I call it your blog purpose. Liz Strauss calls it her manifesto. Others call it their “About Statement” or “Blog Description”. What do you call it?
What is it? It’s that paragraph many bloggers add to their blog sidebar or tagline (blog subtitle) that helps the visitor understand what the blog is about. Do you have one?
Liz Strauss of Successful and Outstanding Bloggers has the following:
The Liz Manifesto
I will live as a writer who keeps alive the music of the language, holds head and heart together in the words, and writes in hope and passion that one person will be better because he or she reads what I wrote.
Helping you learn more about blogging and WordPress every day with help, tips, advice, and techniques for blogging and using WordPress, and WordPress.com. The blogging help you need. Now.
Pelf-ism is contagious features a tagline of:
Grad student trying to save the turtles. And the environment. And humankind. Heh.
Online Marketing Blog features a picture of the author and his child and the following:
Hello and welcome to my Online Marketing Blog.
My name is Jens P. Berget and I am a blogger from Norway. If you are looking for information about online marketing, you have come to the right place. I have failed and I have been successful. This is my story.
Engtech’s Internet Duct Tape explains:
Internet Duct Tape is a blog about making technology work for you, instead of making you work for technology.
What do all these statements have in common? They help the new visitors know immediately what the blog is basically about and what they can expect to find within the blog.
Let’s look at the good and the bad of blog purpose statements and how they work.
Keyword Rich Content
Without a doubt, a well-written blog purpose statement in the sidebar of your blog, stuffed with descriptive keywords describing your blog’s content, is a great SEO technique. It puts the keywords up front and center, as well as redundantly, on every post on your blog.
Content-specific keywords also jump out at the visitor to let them know what your blog is about. It also sets up expectations. In my blog purpose statement, I use “WordPress” and “Blogging” repeatedly, and at a glance, those words create an expectation that everything in my blog is about WordPress or blogging.
Liz Strauss’ set of keywords are writer, music, language, head, heart, words, writes, hope, passion, reads, and wrote. “Write” seems to be the core keyword in her description, and hope and passion spring away from the page as powerful words. Combining writing and passion together makes a strong statement about what you will find in this blog: posts about writing with and about passion.
Pelf’s tagline has good keywords: grad, student, save, turtles, environment, and humankind. Berget’s description also features some good keywords such as welcome, online marketing, blog, Norway, information, failed, successful, and story. Engtech offers only two keywords: technology and work. While these are strong words, they don’t really tell you what is inside the blog. They only hint at the potential content within the blog.
As you can see, these examples go from specific to “figure it out” to vague. Still, if someone is searching for those keywords, they are likely to find those blogs, right?
Use Searchable Keywords
The key to making the keywords in your blog purpose statement work is using words that are descriptive of your blog’s content and purpose, but also searchable.
Liz Strauss doesn’t need much help attracting new readers as she has an amazing following. So I’m taking great liberties here, but if I were in charge of the world, one of my revisions of her blog description might be:
I’m a writer and lover of the written word, helping bloggers become passionate writers, discovering the passion in their blog writing and their blogs. I’m changing the world one blogger at a time.
The keywords now become: writer, lover, written, word, help, bloggers, passionate, writers, discover, passion, blog, writing, blogs, changing, world, blogger. I would summarize them into: write, passion, help, blog, blogging, blogger.
With that rough version of a blog description, if someone were searching for blog writing, writing blogs, blog writer, how to write blogs, writer blogger, passionate writing, writing with passion, blogging passion, passionate blogger, and variations thereof, they would be likely to stumble upon Liz’s blog, right?
Try your hand at the other blog’s descriptions and see how you would rewrite those so they are more “searchable” with stronger search terms as keywords. And then consider tackling your own blog description and purpose.
Does Your Blog Description Need to Be Personal?
Does your blog description need to be personal. For Liz, Pelf, and Berget, it was important that who they are be reflected in their descriptions. For myself and Engtech, our content represents “who” we are as bloggers. We want our content to speak for itself rather than the person behind the blog.
Does that mean that you, as a person, will fade into the background and get lost in your blog? No. It just means that you are choosing to put your blog’s content first, letting the content establishing your blog identity and reputation, and you as a person can remain a little more anonymous.
Is it wrong that a blog description is personal? Absolutely not. If your blog is you and you are your blog, and your blog is critical to your business as you, the business person, then yes, your blog description must reflect the person behind the blog.
But how personal is personal? How detailed do you have to be. Berget lets us know several personal things. We know he lives in Norway, has at least one child, and that professionally, he’s learned from his mistakes and has been “around the block” a few times with his business. We can then fill in the rest from our imagination.
Maybe he’s a caring and better person for having suffered and then won. Maybe he’s a great guy we’d want to know because he’s a father. He must love his child as he has a picture on his blog. Wow, what a swell dad to care so much. Must be a proud father.
Does any of this make him a great business leader and expert? Does it showcase his qualifications and expertise? Engtech has a picture of a cat in the blog’s header. Does that mean “tender and kind to animals” represents the author’s qualifications? Does it help you understand more about the blog’s content and intent?
No, but it makes us feel good to know that there is the potential that this person is a “nice guy”. Without words, or with few words, we form impressions based upon little information, adding to the story we are making up in our heads about this blogger’s ability to help us and want us to return for more. It further builds up our expectations on what we will find within the blog’s content.
It’s up to you to give us as much personal information as you want. Remember, it’s out there in the public eye on the web forever, so be selective with what you share.
Matching Description with Expectation
A well-written blog description statement describes what the blog is about and the content within. Thus an expectation is created that the statement reflects the content.
If it does, the keywords you use within the content and the description will match, and expectations will be met. The visitor will know that you blog what you say you do.
What if it doesn’t. What if they visit my blog and find out that I don’t blog about blogging and WordPress but ramble on about my life, travels, software, hardware, and feature the occasional post about blogging and WordPress. While I may have more posts on blogging and WordPress than the rest of my content, my statement that I offer “The blogging help you need” isn’t quite true, is it?
Luckily, I do, but what if it doesn’t match. What do you think the visitor’s impression will be if their expectations aren’t met?
Do You Need a Blog Description Statement?
Few blogs actually have a blog description statement. Many personal blogs do, but not many business blogs. Should they?
Do you need a blog description statement or purpose in your blog’s tagline or sidebar?
It’s up to you. However, I have some tips to help you decide:
- Your Reputation is Business: If your reputation is critical to your business and your blog, then add one. You may add a photograph of yourself above or below the description statement, but make sure it is titled with your name and some personal and professional information to help establish and enforce your reputation and blog purpose.
- You Want a Connection Between the Blog and Blogger: If you want the visible connection between you, the person, and the blog, then add a description statement that describes who you are and why you blog.
- SEO is Important: If search engine optimization (SEO) techniques are important to you and your blog, then never miss an opportunity to add search terms and keywords to your blog’s layout and design. Your blog description becomes part of the blog content.
- If You Want The Content to Speak For Itself: If you want your blog’s content to speak for itself, don’t bother adding a blog description. Just let the content do the work. Why add clutter.
- You Like a Clean, Lean Blog Design: If you like a clean, lean blog design with no fluff and muss, then skip the blog description, but make sure you have a good About page to help your visitors learn more about who you are and why you blog.