I probably read more Blogs and posts than most folks. But that's my job. It helps to keep my finger on the pulse of what others are doing that works (and what doesn't too). Likewise, I can get a feel for what onliners like, react to and are looking for.
What I see happen all too often is new Bloggers tend to be lemmings — not leaders. Everything is new and we are learning so much that we tend to follow and imitate.
New bloggers, in most cases, jump right in without thinking about how they will separate themselves from all the others already discussing that very same subject. Many take a bit of a naïve approach thinking that because they think it is a good idea and that they will be the one typing about it, that's good enough. If only.
What happens more times than not is after the initial launch, they run out of steam. We aren't adding posts on a consistent basis. We aren't offering any content that makes folks want to subscribe for more. Our visuals are flat. Nothing new. Nothing different.
Yep. That's the hard part and what every single one of us, including myself, have to tackle. As they say, if it were that easy, everyone would succeed.
How to Have a Blog Folks Want to Read
How do you do this? We write about what our target market wants to know. Combined with a great user experience and eye-catching visuals.
The reality is most topics have tons of websites already covering them. But, each market is different and does have little niches within. Regardless, the onus is on you to interrogate your market's viability. Hopefully before you invest your time and hard earned dollars.
What can set you apart is creating content based on your unique POV, expertise and/or passion. And, as I've mentioned before, that doesn't mean you write about what you want visitors to know. You keep front and center what your readers want to know. Two entirely different approaches.
Three Strikes You're Out
The first mistake is assuming your Blog will run on its own once setup. If you start a Blog, know from the beginning that you are starting an ongoing perpetual project that requires you to be prepared to maintenance your website. And write; a lot. When you aren't writing, you are going to be spending time doing due diligence and research on what you are going to write about.
The next mistake I see folks make is to blindly follow what we see others are doing. Many times under the incorrect perception that what one person is doing is going to work by simply mimicking. What works for one niche, may not work for yours.
The third mistake made is in thinking that you need not make a concentrated effort into creating a Blog that is uniquely different. All you have to do is what others are doing and your Blog will be read, ranked, visited and bought from.
Nope. You simply cannot offer more of the same and expect to attain the “WOW! Factor”. So what do you do?
You want to be uncommon!
Definition of uncommon:
1: not ordinarily encountered : unusual (an uncommon plant)
2: remarkable, exceptional (a soldier of uncommon courage)
Blog “WOW! Factor” Tips
Here is my list of five considerations you need to think about from the very start. If you have already started, no worries — no time like the present to get on the right path. This is how to create and develop an uncommon, and therefore unique and interesting Blog.
1. Determine what you are truly interested in.
Yes, I said your Blog should be about your target market. But if you are not interested, actually passionate, about the topic of your Blog it will be a tough slog.
What topics do you know about (or are willing to submerge yourself in)? What do you have passion for?
Always be aware that you do not want to fall into the trap of being a “me-too” Blog. In other words a Blog that talks about the same stuff as thousands of others. Nothing new; nothing that can't be found elsewhere. A Blog that is nothing special.
Without an genuine interest in and passion about your topic, you simply will not have the wherewithal to put in all the hard work and hours of writing and resource gathering necessary to create a successful Blog.
2. Discover a niche.
Look at that subject matter and dig deeper into a niche, corner or unique angle of that focus. Do your due diligence (searching Google, Twitter and other social media sites), until you discover where there is a void you can fill.
By void I mean a need or desire for information that others are not yet providing or that you know — for a fact — you can do much better. Be realistic here — this is much easier said than done.
Better yet, find an angle you can hang your hat on that puts a twist on the subject that makes your Blog different from all the rest. You can do this by adding the one thing no one else has — your unique personality. There is only one YOU!
3. Get a great design and make it yours.
No, you don't have to pay for a custom design — that's one of the great things about WordPress. There are a ton of great premium themes available that you can make your own without “knowing code”.
WordPress makes it relatively easy to make a theme unique to you. First chose the “bones” of your site with a premium theme by carefully going through the theme demos. No freebie themes — you don't want to invest all your hard work on something that may not be supported or has the support structure you'll need.
Take it up a notch by creating a memorable logo, adding your unique color palette, a unique header graphic, cool features and stunning accent graphics that stand out from anything already out there. This is a visual medium and if you are serious about being different from the rest, you simply cannot look like a plain jane or everyone else.
4. Create an engaging and creative About You page.
Written in the first person. As if you are talking to that one person on the other side of the screen. Put your personality out there while providing just enough personal information to show you are real, genuine and sincere — and approachable.
Talk about the passion behind your site, add a dash of what lead you to take the dive into starting your Blog. Talk about what you intend to accomplish.
Include an attractive photo (or 2 or 3…) of yourself to give visitors the opportunity to get to know you better. Remember, people like connecting, following and doing business with people they feel they can relate to and that they like.
Then, let your personality shine through in every corner and detail of your site. Visitors will quickly appreciate your personal spin if this is accomplished consistently throughout. This helps to build trust and credibility while giving visitors a sense of familiarity that makes them comfortable with you and your topic.
5. Create catchy and distinct post titles and commentary.
Be edgy, quirky, funny, sarcastic. Using off-beat, odd or peculiar verbiage that your site visitors will “get” and relates to your sole focus can help to give your Blog it's own unique personality. One not to be found elsewhere.
Take creative liberties with standard and customary ways of doing things and make it exclusive to your site and topic. But, again, only if you know your target market will “get it”. This approach, while helping to make you uncommon, needs to come natural to you and be used consistently to help your site be the one that is different.
See a pattern forming? There's nothing special about being common. Not if you want to “WOW!” your visitors and keep them coming back for more.
The last thing you want to do is what everyone is doing. So find a way to turn your topic on it's head, be controversial, be different.
Continually try new things and experiment with new angles. Yes, it is important to use methodologies and solid principles that work. I talk about all this in more detail throughout my Blog.
But in today's noisy online environment where everyone seems to have something to say — you need to be constantly thinking about how you can be different. Rise above the cacophony of those typing about similar things in less than interesting ways.
How you do that is by being unlike anyone else — by being YOU!
At your service,