Wednesday, September 17, 2008

9 Tips for Aspiring Student Bloggers

Today's post is a guest post by Elizabeth Kudner, written exclusively for Relatively Journalizing. Kudner is the co-founder of myUsearch, described below in the opening of her post. I'd like to take this opportunity to personally thank Kudner for guest blogging here, and I'm sure after reading her helpful advice, you'll hope she appears here again as much as I do.


As the co-founder of myUsearch, an online service that matches students to colleges, I hire and manage student bloggers to tell the truth about their college experience for the myUsearchblog. After reading dozens of their posts, I’ve come up with a few tips to help them improve their writing and SEO (search engine optimization), and I thought these tips might help you as well:
  1. Have fun — Chances are if you have fun, your readers will too.
  2. Write about something interesting — Try to teach your audience something they don't know already. Although writing from your personal experience can be valuable, you should do a little research before you write or write about something very unique in your life that most people don't already know about.
  3. Keep it short — Let’s face it. Attention spans are getting shorter by the minute. Read through your post and try to take out any unneeded words. Use as few words as possible, and use images and videos whenever you can.
  4. Open with a bang — Grab your readers’ attention by giving a brief preview of the exciting things you’ll talk about. You can start with an open loop or check out Copyblogger for some other tips.
  5. It better make sense out of context —Remember, not everyone will go directly to your blog to read your post. Make sure the title and the first paragraph will make sense if the post is bookmarked on sites like Digg or StumbleUpon.
  6. Learn to love lists — Your SEO will improve if you format your blog post as a list instead of a series of paragraphs. Important: In order for your post to be recognized as a list, you should use the list function within your blog interface instead of just typing in the number.
  7. Deep link — Deep linking, or linking to previous posts within your own blog, will keep your readers engaged and will improve your SEO.
  8. Choose your words carefully — Think about searchability when you choose your words. For instance, if you want to write about choosing the right school, you might want to use the words "college" or "university" instead of "school." This is especially important for titles.
  9. Get specific — The more specific your topic and verbage are, the better. For example, one of the most popular posts on our blogs is about how to write an Ivy League essay. I don’t think this post would have done nearly as well if it was just about college essays in general.
So, in an effort to be brief, I’ll stop there. If you have any other questions or if you’re an aspiring student blogger looking for work, contact me, Elizabeth Kudner, at blog [at] myusearch [dot] com.

Have a 10th tip to round out Elizabeth's? Leave it in the comments, and thanks again to Elizabeth!


Jenniferlauren said...

Thanks for the great tips!

AnotherGuy said...

Something that has helped me a great deal is making blogs asthetically pleasing to the eye. By adding images, sketches, banners and doodles, you can keep your readers flowing with your blogs and have a bit more fun with the style that you're putting out there for them to read.

JD said...

I agree, indeed. I used to make a banner for every post, but that got tedious, and it also began to seem like (a) it didn't fit every post's style and (b) it got to look like the same-ol-same every post. So, I've been breaking it up with pull quotes, video, pics and even just posting some occasional text posts when it seems appropriate. I think I want to strive for shorter posts with good linking and at least one visual element of some sort though in the future. Thanks for reading!