Three proven strategies for building your blog authority

by Jason Preston on August 26, 2008

Image under CC license from MacWagen on FlickR.

I learn a lot by example. As Darren Rowse from ProBlogger noted recently, there’s a big difference between the “right” blogging advice and the “real” blogging advice, and it’s important to know the “real” strategies.

“Do as I say, not as I do,” is a great phrase for parenting, but it’s a lousy line for bloggers. If you see a successful blogger telling you to do something they’re not doing, or more importantly to not do something they are doing, red flags should start popping up.

One of the best examples of a successful and authoritative blog that regularly eats its own dog food is Copyblogger. Here are three great strategies for building authority gleaned from careful observation:

Build landing pages

Landing pages are great, SEO friendly navigational tool. Copyblogger actually has a whole series of posts about designing effective landing pages.

Did you notice what just happened?

I linked to a landing page on Copyblogger. With one link, I can send readers to a collection of useful articles centered around one topic. A landing page is an easy way to collect an entire set of resources into one, very tweakable “home.”

Of course, you need to write the content too. Try picking a topic central to your blog and your business, then write ten strong posts about it. Collect those ten posts—we’ll call it your destination content—and put them on a landing page.

Landing pages build your authority by creating obvious destination points for topical content. A well organized and instructive series of posts can still be hard to refer to if they aren’t well connected.

They also do really well in search engines – Copyblogger’s “Copywriting 101″ landing page is only outperformed by Wikipedia for the search term “copywriting.”

Ask for subscriptions

A large part of human behavior is determined by social proof. The concept is fairly straightforward: whenever we are unsure of how to behave, we look at what others around us are doing to figure out what is appropriate.

Have you ever been the only person to show up at an event wearing jeans?

Have you ever given a standing ovation because you felt weird staying seated?

Have you ever looked at the number of subscribers to see how authoritative a blog is?

These are all reactions to social proof. It is a powerful concept.

Aside from the fact that subscribers are more valuable to you than readers in general, displaying a high feed count can help convince other people to subscribe, or help convince potential clients that you are an authority in your field.

Make sure in include a call to action at the bottom of your posts. Actively ask readers to sign up to your RSS feed and make sure the link is easy to find on your home page. If your audience is less technically savvy, write a post explaining what RSS is, how they can subscribe, and that it is free.

Asking for subscribers will make a dramatic difference in the number of subscribers you actually get. I recently tested this on my new blog, Eat Sleep Publish, and I’ve consistently seen my subscriptions grow between 19% and 40% every week.

Use subheaders

This post comes in three distinct parts. It’s built into the title (three proven strategies…), and it’s built right into the post itself.

Writing for the web is different than writing for print or even an e-mail newsletter. It’s better to use short paragraphs and even better to break your posts into easily digestible segments.

“That’s great,” you’re saying, “but how does that help my authority?”

Using subheaders will help you organize your writing and give it more impact. The better you are at laying out valuable, easily skimable content, the more people will turn to your posts as a resource.

The more people that come to your posts as a resource, the more authority you have. You’ll gather inbound links and you will find other people using your content as a reference. All of this bolsters your position as an authority in your field.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 srednarb 09.28.08 at 1:35 pm

Nice post I learned about landing pages. Thanks!

2 Classy But Cheap 12.05.08 at 10:41 am

Thanks for the tips. I am definitely going to work on my landing page strategy. I thought a site could only have one ‘landing page’/homepage, it sounds like you can try to drive heavy traffic to more than one place. I did not realize that.

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