Based on my experience, I’ve put together a list of things that can help build a blog that people will want to read. I’m not even going to mention content, so this list can pretty much apply to any blog on any topic.
1. Say NO to annoyance. Never ever have auto-play music, video, or popups on your blog. Not ever. I don’t care who you are, if you have any of these things, the majority of readers who found your blog will move on.
2. A picture paints a thousand words. A blog post without an image is like reading the back of a bottle of aspirin. Snooze-fest. Make sure you have something that catches the reader’s eye, then you spring your awesome content on them! (Also, it saves a step when you double up your exposure with Pinterest or Instagram). Need images? Try Pixabay, MorgueFile, and creative commons on Flickr. (always confirm usability – licensing, attribution, etc. before publishing an image on your blog).
3. The Missing Link. Links on your blog should always open a new window. You don’t ever want to drive a reader away from your blog. Let them open a new window, and then come back to you when they’re done.
4. Spelling and Grammar are your friends. Think about it. How can I trust what you say when you can’t even spell it or use it in a complete sentence? It’s not that hard to spellcheck and grammar check your posts before you publish them. Your blog editor should have a built-in spellchecker. If not, consider changing blog platforms. In the meantime, write your posts in a word processor and check it there before you paste it into your blog editor. One of my favorite tools to check my writing for readability (also a spellchecker) is Hemingway.
5. How about a date? I will never figure out why people don’t date their blog posts. I like to know that I’m reading the most up-to-date information available. If your post isn’t dated, how can I tell? I’ll be off to search for a blog post that IS dated, and I’ll chalk your blog up in the ‘unreliable’ column.
6. Just the facts, ma’am. Be sure to fact check your blog post before you hit the “publish” button. Nothing screams ‘unreliable’ louder than a post filled with incorrect information. Not sure how to check the facts you’re using? Then maybe you should consider a different topic.
7. Consistency is key. I’m not saying that you have to publish a blog post every day, every week, or only on alternating Mondays in weeks that contain a date with a number 2. What I am saying is that you should post regularly enough that it keeps your blog (and your name) in front of your readers. One tool I find helpful is the Editorial Calendar plugin for WordPress. You can also create your own with a calendar template in Word or using another editorial calendar template.
What about you? Do you have any tips you would add to this list?
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