In starting my blog, ASK Harriete, in 2008 with Typepad, my goal was simple: to increase outreach and visibility, offering professional advice in support of the arts and crafts community. That was eight years ago, and since then the Internet has evolved immensely. There are many more websites, apps, tweets, and social networks all competing for viewers. With ever more sophisticated marketing, targeted content, slick attractions, entertaining diversions, and a spectrum of distractions appealing to potential viewers, it is getting harder to be heard amid the many alternative threads of an increasingly tangled web.
But how can you find visibility in such a rapidly changing and ever more tangled web? How can potential readers find my blog or yours?
SEO experts profess both obvious and secret tricks. They claim expertise in statistics and analytics, Black Hat to White Hat, and A / B tests. Google pushes for more traffic with numbers to boost your ranking, but the only thing that Google will tell you is that quality content is key while revealing very little about the algorithms that they use to rank your content.
Developing a blog is more like creating art. The parallels of creativity are clear. Like great art, great blogs provide unique perspectives, building upon familiar themes, but with new, original, and enlightening perspectives. Readers seek authenticity that emerges from consistently presenting a voice that resonates with their own experiences.
In a more literal sense, images are crucial to virtual visibility. But like the written content, the images must be your own authentic constructs. Images taken from generic photo sites are just that… generic images sourced from tags and keywords. They are another person’s vision of their reality, not yours. They are not speaking to your own truth. I never use other people’s images (except as a specific reference with attribution, of course). I make all my own images.
More constructively, images borrowed from another site is copyright infringement. “Borrowing” images is theft. In the Internet world, with so much competition for time and space, everything on your blog must reflect authenticity and honesty, truth and trust.
As a quick solution to images, when I want to illustrate some novel aspect of my content, I create an image of words arranged in colorful or striking fonts. I use my words to reinforce either the title or a provocative sentence. This creative approach works at many levels to elevate your content amidst a tangled web of average. Make your own images!
On a very practical level, images are a major vehicle on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Images readily push your content into the primary social networks and literally bring visual visibility for your blog, even on the tangled web. But to be more effective in these visual platforms, you must have great images that reflect your signature voice. I still use an ancient version of Photoshop, so it is quite likely that even a basic level of image editing software will work for you.
Text based images can be created from any raw material, ranging from old typewriter keys to Scrabble tiles. Elevate your signature style and use it to create images. Be imaginative and think about how you can create your own unique images in your visual voice.
Linking your blog to Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest is an essential element to maximize your virtual visibility. While a blog offers a platform for posting content and images, I find that posting snippets of my content and images on multiple social platforms generates significant traffic. This leverages the tangled web to your advantage.
Creating images in both vertical and horizontal formats can enhance your reach into different social networking platforms. An extended vertical format works well on Pinterest with a link to my blog. Horizontal images work better for Facebook, where it seems more likely that the conversation and debate picks up steam.
Short excerpts from your blog can connect into social networks. A stand alone blog just doesn’t travel very far on the tangled web. Take a provocative or informative sentence from your blog and share it on your page with an image, title, and link–then your post will travel without you. On Facebook and Pinterest, people will often share your content on their page or Pinterest board. But this is more likely to happen once the content is already posted on a social media platform. Also share posts to other group pages that you know are interested in your content. This has been the most effective way for me to generate visibility for my blog content.
So find your singular voice and type away, finding and revealing your own truth. Create images that support your content, and share in the tangled web. Finding your virtual visibility is a messy process with lots of adventure on the way.
Learn more about Harriete Estel Berman and her blog Ask Harriete by checking out her sites. She creates great blog posts like Search Engines Have No Vision! So Help SEO "SEE" Your Images and Images on your website, Are they lost or found?