There are professional bloggers. They have a cast of thousands following them, hanging on their every word. They feature in TIME magazine, get interviewed on Oprah and earn golden dollars from their blogging. At the other end of the spectrum, is me. And bloggers like me. We start a blog because we have a few things to say and then a couple of people stumble upon our mumblings and dont mind listening so we find a few more things to say and then yay! It’s official. We’re bloggers. Amateurs but bloggers nevertheless. I stalk a lot of professional and amateur bloggers and have learned a lot of things from my stalking. Here’s eight tips for making your blog even better than it already is.(From one amateur to another.)
1. Blog interactively. Invite interaction and engagement. If you wanted to keep a diary of deep thoughts, then you probably shouldnt have started a public blog. Some of our blog posts can be like a person standing in a crowded room talking really loud, to themselves. People listen but there’s no room for them to say anything. Fun blogs to visit are ones where bloggers start conversations and readers leave comments. Some of the running commentary can be more interesting to read than the actual blog post itself! To invite reader participation in a post, sign off with an open-ended question. And then follow up on every comment. This is crucial. Nobody likes to be ignored, so dont make the mistake of ignoring your readers.
2. Blog friendlier. Take the time to get to know your readers. Its wickedly paradoxical that many bloggers are actually hermits in real life. “Socially awkward” is how my little (meanie) sister once described me.Yet in the blogosphere, we make virtual friends with more people than we have fingers to count with. When someone takes the time to follow you or to leave a comment, click on their profile, visit their blog, read their posts, get to know them. Thanks to SleeplessinSamoa, I have ‘met’ some amazing people that make me laugh and pause to think hmmmm. I chat with them on Twitter, we share chocolate cake recipes via email and I cant wait for the chance to hang out with them in real life one day.
3. Blog or Die. To build a super blog, you have to blog. Regularly. Once a month doesnt cut it. Commit to 1,2,3 posts a week, whatever you can handle, and then stick to it. How else will your readers be able to rely on you for great reading if you aren’t consistent>
4. Blog SHORTER. Most of us can write oodles in our sleep, no problem. So we sit down and shoot out a PhD thesis length post capturing our every funniest thought we’ve had over the past week/month/year. And then we have nothing to say for another two weeks. Oops. Keep your posts short. Choose ONE incident/thought/experience/observation to explore in a post. If you’ve got more great material, then put it into another 2,3,4 separate posts. Most people dont have the time to read loooong posts.
5. Blog Smarter. When you’re in a writing flow, do 2,3,4 blogposts all at once and then schedule them to feature on upcoming days using the Blogger “Post Options” (at the bottom left hand side of your New Post page.)
6.Blog Nicer. Remember that not everyone has broadband. So dont cram your blog with 101 photos or blinking gadgets,flashing widgets and assorted pretty buttons. Honestly? Readers come to your blog to read what YOU have to say. Not because you’ve got the most Xmas lights on the blogging block. There are bloggers whose writing i enjoy – but I rarely visit their sites because they take far too long to load.
7.Blog Wider. Expand your horizons. Dont be afraid to venture into uncharted waters. There’s a myriad of different kinds of blogs out there: book review blogs, cooking/food blogs,parenting dramas and tips, writer’s charting their book journeys,music and art bloggers etc. I follow a fruit salad of assorted delicious blogs. I learn something new every day and get inspiration for my own writing.
8. Blog generously. Share your blog posts with friends and family via email, FB, Twitter and word of mouth. And when you find someone else’s blog post that you really enjoy? Share that too. Tell others about great bloggers you enjoy. Share links to their superb posts.
Have you got any tips for us on how we can blog better? We’d all love to hear them!