If you are just getting started blogging I would highly recommend first checking out the free comprehensive How to Start a Blog Beginner’s Guide available on firstsiteguide.com before jumping into this list, which is aimed at more advanced bloggers.
Use social share buttons that display the share count
Social proof is a real phenomenon, leverage it! This blog currently uses the Easy Social Share Buttons for WordPress plugin. The Simple Share Buttons Adder WordPress plugin is a good free alternative.
Use headlines and use them properly
Make it so visitors can easily scan your content and quickly find what they’re looking for. Write your headlines for people, but if you can get your keywords in there at the same time, even better.
Socialize all of your new posts and use a social sharing schedule
Obviously you need to socialize your posts. Consider also following KISSmetrics’ guide to doubling your traffic from social media by using a social sharing schedule
Always be testing
It’s a lot easier to increase your conversion rate than your overall traffic volume, so use Optimizely to make A/B testing easy for you.
Always be learning
The best bloggers are learning new things every day, if you want to be one of them, you ‘ll have to do the same.
Always be optimizing
There’s serious competition out there. If you want to maximize exposure to your content, you need to monitor your organic rankings and continually optimize your content for search engines. Make educated tweaks and measure their impact on your rankings. Make sure to notate everything you do, either in Google Analytics or somewhere else so you can look back on what you’ve done and get an idea of the impact your tweaks have had. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Ask your readers what they want from you
Need ideas for what to blog about? Ask your readers! Just setup an autoresponder so when someone subscribes to your mailing list, it emails them the question “What is the one thing I can help you with right now?”. Got this great idea from Syed Balkhi. This is what he does on wpbeginner.com per his interview on Social Media Examiner.
Merge posts and comments that are too similar
Do you have very similar posts that are competing with one another to rank for similar keywords? If possible, merge them and their comments together into a single post, rather than keeping them separate. This will make the new post more comprehensive and more authoritative, which will allow you to rank higher and drive more traffic than you would keeping them separate. Just make sure to 301-redirect the URL of the post you merged into another.
Promote your latest blog post in your email signature
Most bloggers send a lot of emails. So why not use your signature to promote your latest blog post? Wisestamp makes this really easy to do.
List related content below post
Keep your audience engaged on your blog by offering hyper-relevant content to them when they get done consuming one of your posts. This practice helps decrease your site’s bounce rate, increase your site’s impressions and even helps your site’s organic rankings.
Interlink your content
Interlinking your content has the same benefits as showing related content and it’s better for usability. Plus it helps out even more significantly with your site’s SEO if it’s done right. This is particularly important for content of yours that is ranking on the 2nd or 3rd page of results in Google. You can Send Juice to Pages Sitting on Page 2 or 3 (SEO Technique #8) from your more authoritative content in order to give them a boost that will bring them to the first page of results.
Build a mailing list
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Building a large mailing list is the best way to differentiate your traffic sources and ensure your site keeps getting visitors no matter what algorithm update Google may roll out next. OptinMonster increased this blog’s opt-ins by 450% and is the best way I’ve found to grow such a list rapidly, by far.
Host your blog on your own domain name
The authority associated with a domain name is one of the most valuable aspects of any website. If you don’t have your own domain name for your website, you’re freely giving away your site’s authority to whatever domain it is being hosted on. Given the amount of time and effort that goes into any serious blog, it’s just plain stupid to not shell out the $10/year fee in order to acquire your own domain for your website. Just head over to Namecheap, buy one up and don’t look back, you won’t regret it! For more domain tips check out First Site Guide: How to Choose the Best Domain Name.
Use a responsive website design
There are so many amazing responsive WordPress themes that can meet the need of any type of website. These days there’s really no good excuse to have a website that doesn’t have a responsive design. Mobile is here to stay so get your act together!
Use Google Authorship
Having your face next to your content in Google’s search results really makes them stand out among the rest. You’re literally losing out on tons of visitors if you don’t bother setting up Google Authorship. Just follow my simple guide on How To Setup Google’s Verified Authorship in WordPress with Yoast’s WordPress SEO Plugin so you don’t miss out.
Track & annotate everything
Track events in Google Analytics for any actions visitors can take on your site that you would consider to be a success. Also make sure to annotate any changes you make to your site that could influence your traffic, rankings and/or conversions so you can get a sense of what impact those changes are having, positive or negative.
