Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hesitating on the back button: Is your blog worth reading?

So I've been surfing a lot recently in a vain attempt to pimp this page, find things to write about and avoid paying bills in that order. And I've discovered that pressing the Next Blog>> button here at Blogger is like fishing in a sewerage farm - you might be lucky enough to stumble across a gold watch but it's more likely you'll fish out some crap.

From the boring to the horribly uncompleted, it's like walking through a wrecking yard disguised as a car yard and wondering why most of the cars don't have steering wheels. Or doors. There's so many blogs I've seen that only have a few posts and then stopped years ago because no one bothered to show up.

The majority of blogs
So how do you get readers to your blog and even better, how do you keep them coming back from more? Here's a few helpful tips that have helped me build up some impressive numbers (by my standards) in a relatively short time. Read them at your attention seeking peril!


Oh Brett, you crazy!
'Gee I hate my teacher. Brett farted in class, you should've been there' is more an angsty 13 year old's diary entry than it is a blog post and the only person who will get anything out of it is the original writer (and Brett maybe). Yet I see this all the time - blog posts filled with things only relevant to a handful of people, instead of anyone who dropped by.
If you want a bigger audience, write to one. Why was the teacher causing you to hate? You were there, we weren't, fill us in! What was the classes reaction to Brett dropping his guts? As my on air boss is fond of saying, 'Paint the picture'.
Every person who visits your blog will more than likely be a stranger. So don't ever assume they know a lot about you and explain things to them - they appreciate that.


Must have read my report
Ever written something, looked back and throught 'Holy pigeon crap, that's just put me to sleep!'?
(I have, they're called weekly company reports aka snooze on an a4. Anyway I digest...)
Well if it's putting you into dreamland, you can only imagine what it's doing to your readers. They didn't come to your blog because they need to be put under (well maybe one or two of them did but that's not the point), they came to be informed or entertained or both. And they won't get either if your posts drone on and on and on and is full of things and stuff that bore your own socks off.

It doesn't have to be exciting, it just doesn't have to be a boring read. Which leads me to...


No Julia, just no!

You know what I hate? Politics. So it's rare you'll ever find me waxing lyrical over the policital climate of 'insert country here'. But I do like cars and beer and red wine and building things and the list goes on and on and on. I could talk about those things I love for hours and writing's the same.

So focus on things you love and write about them - your passion for something will make a much more interesting read than your loathing writing a topic you well and truly hate...



...are usually what I find in the fine print of most contracts. Break things up with pictures and spaces to make things easier to read. It might not be worth a thousand words but a picture of two will make your post look a lot more interesting than one without.


And if you write in leetspeak or txt, expect to be shunned like you urinated in the punch bowl at your last party. Same goes for not using a spellcheck. Remember if it's a struggle to read your blog (or translate it) then you're going to have a lot of people who won't want to come back for a second visit.


Written a post that's similar to another post you've previously written? Link it down the bottom. Something along the lines of Like SUBJECT HERE? Well check out the time I lit my my pubic hairs on fire in public right here!

It's like a bonus 'Wait, here's more!' kind of incentive and it's also showcasing another part of your blog at the same time. Win win really.


I do want to read this...

What's in a title? The reason to keep reading ultimately! So give your titles some excitement like they do in your local newspaper!

Eg: "I took a bus trip to the Grand Canyon" is nowhere near as exciting as "The bus and the big hole in the ground: The adventures continue!"

Obviously you still have to have some relevance to what you're writing: 'Hot nude school teachers do sexy dances' is misleading unless your blog post is actually about: Hot nude school teaches doing sexy dances or something similar. If it's about your bus trip to the Grand Canyon then your title will just lead to let downs...


If you haven't signed up for Google Anayltics yet and you really want to know where your readers are coming from and what they're actually reading, stop reading this (just come back when you're done) and head here.

While Blogger has a similar onboard system, Analytics is a free and brilliant site analysier that truly goes into much more depth into your site than Blogger does. While it seems complicated in parts with a bit of button pushing you'll be able to see what's working and what's not, whose reading and what they're reading and importantly: are they coming back?


And show off your wares! Link back to your favourite posts on Facebook and Twitter. Give people a reason why they should check out your work. Submit your blog to search engines to make it easier to find. Link your blog in relevant places like forums. Don't just rely on one source of traffic.

How are you going to get people to visit if they don't know you're here?...

Let me know if this helped you in anyway. There's still a lot of other things you can do to attract and keep traffic (as well as turn a buck or two) but we might explore these at a later date...


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