August 30, 2012
We hope you're enjoying our series of posts on Blogging Best Practices! Each Thursday for 10 weeks, we're debuting a new post designed to help you create great content, share it with the world, and become a better blogger. Check out other posts in the series here!
For new and experienced bloggers alike, it can be a challenge to stand out from the crowd and have your voice heard in a meaningful way. These five basic guidelines will help you attract attention, make things interesting, and keep your readers coming back:
Find Your Niche. "Write what you know" is one of the most common - and best - pieces of advice novice authors receive, but it's great advice for bloggers, too. A depth of knowledge will provide you with plenty of content, and it can also help your readers see you as an authority on your subject. Are you into cooking? An avid birder? Maybe you know more about your neighborhood than anyone else on the block. Write about your passion, and you'll always have something to say.
Make it Personal. Ask a group of blog readers what keeps them coming back to their favorite blogs, and the first thing they'll tell you is that they relate to the bloggers who write them. No matter the subject, injecting your personality into your posts is a must. Relating a personal anecdote about the subject at hand is a great way to do this on a regular basis, and having a great About or Bio page complete with your background, hobbies, and a photo or two is another essential aspect. Letting your readers get to know you on a more personal level is key, so be candid, and show your face! Not sure how to start? Elsie and Emma at A Beautiful Mess are a great example of how getting personal gets long-term readers.
Keep it Going. One of the most effective ways to build your readership is also one of the most simple: publish on a regular basis. Every blogger knows that it can be tough to find the time and energy to write regularly, but in order to remain relevant and retain interest, a consistent posting schedule is essential. Start taking a notebook and pen (or your iPhone) everywhere, and keep a list of topics handy. Too busy to write every day? Take a few hours once or twice a week and write (or at least start drafting) a few posts at a time. Still need help? Check out these great tips on posting frequently, direct from our Blogging Best Practices series.
Keep Things Interesting. If you're blogging about your passions, keeping it personal, and posting frequently, chances are you're not boring your readers, but it can be helpful to do a quick reality check every now and then to make sure your content is concise and relevant. Never make your posts longer than they need to be; keep it brief, but comprehensive. One good rule of thumb is to consider every post a first draft, and never forget to edit. Want some inspiration? Seth Godin has it down to a science.
Appearance Matters. By now you know that content is the key, but having a great design and using images in posts can also go a long way in attracting new readers and growing your audience. It's important to pay attention to your blog's style by sporting a good design and using photos in your posts whenever relevant. Clean lines, plenty of white space, and pops of color are pleasant to look at and provide the framing for your content. Lots of great themes for Typepad bloggers can be found in your account at Blogs > Design. For those who want to get a bit more fancy, the Theme Builder is fantastic, and we even offer professional design services if you're not into DIY. Be sure to check out our tips on photo use and attribution here, and check out Peck Life for a fantastic example of style and substance - the total package!
We hope this helps you dig in and start growing your audience. Be sure to check out all the great blogs and resources linked throughout the post!