You’d be surprised how many forget this one. They choose a platform, they load it up with a million plugins, they advertise to their existing social media circles, but when it comes to writing they miss the mark completely. What is great content? This is material which engages your audience. It is researched, highly structured content posted once a week or more that meets people’s needs head on with solutions. It produces a response (in their sharing) to their questions because it’s entertaining but also informative. Pick a niche, and then research ways i.e. read other blogs and construct a way to say what they are saying, but in your own voice. DO NOT REINVENT THE WHEEL.
I previously mentioned promotion as a way to grow your traffic. But here’s the thing about promotion: too much will kill your success before it gains traction. Many of you, including myself, have probably done the following when starting out: start blog, tweet 100 times a day, get on Facebook and beg people to ”like”, then auction your soul to the Devil when that doesn’t work out. This is not only painful, it’s unnecessary. The best promotion tactics, by far, are the ones which never get talked about. For instance, writing great content often produces a series. Conversion of these articles into PDF format and sharing with eBook directories and free document sites like Scribd or Helium is a great way to bump the odds in your favor. Angering your readers by over-promotion is an avoidable situation, so don’t do it!
Engage your audience
If someone, say a family member or friend, asked you a poignant question which gave you pause, would you ignore them? OF COURSE NOT! You’d jump right on the bullet train to Intelligentsia (sorry, bad puns abound in my world) and figure out a worthwhile reply to their query. So why is it when you post on your site, the only thing you see is the occasional greeting from Grandma? The ‘gurus’ bread and butter is no longer figuring out how to get traffic, it’s merely conversing (read:engagement) about all the traffic they get, thereby getting more. It’s a topic which spews dividends every time it is brought up. Simply put: present a question in your great content, then engage with your audience’s feedback. This method can be accelerated if you use forums to become an expert on your niche and use your blog URL as a signature in your profile.
Like most bloggers, I use a variety of tools and applications to get things done.
But while many of the tools that I use have me enthralled and singing their praises, others leave me frustrated and seeking a better solution, only to be dismayed that none seem to be available.
The problem is that, as with most things in life, the best solution is not always the most popular one (Exï¼š VHS beat Beta). Sometimes we get brilliant answers to difficult problems and other times we’re left with something a bit more frustrating.
In honor of that, I’ve decided to highlight some of the tools that I use daily and love, as well as some of the ones that I’m hoping to find replacements for.
The practice of blogging does not only consist of writing but it usually also involves reading other blogs, commenting and networking. Most of us are not fulltime professional bloggers so how do you divide your (spare) time between all these different blogging aspects?
This past weekend, the New York Times ran a semi-sensational article about the stressful – possibly life-threatening – nature of blogging. The headline read: “In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop“.
The article highlights the pressure to relentlessly post day after day, poor health habits from sitting before a computer screen, and bad separation between home and work – tricky since blogging is usually done at home. Without limits, there is the temptation to forgo sleep to blog.
It seems this year the technology blogosphere is latching onto “lifestreaming” or “social network aggregation” as a new web service to explore. In plain English, this means pulling in your activity on selected social sites into one website or feed. So instead of checking in on ten different websites to see what people are up to, you can visit just one.
Consistency is critical for success in blogging. Though trying new things is important, if a blog finds itself drifting in voice, style and quality, it can lose readers and reputation seemingly overnight.
But maintaining consistency is almost impossible over the long haul, especially for blogs with multiple authors. As humans, it is our tendency to change and our writing styles will inevitably reflect that. Even blogs with just one author, eventually, run into the issue of their old posts looking and sounding nothing like their new.
To help keep that disjunct to a minimum and ensure consistency both between authors and over time, many blogs have begun to adopt a tool from the world of print media, style guides. These guides help lay down some fundamental rules for writing and work to create a single style for the site, without trampling on the voice of the author or authors.
Virtually any blog can benefit from a good style guide, especially those that seek to provide news or some other form of information, and best of all, creating a style guide is a very simple process. All one has to do is think about a few variables and, essentially, write down how they do things now.
Now on my second year of blogging, with well over a thousand posts published, I’ve gotten to a point where I can’t remember the majority of what I’ve written about.
Normally, the only time I revisit an old post is when I receive a comment on it. But even then, I don’t normally re-read said post. I merely skim it to jog my memory as to what it was about, so that I can respond to the commenter. I then reply to the reader’s comment – and that old post leaves my consciousness.
I very rarely take the time to “re-read” old posts.
I quite often look at my blog statistics to see who visit my blog, where they came from and which posts are popular. Lately I’ve been particularly interested in the keywords people use in search engines and where these keywords lead them. While you could definitely call me blog statistics addict and argue that the time checking stats could be spend more productive there are reasons why checking stats is good for you. They may serve as an inspiration for new blog posts.
The more time I spend blogging, the different angles I find to stay motivated. Lately, I’ve been having no trouble coming up with blog ideas, and have a list of subjects that will last me many months. So I’ve actually spent some thought into when not to post – when an idea isn’t worth writing about.