Promote your personal brand
People like to know the person behind the content they’re reading. So make it clear that you wrote your content. Include a photo of yourself, promote all of your social media profiles, use Google Authorship and include a bio of yourself on your site. You’re working hard to write great content and share it with the world, why not help out your career too?
Optimize each title with keyword research
Page titles are still by far the most important place to put your targeted keywords for on-page optimization. Spend the effort doing some keyword research in order to create a well-optimized, yet compelling page title for every piece of content you publish.
Write custom meta descriptions for every post
It may seem tedious and it may seem unnecessary, but there’s a ton of value in having a well-optimized custom-written meta description for every single one of your posts, so suck it up and do it! Use the WordPress SEO by Yoast WordPress plugin so you can visualize how your meta description will render in Google’s results as you’re composing it.
Use tags and display them on your posts
Tags are just another place for you to place your targeted keywords while improving the usability of your website, so use them and display them!
Make good use of your thank you pages
When someone fills out a form on your website they are already showing that they’re very engaged by your website. So why the hell wouldn’t you guide them towards further actions you want them to take on the page they’re sent to after filling out a form on your site? All too often I encounter thank you pages that simply contain a generic message, and that’s it. When this happens, your visitors are only left with two options: leave or click back to somewhere else on your website. Instead you should offer them a series of possible routes to take in order to further engage with you and/or your website.
Put forth effort to make your website load as fast as possible
People and search engines no longer tolerate slow websites. Don’t make your visitors or your rankings suffer, just spend some time making your site as fast as it can be. Just follow my guide on How To Speed Up Your WordPress Website’s Load Time. There are two load times you need to account. There’s technical load time and then there’s rendering load time. Don’t ruin your website’s rendering load time in order to achieve a slightly faster technical load time. I’ve found that adding an extra half a second to a second of load time, in order to make the rendering load time best for visitors is a trade off that’s well worth making. If you’re up for switching themes, you may want to consider one of the Fastest & Best WordPress Themes in 2014. Also, if your current WordPress web host sucks, then switch to one of the best WordPress hosting web hosts.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Use the best WordPress Plugins
Use productivity hacks
See if any of these time-saving Productivity Hacks for WordPress Bloggers can make you more efficient.
Make sure your site is up to snuff
Ensure Google has no issues with your website
Setup Google Webmaster Tools and ensure Google doesn’t have any issues crawling and/or indexing your website. Also ensure your site’s sitelinks are what you want them to be and if not, simply block the sitelinks you don’t want showing up, then rinse and repeat until your sitelinks are as you want them to be.
Make sure your site’s Google results are as intended
Google site:domain.com (only with your domain name of course) and look through all the results. If there’s anything showing up that you don’t want to be showing up, then remove it from your sitemap and use meta robots to mark it as “noindex”. You can also block it via robots.txt if you really want to be sure.
Learn HTML & CSS, jQuery and maybe even some PHP
If you don’t already know these programming languages well, you may want to consider getting a more thorough understanding of them using Codeacademy.
Publish new content consistently
The more high-quality content you post the better; however, you want to have some kind of consistency for your fans. Get in the habit of producing new content on a consistent schedule so your fans will know when to check back for the new stuff. If you’re too sporadic they will come back disappointed too frequently and it may cost you some fans.
Get your blog listed in Alltop
If you produce great content it won’t be hard to get listed in Alltop. Alltop is a great directory that provides very authoritative follow links. So if you’re not already listed in it, your site has great content and there’s a relevant category for you to be in, then submit your site immediately!
Respond to every comment
Nobody wants to bother commenting on a blog where the author doesn’t respond. Make a habit of responding in some fashion to every single comment of substance made on your blog, especially if they’re asking a question relevant to the content the comment was written on.
Give stuff away
If your blog is well read it’s probably going to be fairly easy to find some products and/or services to give away for free to your readers. Just leverage your blog to convince companies to provide you with free giveaway items and exclusive deals for your readers. It’s beneficial for all parties, so why the hell not?
Keep your content focused
It’s critical to keep consistent with your content. Try to avoid writing wildly off-topic posts and do your best to keep a semi-specific focus. The better you can align your audience with the content you’re writing, the more successful your blog will be.
Keep it concise & easy to digest
Make your content easy to scan, keep your writing simple & avoid redundancy in your copy. Use lots of visuals to accommodate visual learners, since 65% of all people are visual learners.