50 SHADES OF BLOGGING
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I’m feeling quite generous today so let me spread the knowledge that I have gained within my two years of blogging.
1.If you write about a serious or dark topic, break it up with a little fluff sometimes. Or write about something else. But don’t lose your focus. As for the rest, they don’t care as much as you think they do. That soul-baring post is probably only embarrassing to you.
2. If you have a post you’re afraid to make public, make it public anyway. It’s okay to run naked in public sometimes. You’ll feel freed.
3. You are going to have haters. It’s unavoidable. If you can’t handle people hating you or your blog, you have no business blogging.
4. If your blog starts getting popular, your haters will be more numerous and more vocal. It’s okay to have haters. Love your haters. They’re obviously obsessed enough with you to visit your blog and that increases your views.
5. Some people you thought were your friends or supporters are not. Be careful who you trust.
6. Nothing is too personal to write publicly about. There will always be someone who will be grateful you shared
7. Trolls are easily controlled. Just don’t approve their comments or send them to spam or trash.
8. Be agreeable. Don’t attack commenters who disagree with you. Most people are reasonable and disagreements can lead to some interesting debates where both of you may learn something.
9. If you decide to run advertisements, you’re not selling out. If you’re serious about blogging or writing, it’s a good idea if you have enough traffic.
10. You do not need to pay for SEO. All you need is patience. If you post often enough and your blog starts getting enough hits (USE THE SHARE BUTTONS–or at least have them available under your posts so others can do your dirty work for you), those hits will eventually lead to more hits, and this keeps feeding on itself. Eventually you’ll find some of your posts appearing at the top of the search engines, and once that happens, the sky’s the limit.
11. You can’t “make” a post go viral. There is absolutely no way to tell what article of yours may go viral or when. It could be one you never expected to, or it could happen months after you first posted it. When it happens, it’s a complete surprise and a completely amazing feeling.
12. Don’t write something just because you think it’s popular if it isn’t something of interest to you. Don’t try to be cool–people can always tell if you’re trying too hard. You’re either cool or you’re not, but you don’t have to be cool to have a great blog.
13. You are going to lose followers. It’s inevitable. As long as you are gaining more followers than you’re losing, then there’s no problem. The people who are unfollowing you are probably not people you want to have sticking around anyway.
14. You will change in ways you never expected. Blogging is an adventure.
15. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day and don’t post. We all have those days we need to take a break or just can’t think of a good idea. If it really bothers you, reblog someone else’s article or post a funny picture or inspirational saying. People always love those.
16. When all else fails, post a picture of a cat or a cat meme. Cats on the Internet are like sex in the movies. They attract viewers. Kittens are even better. Everyone loves kittens, even people who hate cats.
17. Use pictures and graphics, especially in long posts (but don’t use so many your post looks like the cover of a supermarket tabloid). No one wants to read a wall of text, even if you’re the best writer ever. But they want a clean look too, so be careful how many graphics you use, especially if you are running advertisements too. No one likes a cluttered, messy looking blog that makes their eyes hurt or gives them flashbacks to the MySpace era.
18. You don’t have to be a great writer. You just have to be original and willing to take a few risks.
19. Always be honest even if your opinion might be controversial or unpopular. Controversial posts may get you more haters, but they’ll also make your views soar.
20. Haters can make good fodder for new posts. Sometimes those posts will be your most interesting. But be careful about calling out specific people by name; you could get in trouble for that.
21. Try to get ideas from your audience so that you can publish blog posts that answer the most interesting questions from people you engage with on social media.
22. If you understand your audience better you will have a better idea of what blog content will resonate with them, which is a good start when you get to writing blog posts.
23. Write for yourself first and foremost. Ignore the fact that anyone else will read what you write; just focus on your thoughts, ideas, opinions and figure out how to put those into words. Write it and they will come.
24. If you start building your email list from day one, you will be able to promote your new content to your audience directly without worrying about search rankings, Facebook Edge Rank, or other online roadblocks in communications.
25. You should love the readers you already have. A lot of bloggers get quite obsessed with finding new readers – to the point that they ignore the ones they already have. Yes – do try to find new readers but spend time each day showing your current readers that you value them too and you’ll find that they will help you grow your blog.
26. Focus on building an amazing call-to-action. I screwed up for years. I’d blog and blog. Some of my posts were doing very well on but I had such hard time getting return visitors. And very few people bothered to follow me on Twitter. Don’t rely on people to do the work to find your Twitter account. Don’t rely on them to do the work to find your details in a sidebar. People are blind to sidebars. Thanks banner ads! Finish your blog post with some kind of call to action to sign up for an email list or follow you on Twitter.
27. If you can, give stuff that adds value to people’s lives away and they will love you and become loyal fans.
28. Make sure you consistently blog so that you maintain your regular traffic because is much easier to lose your traffic than it is to build it up.
29. Give away your knowledge. Don’t be afraid to showcase what you know. Too many bloggers hold back the good stuff out of fear of giving away the “secret sauce.” There is no secret sauce in a world where everyone has high speed Internet access at all times. Today, you want to give away information snacks to sell knowledge meals.
30. You should be true to your voice. Stay true to yourself and your voice. People don’t care to follow sites so much as they care to follow people.
31. If you plan to invest in blogging for a long time, you will have to be patient before you see a return. The web is a big, noisy place and unless you’re willing to invest more over a greater period of time than others, you’ll find success nearly impossible.
32. If you’re blogging to create a business, a movement, or to support a cause, then you need to build an email list. It’s not an option. Caring about these people, writing for them, and delivering value to them should be your number one goal.
