Saturday, 16 April 2011

Optimising Your Blogger Fashion Blog - A Beginners Guide

I have noticed a growing interest amongst fashion bloggers in ways to improve their blog and get more traffic. This post is aimed at those with a fashion blogger on blogger who want to grow their traffic but are not sure how.Optimisation is just one way that you can do this. There are plenty more ideas and tips on other ways on IFB.

Whilst for those who are setting up blogs for serious business purposes Wordpress is probably the platform of choice, there are quite a lot of others who chosen to have fashion blogs or are going to choose to have fashion blogs on blogger. I use both for various different blogs that I have worked on but think for a beginner Blogger is the quickest, most cost effective and easy to use. That said, there are a few annoying little things about it especially when it comes to optimising for the search engines.

Why optimise your fashion blog?
This is a question that have pondered over and over for some time with regard to Style Eyes my personal fashion blog. Whilst optimisation will help you to rank higher on Google for certain search terms bringing more traffic to your site, which without a doubt makes sense for commercial organisations, I have at times struggled with the point of this for my fashion blog. I sway between deciding to optimise my blog and trying to get more traffic through referrals and social networks instead as I tend to think these people are more likely to want to read a personal fashion blog than more general search engine traffoc. The referrals and social networking does however have a double benefits as not only will you get the referrals but it will also help to optimise your site on Google and other search engines.

I guess whether you bother to optimise your site is a personal choice. SEO can be hard work and sometimes feel a bit pointless but it can also increase traffic for your site which will in turn increase revenue through both advertising and affiliate marketing. One thing I would say though is that when you choose your keywords try and make them as relevant as possible to your blog as then your visitors are more likely to stick around.

Do blogger blogs rank better on Google?

Apparently not as even Google employee Matt Cutts uses Wordpress. It seems that content and the choice of keywords and onsite and offsite optimisation strategy are what is really important regardless of which platform you are using.

What are the issues with blogger and how can you fix them?

Generally speaking the setup of Wordpress lends itself to optimisation much better than blogger it is more easy to change the setup and there are lots of plugins available to help. With a  few techie tweaks though, it is possible to make your blogger blog much more search engine friendly.

1. Adding blog title tags - a title tag is what tells a search engine what a blog is about. Consequently have a particular word in your title tag can help your blog rank higher for this term. You can add a title tag for your blog by going to settings and inputting the chosen words which should start with your blog title and be no more than 6 words.


2. Adding individual post title tags - Blogger does not automatically add a title tag to your blog posts. With a slight change to the code you can get it to automatically generate a title tag using the title of the blog post. The benefit of this is that each of your blog posts will be individually optimised for different keywords (vital if you want to get lots of search engine traffic). You can find simple instructions on how to do this in this post on Lead Inspectors blog.

3. Duplicate metatag descriptions - a metatag description is the short description that comes up on search engines and explains what your blog is all about. I am guessing that most people like me do not write individual descriptions for each of their posts and so Blogger will automatically use the general metatag description that you have (hopefully) written for your blog in the settings. If the same metatag description is used for every post Google will consider it duplicate content (even though it is not) which is not good for optimisation. You can find out how to fix this in this post on Blogger Stop.

4. Keywords in permalink - Blogger will only iuse the first 40 characters of your blogger title to create a permalink. This is the url for the individual blog post and the keywords contained in it are important for search engine ranking. This is a really simple one to fix, either just make sure you get your keywords at the beginning of the title. If you want you canfirst publish with them at the beginning then go back and change the title to what you want and republish your blog eg first publish with title as 'red maxi dresses' then change to 'my top ten all time favourite red maxi dresses'

Other Tips

Tag your images - as most fashion blogs have lots of images, you can utilise these to help optimise your blog by adding alt tags. Basically these tags should describe the image but this should also in some way contain a few keywords. You can find out how to do this in this post on Web Training Wheels.

Usability - It doesn't matter how much you optimise your site if people don't like what they see when they arrive on your site. There are some simple things that you can do to make your blogger blog more attractive and  I think Where's Harriet's eight steps to a better blogger blog has some great tips.

Choosing keywords - before you do any of the above, you need to decide on which keywords to have for your blog. As a general rule your keywords should be as relevant as possible so perhaps a list of clothing items or trends or brands that you particularly love. The Google keyword tool is great for analysing keywords and generally you should look for keywords that strike a balance between search volume and competition. You can read more about choosing keywords for fashion sites on my online fashion marketing blog.

For those interested in fashion, this post will probably seem really long, technical and boring. However putting some time into this side of your blog will help to bring in the traffic, allowing you to monetise your blog and justify all that time that you sepnd writing about fashion.

Any ideas, suggestions or thoughts? please leave a comment

With warmest wishes

Ceri X


Samantha said...

There is some really great advice here, thanks. It feels like a lot of hard work, but i guess it is worth it as i'll get more visitors, which is a good thing.

Looking Fab in your forties said...

Thanks for the tips. I find the whole thing totally confusing but then I am so not technical! I want to have a website for another project, have bought a name but have no clue what to do next! I am not sure if I can have a site on Wordpress or just a blog, so if you know anyone cheap who can help, email me! xx

Franca said...

great tips! I've done a few of these, but i didn't know about the post title tags, so i'll check that out at some point. I also never thought about the permalinks, but thjat's a really easy thing to fix!

I used to dilligently alt tag all my images, but I've actually not done this for a while due to time constraints, and i can't say i've noticed much difference in my stats. which is probably because thingfs have expanded through word of mouth at the same time. But I'm actually thinking that since I'm not trying to run my blog as a business, I'm cool with it not being hugely optimised.

Harriet said...

Hese are some great tips - thanks for really good read!

I tag my images when I have time, but usually I am blogging on the run and don't have the chance. I really must get more into optimising my blog though. I want to get my traffic up like every blogger!

Pearl Westwood said...

Brilliant tips Ceri, I have to use WP for my work blog and I really hate it, the layout, how hard it is to find things I guess its just a case of getting used to it, but for my personal blog I will be sticking with blogger.

For Those About To Shop said...

Thanks for the tips especially about keywords in the permalink. Although I'm on Wordpress I can still use a lot of these.

cca. said...

So helpful

jennysanzo said...

Thank you so much! Found this quite helpful, even if the whole editing code section went right over my head lol... you need to write a book: fashion blogging for dummies!

Thanks again!


Danielle said...

WOW, so much valuable content. I need to rest after all that. I will be back. Thanks for all the good tips!

Aquí said...

great post! Congrats on links a la mode!

Danielle Grigsby said...

I was wondering if you might do another blog post regarding these questions: how do you change your comment protocol to add email, how do you get your comment box to come up in a new window,how do you get a link to pop up in a new window, how do you add "You might also like..." at the end of each post, how do you make an icon for your sidebar for others to add to their blogs(with html), how do you do one photo for a post then click on and show all photos with comment box. I really appreciate any pointers. I think this would be a greta post. I hope you will do it because I really need help on these things and I am sure others do to. You could even add my question at the top linking to me. Just a thought. Thank you.

Amanda said...

Hi! I just found this post through IFB and appreciate all your advice, although I am tech-challenged and so get confused easily...
One question I had was about the ads I see on the sides of blogs...I'm very new to blogging but would love if you could point me in the right direction, any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!

Eighteen Grams of Glitter ... said...

Great blog post, really helpful thank you!

Ainslee said...

Just stumbled on this post (Thank God!) Very useful for someone like me who's just starting out with blogging. Thanks!