. However, those followers and our interaction with them is at the mercy of the social media giants and what algorithms they're using which changes all the time. Collecting emails through your blog is a way to connect with your audience on your terms.
You'll notice on all of our pages at the bottom we have a request to sign up for our email address. Sometimes we even include little incentive freebies, like our free yoga waiver to help increase email collection.
Are the Open Graph tags working?
Open Graph tags is what other websites likes Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest use to make your content look great when people share it. It means having the right pictures, title, and description showing rather than random site on your website.
For Wordpress users, the Yoast plugin is pretty good. If you have a designer for your site, be sure to ask them to include it in the coding of the website.
Where is my awesome picture?
All blogs should have a least on photo...and one that makes sense. You'll notice all of our blogs have at least one photo with text describing the post and one on the podcast pages. When people share pages, if there's a picture, the picture will add some oompph to the link. This should also be coded through the Open Graph tags as stated above.
Added bonus: rename your photos to something useful that will assist with SEO. Ditto for those ALT tag fields.
Where's my call to action?
A call to action is asking reader to do something....maybe it's signing up for your email list, a follow on social media, or asking them to comment on your blog. It could be something more physical like attending a workshop or teacher training. The call to action should somehow relate to the post and if there's nothing specific one of the generic social medias will work to.
Sharing is caring.
Making the site easy to share will help people who love it do some work for you. I like using AddThis but there are plenty of other ways to add a plugin to your site to make the content easy to share. Asking people to share can also be your Call to Action.
Chit chat. Adding comments to your blog.
Comments are a good way to increase SEO and create engagement between you and your readers. If at some point, you plan on monetizing the site or becoming a brand ambassador, comments helps third parties see that your engaged with your readers.
Adding a comments area is super easy to do. We like using Disqus but other platforms
Is my promotional plan in place?
How long did it take to write that blog post? Some of hours take up to 5 hours to write. Make that time count. A promotional plan for your blog post will help people see it long after you wrote it. Promoting your blog means sharing it on social media, sending it to collaborators to share, letting your email subscribers see a summary, and scheduling out posts in the future to recycle it. (Check out our post on scheduling social media). A blog will only work if people are reading it so share away!
Was this post helpful? If so, leave some comments or questions in the comments section below. (That was our call to action!)
Blogging 101 for Yoga Teachers: Check out this initital post if you're just getting started.
Introduction to Yoga Blogs: If you'd rather listen than read the Blogging 101 check out the podcast.