By the end of 2004 blogs had established themselves as a key part of online culture. “Blog readership shoots up 58% in 2004 6 million Americans get news and information fed to them through RSS aggregators But 62% of online Americans do not know what a blog is.” – Pew Internet & American Life Project.
How and where should I start?
The much smaller learning curve for using such free services allows you to spend more time on developing your content rather than worrying about the advanced areas of scripting, hosting, or programming.
The things you should decide to write about.
Although not a required prerequisite in order to write a blog, it is highly recommended to try to find a topic to write about based on your level of interest and knowledge. The higher your level of interest, the easier it is for you to get provide quality content on your blog.
Always try to choose an area in which you can enthusiastically write about on a daily basis.
Always stay on topic.
The content of the blog should all relate to a general theme to engage and hold the interest of your readers.
Define a topic and try not to stray too far away from it. This will ensure that you create a loyal following of interested readers.
Information is king, be informative.
If you are attempting to create the impression that you are knowledgeable about a specific industry or sector, be sure that you stay current and accurate.
Checking your facts before giving an opinion or a product review is always a good idea – your reputation is at stake. If you’re using other people’s articles (i.e. guest posts) for your blog content, ensure that you follow the terms of usage defined by the author.
Old news is not news, but old information can be recycled and made new.
While blogging everyday can be strenuous and time consuming, it is important that the information presented is current and accurate.
Information, articles or any other archived resources can be recycled or modified to add more substance to your content as long as it’s relevant and informative.
Be disciplined and stick to a fixed posting schedule.
Realize that blogging requires time and effort.
Don’t create unrealistic expectations and be unable to deliver.
If you have worked hard to develop an audience and a community you don’t want to lose them due to lack of communication.
If time is not on your side, take advantage of automatically updating contents which are available for your blog, such as video, infographics, guest posts, etc. Also, considering the constantly updating nature of RSS feeds, other RSS feeds from similar topics can be inserted within your blogging post.
If your blog content is updated frequently, search engines will tend to spider the pages at regular intervals.
Updating your blog daily not only keeps your blog more interesting to readers, but it also makes it more appealing to search engines.
To keep your blog traffic and retain your visitors interest it is a must, and you should try to update your blog at least every day. Using one of my other blogs Feathering the Empty Nest as an example, I started posting once per week, then twice, and since I’ve been attracting guest authors and sponsored content, I now post at least once per day – sometimes 2-3 times per day.
In order to attract the attention of search engines, you will need to produce a reasonable amount of content and information. A headline or simple sentence is not going to generate the interest of readers or help with search engine ranking.
Be sure to archive old blog posts to develop a large portal of similarly-themed content.
Clarity and simplicity: keep it concise.
Keep your posts and blog entries clear and easy to understand. Simplicity always produces better results at the end of the day.
Blog entries should be of a reasonable length (I try for a minimum of 400 words). If your blog posts are longer, you should try to use plenty of white space, and use it wisely to increase the visual appeal of your blog. Most readers are highly visual and are engaged more easily by high quality images. Be sure to insert quality images whether you prefer long or short posts.
A crowded, confusing sea of text is less likely to draw readers.
Maintain a clean paragraphing style, proper spacing, use different font sizes, colors and weights for your titles as well as the subtitles.Using bullet points also helps to create visual interest.
Utilize the “blockquote” tags.
Being one of the few most underutilized blogging formatting tags, these 2 items can help you to emphasize certain points in the most efficient and striking way.
Just place your key message into a blockquote tag, and it will appear distinctively different from the rest of your text, drawing quick attention from the reader.
If the goal of your blog is to increase your visibility, include related keywords in the title of the blog, using the title as a headline to attract interest. Each post should have a title that will attract attention but still be relevant to the post. It should be no longer than 75 characters to meet SEO standards.
Try to avoid general and ordinary titles, using unique words and phrases, creating innovative titles to grab the readers’ attention.
Spell checking and proof-reading.
It only takes a few extra moments and can save you from having to make embarrassing explanations. A hazard of the internet is that if you’re too late to correct your mistake, most likely it’s already been crawled by the search engines and read by many.
It is extremely important to proof-read carefully twice or more before publishing.
RSS to a blog is like fuel to cars.
Almost every single free blog or blogging software out there will have an automatic RSS feed generating feature.
Although it’s most unlikely that you’ll find one without an RSS feature, simply pass on it and find a new one. No matter how much you like the theme, the lack of an RSS feed is too much of a hurdle to overcome.
The essence of the internet – traffic.
It’s no secret. You must have traffic to meet the definition of a blog. There are numerous ways to build traffic: paid and free advertising, viral marketing, search engine marketing, RSS/XML feeds, word-of-mouth, submitting to numerous blog and RSS directories, etc.
You should always use your blog URL address in the signature of your email, forum discussions, message boards, or any other communication. Never forget to share your blog to your friends, colleagues, and any other individuals that you know of.
Track your blog.
