Monday, 7 June 2010
I've been writing a blog for many years now. In my free time I write my own personal blog that focuses mainly on Korean, Japanese and Chinese pop music; before that I had many personal blogs going back 10 years and I also write the myhomepage blog. To be honest, I'm not a pro-blogger and I don't get paid to write blog posts but hopefully I've learnt a few things that you might be able to find useful.
1 - Know Your Niche
This is the fundamental rule I try to stick to. Know your niche. Magazines are split up into different genres - sports, digital design, women's interest, men's interest, children's, puzzlers and so on. Your blog should be no different. If you don't have a coherent blog identity then your readers will be slightly disorientated if they've navigated to your blog on a film you've reviewed only to find you then talking about your car. Personal blogs are exempt from this as they're more like diaries. But I strongly suggest picking a topic you're interested in and sticking to it. You'll find that your blog can pick up a lot of traffic with a lot of keywords in the same topic once it gets indexed by Google and other search engines.
2 - Express Your Personality
One thing that a good writer does is to stand out from the crowd. Being able to show your personality in what you write is important and will keep people coming back to your blog (obviously it might also annoy them but you can't win over everyone). To do this is hard, because we're often used to reading very straight and unbiased writing in news. But never forget to express yourself within your writing - after all the blog is just very much a reflection on you.
3 - Write Interesting Articles
This is another important one. Often I'll find blogs that are just videos or images but with no text or explanation. This can sometimes work great if you're going for a really visual statement - but it can also be difficult to pick up traction because people simply don't want to spend time trying to figure out the point of your post. I've found that the more indepth an article is, the higher chance people will read it and stick around. I've posted a lot of short posts before but they never work as well as longer posts because in the shorter ones, you aren't offering anything different than what your reader could find from a news aggrigrator.
4 - Include Multimedia
This is a simple one and it doesn't always hold true. But if you have atleast one interesting image or video file in your post - it greatly helps your reader understand what your blog post is going to be about. If you're blogging as a personal diary, again, that's different.
5 - Network
This is another important point. Just like how businesses grow through friends and connections, you can see a great improvement to your web traffic if you start networking around. Commenting on other people's blogs, writing to them, exhcanging links. Although this can be daunting and you might be fearful of rejection - most bloggers actually really enjoy getting contacted and love it when they get emails. Plus, exchanging links means that you'll get an improved ranking by Google which will help with your search engine results.
In conclusion, I really enjoy writing blogs - I wouldn't have kept one of some form for over a decade if I didn't. Ultimately I keep a blog because I enjoy writing, but it's more than that. If I just enjoyed writing then I'd keep a diary or write a novels and essays. Blogs allow you to interact with others. The internet facilitates, and actively encourages, reader/author communication. Most blog platforms have an option for readers to post comments easily opening up channels of communication unlike traditional print media. It's this interaction that I enjoy the most. I've gotten to know a lot of nice people through blogging and without this interaction I think blogging would be less engaging.
Image credited to Annie Mole at flickr.