This is a guest post by Glen Allsopp. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
I’ve been blogging for around 4 years now and despite all the changes we see in technology and software, the ‘rules’ to a successful blog tend to have remained the same. Yet, while the rules haven’t changed much, a lot of our traffic generation methods have. Gone are the days where 50 votes would guarantee a Digg homepage or you could place some technorati tags in your post and get thousands of visitors.
Each niche is getting more competitive by the day but it still doesn’t mean you can’t stand out from the crowd. One of my favourite new sites for creating relationships (hugely important) and getting website traffic has actually turned out to be Twitter. For the last few months, the micro-blogging has been in my top 5 referring sites, sending thousands of visitors monthly.
In this post I want to look at six common rules which can help with your blogging and also benefit the Twitter users of you out there who want to drive more traffic back to your site. Please note that I use the term ‘rules’ loosely, everyone has their own way of doing things and there will always be exceptions but you’ll probably find that these work well for you.
1. Provide Value
Let me ask you all a quick question: Why do you read Daily Blog Tips? I can safely assume you’re a blogger, but what is different to the hundreds of other blogging blogs out there? While answers to this may differ, the underlying factor is that the site provides value to you in one way or another and you don’t want to miss it. That is the single most important reason anyone subscribes to a blog.
They get value, whether that value is in the form of humour or in the form of how to make money, that’s what people want. Instead of getting into blogging to think of how you can benefit (mindshare, income etc) look at how you can benefit your readers. How can you make someone laugh, how can you make someone more money or in the case of this site: how can you help somebody become a better blogger?
If you offer constant value to your readers, you’ll give them an important reason to stick around.
Twitter Tip: Instead of just linking to your website all the time, why not help people out. Ask people who you can help them or even just inspire people with some motivational quotes.
2. Don’t Flood Readers with Posts
I’ve ran a number of blogs, from ones that focus on internet marketing, one that covers self improvement and for a while I even ran a celebrity blog (which I quickly sold). What I’ve learned from this is that certain types of blogs have a different level of posting frequency. If I only wrote once per week on a celebrity gossip blog then readers of the site are going to miss out on all the news.
However, if I run a site about personal development and write a 3,000 word post everyday, that’s going to be far too much for people to digest, and I’ll probably end up repeating much of what I’ve already said. Unless you run a news blog that needs to be updated multiple times per day, try to find a nice posting schedule that you can keep to. I tend to post around 3-4 times per week on my main sites.
Twitter Tip: Overactive users tend to get unfollowed. This has been minimised by tools like Tweetdeck, but if you are tweeting 10 x per minute (some people really do this) then you are going to clog up the twitter ’stream’ and people will stop wanting your updates.
3. Take Part in the Conversation
This point is relatively obvious so I’ll get straight to the point. Blogging is not just about you and it’s actually not even just about your readers. It also includes the conversation that goes on between your blog and others in the same industry. Read the blogs of others and leave comments to let them know what you think of their sites.
Link out to others and you’ll find that people will start linking out to you; you can even go as far as connecting with other blog authors on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and stay connected that way. Do not think that your industry is confined to your blog; there’s a whole world out there.
Twitter Tip: Get to know the people that follow you and follow the leaders in your industry. I’ve made many friends this way that has led to Re-Tweets and even backlinks from their websites.
4. Make Your Blog unique
There are a lot of things you can do to make your blog stand out:
- Have a unique design
- Write long, detailed posts in a niche that writers short informative ones (or vica verca)
- Implement an idea nobody else uses like the bloggers face-off or a list of top blogs
- Bring in authority figures for interviews
- Offer content in different formats such as audio and video
- Give away a free eBook for more in-depth topics like this one I did on how to make friends
Despite new blogs being created every single day, it doesn’t mean you can’t stand out from the crowd. Make sure you offer pure value consistently with a splashing of the above and you can’t go far wrong.
Twitter Tip: Make your profile stand out by adding an image and a creatively designed profile. It looks far better than a generic offering and shows you really care about getting involved.
5. Make it Easy for Readers to Connect
Quickly think of some of your favourite blogs that you read regularly. DailyBlogTips? TechCruch? ProBlogger? Something that I find in common with people and their favourite blogs is that they know a lot about the author, and feel like they ‘know’ them a bit. For example I just know that the author of this site is Daniel and he lives in Brazil. I just know that the author of ProBlogger is Darren Rowse and he lives in Australia with his wife, V.
Do you make it easy for your readers to get to know you and connect? Some easy ways to do this include having an informative about page, using your name on posts and blog comments and even sharing your personal stories at times in your blog posts.
Twitter Tip: A good way to tell people about you on Twitter is to fill in your bio, but you can also include a link and use this as a specific ‘twitter landing page’ that quickly tells people about you and your website. This is usually far better than just sending them to your homepage.
6. Make Content Easy to Read
There is nothing worse in my opinion than content that is just split into huge chunks of text with no line breaks. Even a post like this which is well over 1,000 words, is easily scannable due to the ‘list’ format and the bold headings.
Some tips on making your content easy to read include:
- Spell-checking your posts before you publish them
- Use bullet points where necessary
- Create sub-headings for longer, in-depth posts
- If you are doing a list post, separate the points with bold headings for people who scan / skim
- Include paragraph breaks after every 3 or 4 sentences
- Read the post yourself to see that it all flows properly
Twitter Tip: Although nobody expects you to write perfectly with 140 characters. Try to make sense and don’t shorten every single word, use multiple tweets or direct messages where possible.
Glen Allsopp has been blogging for almost 4 years. He writes two blogs, on PluginHQ and on PluginID.
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