If you're new, you are probably writing for the reader. As we go along and learn more about the SEO side we may tend to shift our thinking and write more for search engines. But just like that old adage that innocence is best, how you started out writing may be the way you should return if you have lost some of that drive that first sent you into the blogging world.
Remember that your readers are human.
If you wouldn't want to read something, why should anyone else? It's easy to get caught up quickly with the idea of keyword manipulation, title strategy and tagging but you also have to remember that you want human readers to see your content and engage with you as well. Naturally adding keywords into your content may seem like a stretch but write first, optimize second. Have your set of keywords on a separate paper and add them in where you think they would naturally flow after the blog is written. You don't need 10 keywords per blog either. Sometimes just one or two is all you really need. You don't need to keyword stuff or bold every other word for your blog to carry some weight.
Proof it..... then proof it again.
I have read too many blogs, and probably been guilty of it myself, where the wording and grammar doesn't even make sense. I get stuck on a sentence because I literally have no idea what the writer is trying to convey. Read it out loud (if you can and your neighbor on the computer next to you won't think you're crazy). Hearing your words aloud will allow you know how the reader is hearing it. Is the punctuation in the right place to relay the message correctly? I am not just talking about spell checking... but Wordo checking.
Be conscious of the layout
ActiveRain, just like any blog, typically gives you the ability to shrink the width of your blog down to manageable size. When your blog stretches the width of your screen it's hard to focus and our eyes tend to wander. You may eventually lose your reader altogether regardless of what you had to say. Use the customization tool and confine your blog to a more manageable size. Pick a background color and it will shrink the size of the blog. Break up your paragraphs and ideas. Use
and at the beginning and tag with ( / ) at the end of a phrase or word you want emphasized. This is a heading tag and will stand out to your reader and to search engines.
Give your readers something to do
If you simply throw out a blog with information, as great as it may be, and never come back to interact with your readers, others will notice and may not continue to interact. I'm sure you have visited a blog before and perhaps not left a comment because you scroll though dozens of comments and never see a response from the writer. They may be reading your comment, but if you never know how they respond, you are less likely to continue to comment. This is the whole purpose of a blog; to comment, interact, learn and grow.
Write about something someone want to know about
This is probably the hardest concept to adopt. We can write for search engines and while we may be at the top of the list, no one cares what we have to say. You can't just write about the same thing over and over and hope to stay at the top. You won't gain readers, subscribers or clients if you are a one-trick pony. Branch out. Be personal, specific, intentional and purpose driven. Have a goal with each blog and keep that in mind throughout the writing process. "What do I want my readers to do after reading this blog?" If you can't determine that, neither will they.