Should You Start a Blog?
Blogging is a wonderful way to reach a wider audience. Individuals and organizations create blogs to convey their message and to create a platform in which to showcase their products, thoughts, or ideas. There are potentially millions of readers available for the successful blogger who knows how to be creative and is willing to work hard. Here are a few tips for creating a successful blog.
1. Keep it Short. Blogs that are in the 500-1000 word range are much more likely to be read than something longer. Most readers do not want to get stuck reading a novel length post. A 500 hundred word blog can be read in about two minutes. This is a great length that allows the reader to read the post and then move on. Most people only scan our blog looking for something specific. Make it easy for them.
Many new writers feel that they have to put everything that they know about the subject in that one post. If they have a lot of material about the topic, they might consider breaking it down into two or three parts. This can create a sense of anticipation among their readers as they await the next post. If the writer does not want to create a multi-part post, they will have to discipline themselves to only include the best or most important material. It is pointless to write a brilliant, but excessively long post, if no one is going to read it.
A good example of the perfect blog length is seen in Joe Primm’s blog. Joe posts consistently throughout the week but his blogs are usually in the 500 word range. Joe posts great content that can be read in just a couple of minutes.
2. Be Consistent. This is where most new bloggers struggle the most. After the initial excitement of creating a few blog posts, the writer finds that it is a lot of work to consistently post fresh content. Most new bloggers are not going to be able to keep pace with professionals like Seth Godin. He normally posts something new seven days a week. A worthy goal for a new writer might be to publish a new post once or twice a week. This will be challenging but not overwhelming. Consistency is what keeps a writer’s audience interested and coming back.
3. Variety. This might not be applicable to a business or professional person that is blogging about their particular niche. For the vast majority of bloggers, however, a key to success is changing up the type of content that is posted. Many general bloggers could include movie reviews, book reviews, or comment on a current event. I find that some of my consistently most popular posts are book reviews that show up in a search engine. Writing about different things makes it interesting for the readers and it helps to prevent boredom or burnout in the writer. Adding pictures and short videos can also enhance a blog and create more variety. Michael Hyatt’s blog is an excellent example of this.
4. Post Interesting Content. This seems obvious but a perusal of a number of different blogs would demonstrate the need to improve content. One of the blogger’s goals should be to increase the size of their audience. This is only going to happen if they are putting up posts that people are actually reading. If the writer feels that they need to improve the quality of their content, they should examine and study a number of successful bloggers and see what they are doing.
Too often, new writers want to reinvent the wheel. Instead, they would be better served by learning from someone who is already on the road to where they want to go. The most successful bloggers try and answer questions when they write instead of just showing how much they know about something. A great example of an interesting blog is the International Institute for Leadership's. They have different people write on different aspects of leadership, cross-cultural ministry, and personal development.
5. Proofread Your Posts. Typos will occasionally slip through. If someone wants to be taken seriously as a writer, though, typos need to be minimized. Misspelled words, improper punctuation, and bad formatting will distract from the message that someone is trying to present. With all the spell check and grammar check programs available, there really is no excuse for excessive typos.
6. Use Social Media to Promote Your Blog. The most successful bloggers understand the importance of using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and other platforms to promote their writings. One excellent resource for the blogger to learn how to effectively use social media is Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. By linking their blog to these platforms, every new post will be seen by the writer’s followers and friends.
Writers write. Making sure they are being read is important. Blogging is a wonderful way for a writer to hone their craft and consistently communicate with their audience. By following these simple tips, the writer will be well on their way to creating a successful blog.
What steps can you take to improve your blog?
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