Tracking your blog does not have to be overly sophisticated – usually a simple free page counter like StatCounter.com will do the trick. Install (copy/paste) the code into the html of your blog template and start tracking your visitors.
However, if you would like to attract sponsored content, it’s better to use a service which gives you advanced traffic analysis, such as keyword tracking, referral information, search engine statistics, and site traffic and engagement statistics; visitors, returning visitors, and unique visitors should be standard for any page counter service you choose.
If your ultimate goal is to attract sponsored content, advertising (i.e. build revenue), then it is crucial to use Google Analytics and Google Webmasters to stay on top of your blog’s performance. Most agencies require Google Analytics information to rank and rate your blog.
Google does a fairly good job of providing help documents to learn anything you’re not familiar with.
Make use of your blog’s statistical and tracking information.
Believe it or not, your visitors’ information from your tracking scripts will provide priceless information on how you can attract more readers. Keep note of the keyword terms that bring you traffic. You can identify relevant closely related topics which you can venture into and add more variety into your blog, yet staying very much on topic.
Simply put, more topic coverage and more variety = more traffic.
The essence of your blog is your audience, listen to them.
Always interact with your readers who post comments on your blog. Reply with a brief thank you note or just simply attend to their questions if they have any.
It’s a proven fact that direct human interaction and communication, and knowing that there’s a “real human” at the other end makes most come back.
If your audience provides suggestions, comments or feedback, take them seriously and inform them if you have any plans of implementing any of the suggestions.
And of course, don’t forget to thank them for their ideas. If it’s a great idea, why not throw in a free gift such as mentioning and linking to their website in your blog?
Create and increase the “Why must I return?” value of your blog.
Everyone knows that blogs get a huge level of returning visitors because of the constantly updated content.
Why notu add more interesting items to that return value by having fixed periodical posts / offers, (e.g. Monday Top 10 Tips, Picture of the Week, Free Bonus of the Month, Free Daily Wallpapers, etc.).
As long as you can efficiently and appropriately increase that return value consistently, you will get repeat visitors, period.
An advance notice or pre-launch announcement or anything similar to that also can act as a short term return value strategy.
It never hurts to use multiple blogs to attract more people, however DO NOT publish duplicates of your blog with the mistaken assumption that you would gain more traffic.
Search engines and feed directories might translate that as excessive, redundant information, which simply brings you trouble such as getting your blog penalized, banned or even accused of spamming.
Digital art and creative graphics.
Another proven fact – Monotonous and continuous display of text will make your readers run away!
Try to include non-advertising graphics, pictures, photos, and art in your blog entries, but try to keep them to a limit. Unless you have your page well optimized, too many graphics also mean slower loading time and could result in a confusing mess of text and graphics.
Most of the time, graphics can bring your blog to life. Pictures can make boring text interesting, helping to break up and create visual interest for very long posts.
Graphical elements are by far the fastest message delivering element available on the net today. delivering a key message with a split second look.
Maintain a personal blog.
A blog is most successful when it is kept personal, using a natural, conversational tone.
Try to include personal experiences which relate to the topic of your blog entry. Stay away from the business style of writing. Write with a more personal style and use first-person narratives.
Share product reviews and personal experiences to avoid it sounding like a sales pitch.
Credibility and popularity.
As thing progress, it will be necessary to adapt to the rapid flow and nature of development. If you have a large number of readers and are still using a free blogging service, you may want to consider getting your own domain name and hosting plan to have a more professional blog with much more resources at your disposal to improve speed and performance.
Domain names and hosting plans are very straightforward. Research is all it takes to get the best of all the available options. Reviews, ratings, public votes, demos, etc. are freely available on the internet.
Be sure to go through the server requirements and limitations before purchasing your web hosting.
Customize the look of your Blog.
If you happen to be using one of the free blogging services out there, you might notice the same template being used by several blogs.
It is well known that not everybody has the technical knowledge to change the layout as they see fit, but if you have the knowledge, by all means try to customize it and make it look DIFFERENT.
A huge plus of professional hosting is that there are thousands of free and premium themes available to provide a more unique look and identity for your blog.
Blog and make money.
Once your blog has gained some real momentum and your blog traffic is increasing, then it is time to start thinking about turning your traffic into profit. One caveat though, don’t expect this overnight – sometimes it can take years of dedication and effort.
Some of the recommended income generating sources are: Google Adsense, Amazon Associates, Linkvehicle, Izea, Blogsvertise, and numerous others sponsored content, advertising and affiliate programs – all just a search engine search away.
Following these blogging tips should make your blogging experience much more rewarding.
Blogging is generally done out of interest and enthusiasm and sometimes for income generating purposes. The flexibility of blogging will never cease to expand and through time, dedication, and persistence you will be rewarded for your blogging efforts.
John Teh is an internet blogger enthusiast, exposed to the fun and the extreme possibilities of blogging on the net. Get to know more about the author at his homepage. http://www.rssblogsubmit.com
Article Source: John Teh