10 Minute Blog Tips: Is Your Blog Approachable?

Filed as Features, Guides on June 8, 2007 7:05 am

What is our goal when creating a blog? Communication. To create a worthwhile blog and communicate successfully one of your aims will have to be to create rapport with your readers. This isn’t about creating a usable website. People prefer dealing with people. This isn’t always easy when you don’t have non-verbal cues to rely on. Anything that makes our blogs appear more approachable will help build that important connection. Todays tip shows how we can make our blogs more human.

How do you tell if your blog is approachable? It’s easy. Do you get a bunch of comments and emails? If so you don’t have any big problems in this department (we can always make space for more comments though right?). On the other hand if you rarely get any comments other than spams and link drops you do have a problem!

It’s easy to fall into a pattern that makes our blogs more mechanical and less human. Some bloggers focus so much on being “correct”, editing and fussing over grammar and formatting, that they forget their audience is not a team of school teachers armed with red ink test marking pens. Others find it hard to break out of “corporate speak”. We tend to make a bigger deal about XHTML/CSS than we do making sure we get across our personalities.

The first piece of advice is to, as far as possible, use your own authentic voice. If the person was seated across from you how would you address them? It’s unlikely you would be talking about “leveraging paradigms”. I’m not saying you should completely dispose of anything approaching good grammar but the more naturally your writing flows, the friendlier it will be. Read it back to yourself out loud, how does it sound? In most cases simpler is better.

It’s not just your writing. In fact before your reader has begun to digest your content they are making judgements about you. The web after all is a visual medium.

Smile! Include a small picture of yourself on the homepage. Use photography in your posts. Warm up your colour scheme. If your blog is informal, feel free to use smileys. You might think this is twee and unprofessional but its worth testing.

How do you like to make your blog more welcoming. Are smileys in blog posts unprofessional? Let me know in the comments …

Chris Garrett uses smileys in his posts with wild abandon. Check out his blog for more blogging tips and internet marketing advice and a FREE ebook called Creating Killer Flagship content that will help you boost your traffic and subscribers

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  1. 10 Minute Blog Tips: Is Your Blog Approachable? | Talk UtopiaJune 8, 2007 at 7:16 am
  2. By Michael posted on June 8, 2007 at 8:24 am
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    smileys may seem unprofessional but sometimes people don’t want to read extremely professional stuff but something with a little bit more character. they bring a specific voice to your blog and help readers understand a little bit more about how you are saying things. its tough to make a sarcastic remark without making a facial expression, smileys help make that happen


  3. By Chris Garrett posted on June 8, 2007 at 10:01 am
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    Yeah I think so, not all topics have to be serious. I know some people just don’t like smileys at all, and in fact would prefer they were gone from the web :)


  4. By Rory posted on June 9, 2007 at 1:02 am
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    Great stuff, Chris.

    Read it back to yourself out loud, how does it sound? In most cases simpler is better. I particularly like this piece of advice – I’m going to have to try and apply it a bit more. Simpler is better.

    I tend not to use smiley’s on my blog posts, but they are pretty crucial at times in the comment section. It is notoriously hard to convey a sense of feeling when you are commenting on somebody’s site. Misunderstandings abound!


  5. By Ellen Webern posted on June 9, 2007 at 5:51 pm
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    You make a good point about bridges we build from people and networks Chris. Thanks for the insights. Would you agree that tone is the body language of Online communication? Great tone at this blog:-) and that seems to help differences to emerge in a setting of respect:-)


  6. By aluwishes posted on June 9, 2007 at 10:03 pm
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    They say sticks and stones can break your bones but a way with words doth make your bones. TTI that these days U R caught sometimes between real words and the need to abrev. But smiley faces, they ain’t me babe.


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  8. By Jack Ryan posted on June 11, 2007 at 12:11 am
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    I think smiley faces are overdone and much too cute for a blog written by a guy. I really like the idea of visualizing yourself speaking with someone when we blog. If I get a feel for the bloggers personality, the posts seem more unique!!


  9. 10分钟博客贴士: 你的博客有亲和力吗? : 先驱博客 - The Blog Herald ChinaJune 26, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    Your words are your own, so be nice and helpful if you can. If this is the first time you're posting a comment, it might go into moderation. Don't worry, it's not lost, so there's no need to repost it! We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it please.