The Joy of Blogging (and the necessary evils of technology)
What is a blog?
Blog is a term coined from the combination of the words web and log.
They can be anything from personal journal and a place to share family photos to industry relevant or professional information. Blogs are popular because the information comes directly from someone the audience trusts, a real person. It has an element of immediacy and doesn’t have to go through a media gatekeeper to be shared.
Just the Facts:
- There are more than 50 million blogs and at least one-third of internet users read blogs. 29.2% of bloggers are located in the United States with California being the leader (14.1% of Californians blog).
- 11% read them regularly
- 5% users blog daily themselves
- Comments peak on Saturday and are at the lowest on Wednesday
- 10 am is the highest viewership followed by 11 pm as secondary time; 5 am is the lowest
- Monday has the highest views
(Stats from Mashable)
What are the basics that make up a blog?
Blend of information (interesting, timely posts build a sense of goodwill)
Lively conversation (no one reads a boring blog – be passionate about your topic)
Open community (allow comments and constructive criticism)
Guide to Understanding (help people make sense of your topic)
Wordpress – wordpress.com is free hosting, etc (www.myblog.wordpress.com); wordpress.org is a free blogging platform.
Tumblr – free platform that is for quick posts – highlights, etc.
Blogger – free platform that is easy to use, but doesn't do half of what WP can do.
Typepad – paid platform that is easy to use, but not easy to transfer out of.
CHARACTERISTICS OF TOP BLOGS
- Great content
- Writing skills
- Clean design
- Uses 3 main colors
- Posts stands out from the background/ads
- Niche obvious within 5 seconds
- Clean code
- Optimized photos
- Fast load time
- No showing HTML
- Authors who engage
- Reader advocate
- Timely comments
- “Customer” service
- Technically sound
- User friendly
- No server issues
- Safe to browse
HINTS FOR BLOG SANITY
- Editorial Calendar
- Give credit where credit is due (Photos: compfight.com)
- Looking at stats is like looking at the scales every day. Stop it!
- Traffic ideas: guest post elsewhere, comment on other blogs, use social media, etc
The Blog: Basic tips for blogging for business
- Know your audience and what information they are seeking
- Be educational, not promotional; be a teacher
- Make it easy to read
- Link to things, topics and people you reference
- Link to other areas of your website (landing pages, calls to action) that are relevant to your topic
- Blogs aren’t works of literary genius; don’t over think your article
- Use data to tell your stories (creative, engaging, involving and entertaining)
- Write about popular and current topics
- Be controversial
- Grab people’s attention in the beginning
- Use active language
- Be authentic
- Remember the importance of conversation
- Craft a title that gets attention
- Feature key words within the title
- Summarize the story in the title
Sharing Your Blog
- Place your blog URL in your profile in social media spaces and personal sites Share through your personal social media sites
- Comment on other people’s blogs and build relationships
- Start conversations and discussions on industry forums and in industry groups and on relevant business groups on LinkedIn and link back to your blog “for more information”
- Pepper your blog with key words to make your blog searchable in Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.
- Add links to other information relevant to your blog topic
- Use photos, videos to make your point – remember that content is visual as well as informational
- Guest blog for others and link back to your website