33. You should write catchy headlines because no matter how great your content is, it won’t matter unless you have an amazing headline. People have a split second to decide if they should click on your post, and your headline will make them decide. The headline is also essential in making it easy and desirable for people to share your post. Keep your headlines SPUB: simple, powerful, useful and bold.
34. Be yourself. You don’t have to be too “professional” or use “big words” to impress others.
35. Keep your posts short. Keep them in the 1–2 minutes read-time length. You generally need about 300 words minimum to get indexed by search engines, but otherwise the length of your post is up to what you think feels best. Shorter posts will be much better received by readers and shared more. A blog post should be like a miniskirt. It has to be short enough to be interesting, but long enough to cover the subject.
36. Make your posts worth referencing. One thing I always try to keep in mind before publishing a post is would anyone want to “cite” this for any reason? Just like interesting research is great because it leaves you with a fascinating finding or an idea, I like for my posts to be the same. That doesn’t mean relying on research, but simply making sure each post has an original lesson or actionable item, making it “citable” on the web.
37. When choosing a creative topic to blog about, try and find a niche. Make your blog about something very specific and you’ll please both the search engines and your readers. Try not to be too general and really focus on one specialist topic and stick to it. Find your own niche and go for it – just remember to stay on topic.
38. Write about what you love
Write about something you love, otherwise you’ll show no passion in your writing. And if there’s no passion, your content will suffer, so find a topic you are comfortable with and only write about that.
39. If you don’t provide something the public wants, your creative blog will never be a success. Give people what they’re after and offer real value to their web browsing experience. What do I mean by this? Well, value is demonstrated in the content you publish. If your content isn’t valuable people won’t read it or return to read more. Really think about what you’re putting out there and give the people what they want.
40. Focus on marketing your blog. You won’t get anywhere if you just launch a blog and hope that people will come without any marketing effort. You have to actively market your blog and you can do that through a variety of ways. You can start chatting with other bloggers by leaving valuable comments on other people’s blog posts – this will help draw people back to your own site. Or you can make use of the search engines and write about topics that are popular in the searches, like this very feature. Or you could even offer to contribute to influential e-zines or blogs to help raise your profile. Whatever you choose to do, just get out there and market yourself like mad. There’s really no excuse not to.
41. You should encourage interaction, that is, get people talking on your blog. Ask them to add their comments on various articles. Encourage interaction wherever possible. Ask for feedback, respond to people’s contributions, build a community and be nice. People love to interact, so make sure you’re friendly and welcoming.
Make commenting easy
Just be aware that there are many reasons why people might not comment on your blog posts. It could be anything from not providing easy access to log a comment to writing about negative things people don’t want to be a part of. Bottom line? Make commenting easily accessible and write about stuff that gets people talking positively. If people can interact on your blog, they’ll keep coming back for more.
42. Don’t get stage fright and believe in yourself. Once your blog starts to get more than 1,000 visitors per month, it’s only natural that you may lose confidence in yourself and your writing. Don’t get stage fright and keep at it! There is a reason why you have so many visitors, so believe in yourself and keep writing fantastic content.
43. Most people do not know this but WordPress.com blog owners have the power to edit the comments left on their blog by visitors. It is also very possible to edit your own comment on your blog.
44. You should provide easy reading. Research suggests that people view and scan web pages rather than read every last bit of copy. Therefore, try and keep your articles as easy, quick reads. Provide lists wherever possible and break up the text. From an SEO point of view, you want to provide at least 250 words of copy. But it’s also good to stick to this number for your readers — unless of course you’re writing an article such as this one – in which case, add in bullet points or lists because it will hold people’s attention more.
45. When designing your blog — either creating one from scratch or using any of the free blogging platforms online — try and keep the layout clean, fresh and uncluttered. Avoid adding lots of unnecessary features. Keep it easy on the eye and you’ll please your blog visitors and have them coming back for more.
46. Get social. Don’t neglect social media elsewhere like Twitter and Facebook. Make sure you hook these up to your blog’s RSS feed and update your followers and fans with your latest post.
Twitterfeed is a great tool that automatic publishes your posts to your Twitter and Facebook accounts — great for Twitter but looks a bit spammy for Facebook at present. Test everything first and make sure you’re happy with the automatic updates and tweets you’re putting out there.
47. Keep an eye on analytics. Keep track of how people are landing on your blog and how they’re finding you. You can then tailor your blog posts to your readers’ needs as well as making best use of those external sources that are really drawing people in. If you invest in any online advertising, your analytics will also help determine your ROI (return of investment) and whether it’s working or not. Keep an eye on your web analytics and ensure your blog is working as powerfully as it should be.
48. Allow easy following by placing “follow” badges on your blog wherever possible. For example, on Blogger you can add a free widget which encourages people to “follow your blog” in their own Google readers. Tumblr has something similar but this is already integrated. Make sure you provide an easy follow option on your own blog, even if it’s just clear links to your RSS feed.
48. Get personal. Reveal more about who you are in your posts and your audience will love you for it. People want to follow people, not brands. Include an “about” section if possible and a photograph of yourself. By offering a personal slant, you’ll be encouraging people to like you and by tapping into their emotions you’ll encourage loyalty hence happy, returning visitors. Add a personal touch to your own blog.
49. Spell checking and proof-reading. Finally, before you hit the “publish” button, it’s crucial you check your spelling and proofread your article again and again. Bad spelling will not only ruin your credibility, it will damage your SEO as the search engines won’t appreciate poor copy. Make sure you check everything before you go live.
50. If you go on holiday, make use of scheduling tools on your blog so that you can post articles automatically while you’re away from your desk.
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