Some useful insights from top blogger Martin Belam’s course this week.
1. Have an objective for your blog
It should be able to be summed up in an “elevator pitch” type one line summary – “I want my blog to [objective] so that [end result]. For example, “demonstrate my interest and knowledge in a subject so that I will get offers of work”, “become a hub of information on a subject so that I can make money from advertising”. It could be ‘softer’ objectives though – “become a hub of information on a subject so that I can find others with the same interest”, “provide an outlet for my writing to help me come to terms with something”?. The point is, if you don’t have an objective how will you know if your blogging is successful?
At the moment, this blog’s objective is simply to give me some experience of blogging so that I understand it better. That objective will eventually change though.
2. Find your voice but recognise this can take some time
The best blogs have a bit of personality about them. This is something you need to find but it can take a bit of time and also, practice. As you do more blogging and writing becomes more natural to you, your voice will hopefully develop.
3. Edit, edit, edit
Always read back what you’ve written before publishing. You should always find something that can be written better or more efficiently. Check punctuation and spelling – it may seem pernickety but it’s the kind of thing that can undermine people’s opinion of a blog and lower its value in their eyes.
4. Plan your publishing
If you want your blog to be a serious affair, you need to plan what you’re going to write about and when.
Decide how much time you can devote to blogging then give yourself a rough target of how frequently you’re going to publish. Plan around that. Maybe, look at what you’ll be doing over the next month or so and schedule in posts based around those events (if relevant to your subject of course). Write posts in advance and have them ready so you can always try and publish something.
Your schedule doesn’t have to be set in stone – events may mean you want to publish more frequently but readers like a certain amount of regularity to blogs – if they know something new’s going to appear every day/week/month they’ll look out for it. If it’s sporadic, they may lose interest.
5. Choose your article headlines wisely
Think about search engines and how you want your blog to be spread around Twitter etc. Clever, cryptic puns may not be the best idea as people won’t know what the post is about. Titles that clearly state what the post is about and why someone should click work well (e.g. 5 things every new blogger should know).
Also, try and keep them short – 60 characters is considered the magic number. Firstly, this is about what is displayed in Google search results. Secondly, it gives people plenty of scope on Twitter to add a link, comment, retweet etc.
There was loads more tips but I may come to those in another post.