Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The art of blogging

Well, I certainly outdid myself this time ... I have not written a blog post in over 2 months! One of the first rules of the blogging world is to make sure you communicate regularly and consistently with your audience. This way you keep them engaged with new content and they know when to expect your next post.

I think we can all agree that I haven’t done this very well.

I could sprout the million and one reasons that I have been feeding to myself about why I am not writing regular posts but it still doesn’t give us the solution that a blog is successful. So in this post I thought I would write 10 key tips for maintaining a blog and the things that I wish I had been told before I set mine up! This is very much a case of “do what I say, not what I do”, so please do bear with me.

  1. Choosing the platform – There are lots of blogging platforms out there (eg. Wordpress, Tumblr, TypePad and Blogger) and choosing which one to use can be confusing. Unless you have very specific ideas about functionality, most blogging platforms will do what you need. You can find a number of helpful video tutorials online
  2. Find your niche – As mentioned above, when you start a blog you need to provide regular content. Make sure you find a theme/area of real interest where you are going to be able to share your opinion passionately. Try to think of an angle that makes your blog different to everyone else's
  3. Get ahead of the game - Before you even launch your blog, make sure you have already written 4-6 posts or so that you can release them at regular intervals in the first few weeks. This will give you time to plan your next posts and also make sure that you start yourself on a path of regular and consistent contact from the very beginning
  4. Plan your content – Dream big and don’t leave your content to chance. Good ideas will not generally come to you on the spot, so make sure you note down any ideas that cross your mind. Spend a few minutes every day thinking about potential topics and content
  5. Choose your objectives – Some people write blogs just for themselves (and maybe friends) but if you want your blog to gain a good level of readership traffic you will need to think about how you market yourself and your page. Start chatting with other bloggers and leaving useful comments on other blogs (with some link to your blog's theme) and show yourself as a thought leader - this will help to draw traffic to your blog. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is always really helpful and you can find many self-learning resources online
  6. Encourage interaction – Sometimes blogging can feel like a one-way conversation ... but it shouldn’t be. Encourage feedback and opinions to be shared, whether through the comments box or by having guest bloggers. NB: Blogger annoyingly only allows users with a gmail account to post a comment!
  7. Track your stats – Keep an eye on your analytics, it will help you to understand what your readers are interested in and allow you to provide them with more of what they are interested in
  8. Be personal – Humans are a nosey bunch and we love to find out personal things about people. It may be nerve-wracking but the more personal and human elements you add to your posts the more likely people are to come back to read more
  9. Get social – Don’t neglect your other social media accounts. Use twitter, facebook and LinkedIn (to name but a few) to direct people to your blog and also to start conversations around the topics you are discussing on your blog
  10. Keep it professional – No matter how informal your blog is, make sure you grammar and spell check before posting. Remember that your blog will become like an online reference for you to future employers. Silly things like bad grammar and an obvious lack of attention to detail will cost you dearly!

As I said before, do what I say and not what I do. Following the above tips will not automatically give you a high traffic blog but it will certainly help your chances!

So ....... anyone want to add their opinion and comment on this blog? :P Any extra tips or suggestions for improvement would be greatly appreciated.