Be a Better Blogger Because Bad Blogs Bite

I am NOT going to proclaim myself as an expert here nor am I going to espouse on the benefits of good writing when it comes to blogging, however I am going to give these SUPER HANDY TIPS to you, my readers and friends, and more hopefully, classmates.

One, a blog, or more archaically Web Log, is not just a place to write down your ideas about a certain topic. It’s a place for conversation. Granted, there are many places that you can go to, to satisfy that particular need in your life, however, it’s ultimately up to you to get people to converse with you. So, don’t get mad when you realize no one reads your stuff. Definitely don’t get mad when you can’t think of anything good to write about.

In cyberspace no one can hear you scream…
unless YOU USE ALL CAPS!

Tip 1: Find your niche/spirit guide/area of interest. You need to define your blog as much as you define yourself. For me, I define my blog by commenting on stuff about Technology and Public Relations. I keep other interests for elsewhere – however, I have considered bringing over one or two more topics over to flesh myself out more. And maybe you have too, but remember not to get bloated with content.

Tip 2: The better part of blogging is getting ideas out. Getting your ideas out helps a lot if you use a blog site that facilitates that. While Blogger/BlogSpot is connected to Google, it falls short on making blog following for users somewhat difficult and tedious. So, If you use Blogger/BlogSpot, I highly recommend you stop. This is not a hit against Google… it’s just the reality. They provide great platforms, but the ideas don’t cross over well. Google’s products are really good for personal management, but not for social media management. Ironically, Google+ is the only platform Google has right, but it fails to deliver what Facebook and Twitter offer their users.

Now, the biggest argument I can make against Blogger/Blogspot is its complete lack of analytics and measurement. You actually have to get a third party application to provide you with the statistics. WordPress provides you with some basic measurements, but that’s better than nothing, which blogspot doesn’t give you. Using a third party requires that you check that service separately, which means another tab/window.

Take it from the tech-savvy guy – he’s used his analytical mind to come to this conclusion. Alternatively, and probably the smarter way to go is to use 2 platforms. Use Blogger/BlogSpot AND WordPress. You want to get your word out right? Might as well take the extra cut and paste steps.

The difference is figuratively, black and white

Tip 3: Be somewhat consistent. A post once every few weeks does not help you. Seriously… A former co-worker of mine a few years ago – an individual who is a bit of  nerd – was the one who summed it up best for me. “Schedule a night a week to write about something – you need to keep with it. If you write it, they will come“.

Now, I’m not sure what his readership is like, but I’m sure after 4 years of covering urban issues, transit and other random stuff, he’s got a somewhat decent following.

Tip 4: SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION HELPS YOU A LOT.  If you use Blogger/BlogSpot, I highly recommend you stop. For the simple reason that, their SEO system isn’t the best. It’ll work on google, sure, maybe, but not so well in other realms. WordPress is brilliantly set up for SEO. First, it offers you a section to add tags and it also has a section for categories, which also help define your blog for others when searching. Also, tagging is super important for your blog to make it searchable.

But that’s not the only thing you need to do. A good post should include plenty of links. That’s how SEO works best and works better if you can find other bloggers similar to you. [I’m still searching]

Tip 5: Tweet/Post about your blog. Naturally, you need a good hashtag, but having a good hashtag means nothing if you don’t post frequently.

Tip 6: Follow others… regardless. Once you get a few people to read your blog, put their blogs on your reading list.

Tip 7: Visuals… Not necessary, but they help. They break up the monotony of your words. Remember, you’re writing a blog, not a novel.

Tip 8: CUSTOMIZE! Don’t just grab a preexisting template and start blogging. Appearance equals substance. I’m not saying you should design your own template, but take a look around and adjust images where ever you can – like your banner or wallpaper. It will give your blog that personal touch.

For god’s sake…
get yourself a copy!

Tip 9: Do a spellcheck and grammar check. It helps you keep people. No one really wants to read “OMG WTF, BBQ #funny LOL etc… etc…” But equally true is not writing at a higher level than most readers. If you need to, use Word to compose your blog then cut/paste it over to your blog. This will help you get an idea through the readability statistics where you’re at. Aim for about a reading level of 7-8. This is not my exact advice, I’m just repeating what someone once told me. Writing at that level offers a good compromise between most readers. You won’t be too smart and you won’t be too dumb. Goldilocks…

That’s pretty much all of it. At least, that which I can think of.

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