According to the rules of this blogging case study, every single post must follow blogging best practices. What does that mean? Why are these considered best practices, versus other outdated or incorrect ideas? well, here are those blogging best practices, and the answers to the above questions.
600-800 Word Posts
Yes, every single post (including the first two) will be between 600-800 words. This is one of the blogging best practices that have always been up for debate, as some would say that 400-600 word posts a better target. Others would say that there's nothing wrong with 200-300 word posts. I prefer the 600-800 word mark, as that allows for more room to develop arguments and to write something of value. I believe that is harder to do in 400 word, and definitely tough to do in 250 or 300.
At Least One Photo (complete with ALT Tags)
This is one of the easiest blogging best practices to follow, but it's something a lot of hobby blogs and corporate blogs fail to do. Every blog post will have at least one photo, probably a stock photo since I have an account with Dreamstime and they have good photos. Each photo will also have an ALT tag, so it can be read by the search engines. There's nothing wrong with stock photos, although choosing the wrong one for your post can be a bit disastrous.
Hint: When you include a photo in a blog post, it should either be centered or on the right. The reason is that folks read from left to right, so including your photo on the left ruins the flow of reading the text.
One thing that I will not do is write paragraph after paragraph after paragraph without any way to break up all that text. Not only is such writing daunting to the reader, but it can be a strain to read after a short period of time. This is why each and every post will have some sort of formatting, such as subheadings, bullet points, or numbered lists. Breaking down the information this way also makes it easier for a casual reader to scan the content for relevant information.
Categories and Tags
Each blog post will be categorized and tagged, which is important for several reasons. First, it adds organization to blog, which gives the appearance that it's cared for. No one wants to read a blog that's in shambles. Second, categories and tags make it easier for readers to find relevant posts, or to find posts on a certain topic. Third, every time you create a new category or tag, you add another page to the blog, which is great for SEO purposes. I wrote a great article a while back on what should be tagged in a blog post. I will use it for reference when I wrote posts.
SEO a Second-Class Priority
This doesn't mean that we won't think about search engine optimization ever, or that keywords are irrelevant. I'm simply saying that I'm not going to be creating content and writing blog posts for the sake of SEO, or around a keyword or phrase so I can rank for it. Sure, I'll try to optimize my post as best I can if I find a great keyword that fits with the topic that I can use naturally (as in the case of this post and "blogging best practices") and employ techniques that help with SEO. But, I'm also not worrying about keyword density or other techniques just so I can please the Google. I'm not doing this blogging case study to please the Google, so I'm not going to write content that does that.
Build and Engage with the Community
Once I have one and start getting comments and what not, I will certainly do this. However, I do not yet have an audience. If anyone is out there, by chance, please comment. Thanks!