5 ways to building a better blog

Written by Neil Patel on September 14, 2006

Although the blogosphere is a new space on the web, it is starting to become a crowded. Millions of bloggers are writing on a daily basis and many of them are writing on similar topics. Because of the sheer number of blogs fighting for the same eyeballs, it is becoming harder to become popular, so the question is how do you make your blog stand out from the rest?

Content

Most blogs have 1 major thing in common, they are content centric. Content is going to get new visitors to your blog and keep your old readers reading. Here are some things to keep in mind when writing blog posts.

  1. Write quality content that readers can benefit from. If people cannot get something out of your content, what’s the point of them reading your blog?
  2. Write on a consistent basis. There is nothing wrong with blogging on a daily, weekly or even on a monthly basis, but whatever your blogging schedule is, try to keep it consistent.
  3. Participate in conversations, it allows you to give your input on the latest happenings. This is also a great way to gain readers from other blogs.
  4. Keep your content short and to the point. Om Malik once said that it is better to write something in 500 words than 1000 words. Readers are also less likely to read a 1000 word post compared to a 500 word post.

Usability

Steve Krug wrote a book called Don’t Make Me Think and that’s exactly what you should be aiming for when visitors comes to your blog. If they are looking to read your content they should be able to find it and read it with ease. If they want to subscribe to your blog, they should be able to find your RSS feed with ease. Whatever it might be, you want to make it as easy for your readers as possible.

Here are a couple things to keep in mind.

  • Your website’s content should be easy to read as well as easy to navigate.
  • Make it easy for people to find your content by using categories and by having a search feature on your blog.
  • Make your RSS subscription button easy to access for anyone looking to read your content from a RSS reader.
  • Limit the options and features on your blog. Why have tons of features when 90 percent of your visitors only use a handful of them.
  • Try to avoid technical jargon when possible and when you cannot try to explain the jargon in as few words as possible.

Visibility

You can have the best blog in the world, but it does not matter if people cannot find it. Use search engines, blog search engines and the social mediums to bring visitors into your blog.

Search engines – Make sure your blog is optimized for search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN…), that way you have a good chance of getting traffic from them. There are many online documents that give step by step instructions on how you can optimize your blog.

Blog search engines – ping the blog search engines through services like Ping-o-matic and Pingoat. That way when you post a new entry people can find it through blog search engines such as Technorati and IceRocket.

Social mediums – Get your content out on sites like digg or del.icio.us. If can manage to get on the digg homepage or on del.icio.us popular you will get thousands of new visitors coming to your website within minutes.

Uniqueness

Try to differentiate yourself from your competition. Standing out is not always a bad thing, if your blog stands out from the crowd it will draw more attention and potentially make it more popular. You might be able to do this through tools, videos or even through your content; whatever it may be just try to stand out from everyone else in a good and unique way.

Readers

The most important thing that a blogger can do is listen to his/her readers. It is not all about you, it is all about the reader. You can have a great blog, but if you ignore your readers sooner or later they will ignore you and even stop reading your blog. So don’t leave your readers stranded, make sure you listen and respond to them. You don’t always have to do what they want, but you have to listen.

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