Right now I have 3 Blogs. I used to have a couple others but there simply was not enough time for me to give each Blog the time it deserved. So I shut them down. I struggle at times to keep the three I have now up to snuff.
Part of my job is to keep tabs, track trends and get a feel for what is going on “out there.” I subscribe to newsletters that keep me in the loop and check in on my favorite Bloggers as often as possible — usually when some code is giving me a hard time and I just need to do something else for awhile to clear my head.
With this approach I probably run into or stop by more Blogs than the average person. Most of the Blogs I run into are, well…. lame. It’s not the the Blogger doesn’t have something to say — they all do. But its choice of design, how they choose to communicate, how often and the uniqueness of their message or personality that can make the difference between a Blog that I run from or subscribe to.
So how do you “Blog Right”? Here are ten “must dos” if you would like to have a successful Blogging experience:
- Choose a design that not only reflects your business and/or personality but makes your posts easy to read. Black backgrounds with yellow type may look “cool” but they are a real PIA to read. If you must use a dark colored background avoid primary colors for your text. Use the lightest color you can so that your words rise off the page — not blend into it.
- Choose your post titles and content carefully. Titles are what potential readers see and what draws them in — or not. Content that backs up exactly what the title insinuates, actually gets read.
- Choose categories that make sense for the purpose of your Blog that also ensure a logical intuitive organization of your posts. Yes, you want to have a purpose — a focus. That’s why Blogs are known by their Titles and Subtitles. Use terms that you know your site visitors will relate to and understand.
- Choose a Blogging frequency that you can stick to. Posting frequency isn’t as important as consistency so that your readers know what to expect. For my three Blogs I do my best to Blog Tuesdays and Thursdays and even that is sometimes a struggle. Yes, I may skip a day here or there, but those who subscribe know when they’ll be hearing from me.
- Pepper your content with your own personal experiences or opinions. If you want to have a Blog that folks come back to or subscribe to, it has to be clear that there is a “personality” — you! Your Blog needs to offer a viewpoint, perspective or information on a certain topic or range of related issues that others are interested in.
- Check for typos and proper grammar so your content is perceived as credible and legit. Don’t underestimate the power of perception when it comes to your skills and ability to communicate with the written word.
- Be original in your post content. Blogs filled with others articles aren’t unique. Blogs filled with copy-n-pasted stuff from other sites is copyright infringement. Part of Blogging is introducing readers to other sites. What is also a part of Blogging is for the Blogger to explain in a paragraph or two — in their own words, based on their own experiences and perspective why they are bringing that site to their readers attention.
- Encourage comments by asking for them. Every so often ask your readers what they think — they’ll tell you and you can then begin to meet new folks and create opportunities you otherwise would not have been exposed to.
- Offer site visitors the ability to subscribe in multiple manners. Be sure to have a social bookmarking plugin so folks can easily add your page to their profiles and “Share.” You want to offer the ability to download your RSS feed and/or subscribe to your feed so readers can have post notices delivered to their inboxes. You can see the various tools I use on this site as examples. The more ways to subscribe; the more subscribers!
- I recommend your comments be moderated — meaning you approve them before they see the light of day on your site. Read my article Blog CommentSense so you know how to handle comments on your your Blog. To Blog right, you need to approve authentic comments and offer a response in a prompt and friendly manner. This lets site visitors know that “someone is home” and helps to build your community.
I’ve advised more than one client to shut-down their Blog because they couldn’t accomplish the above. It was embarrassing for their business and didn’t display the commitment necessary for the effort being taken seriously or to enhance their online program. Lack of these efforts certainly didn’t promote or spin their business or expertise in a positive light.
If you can’t Blog right by following the tips above, maybe shutdown until you can or reconsider if Blogging is for you.
At your service,