Let’s face it-most of the blogs out there are just filled with crap posts. You know what I am talking about.
These are posts that just recycle stuff that was recycled by another person. In essence, most of the blogosphere is really an endless chain of bloggers regurgitating each other’s feces. I do not mean to sound sick or graphic, but there is really no other way to say it. It is all about just an endless cycle of recycling the same stuff over and over again.
While it helps the big bloggers because a certain trend or meme is established and propagated, it really does not help the smaller bloggers because they do not rise up from the cesspool of what is essentially copied blog post. If you want to become a successful blogger, you have to have an identity that sets you apart from your competition. Everyday thousands and thousands of people join the existing army of bloggers out there.
Guess what? 90% of them will fail after a few months. That is just the reality. There is such a high burn rate. At the same time, the internet is left littered with the carcasses of failed blogs that just regurgitated the same style, the same content and the same attitude as the other blogs that came before them and that will come after them. There has to be a better way and you, my friend, have to be part of this movement for better blogging.
Here are the five key elements of better blogging. Warning: They are not revolutionary. They are not earth shattering. Unlike Obama‘s speeches, they are not going to cool the earth. What they are going to do is set a better standard for blogging. Frankly, there is just too much crap content out there and you should be part of the solution to stopping the race to the bottom in terms of blog quality. Here is what you can do to help.
Write to be Read
Many bloggers think that if you just vomit a huge block of text on to a page, people would actually sit down and read it. Wrong! Thanks to the internet rightly or wrongly, many people have short attention spans. If I am going to look at a blog post and I cannot make heads or tails of it within the first three seconds, I am going to click the back button and close the window. I am hardly alone. If you look at your blog’s statistics at Google Analytics, you would see a criterion called bounce rate.
Guess what? Bounce rate is increasing because more and more people are exhibiting extreme impatience with badly formatted pages. The takeaway to this is chop up your blog post so that they are easy to read. Just the same way you would not gulp down a Big Mac with one bite, you cannot digest a blog post if it is in just one block.
The next factor for writing to be read is you need to put graphical cues in your blog post so that it is easier for people to get an experience from what you are writing.
Pictures, videos and infographics do the trick–anything that would allow the eye to relate what you have just read to the larger concept that you are trying to communicate, then go back to the rest of your text and then feed it back to the concept and so on and so forth. This happens very quickly and you have to guide the reader through the process with the right graphical cues. You do not do this when you just drop a huge block of text.
Finally, write as little as possible. Shorter posts are more effective. Blogs originally were just online diaries. They are very topical and one post normally just focuses on one subject matter. Try to stick closely to that original concept and you will get more readers and more loyal readers at that.
Personalize Your Content
Many bloggers are lazy. Their concept of personalization is they just need to put up their picture next to their blog post and that is that. No, it is not that simple. Personalization means imparting your personality. Emphasize the personal in the word personalization. Your blog post must not sound just like everybody else’s blog post.
If your post read this way, then guess what? You are part of the 99.9% of the faceless mask of bloggers out there jockeying to get a few cents of AdSense click. It is not exactly a nice position to be in. Emphasize your personality. If you think something is crappy or something is awesome, say so. Do not be afraid to let your personality shine out. That is the key to personalization.
Link, Link, Link
Many bloggers are very stingy about linking to their sources or linking to authority sites or linking even to themselves. This is just plain stupid. Blogs do not exist in a vacuum. Your blog is not an island. Your blog by necessity must be connected to the rest of the internet.
Act accordingly. If you are disagreeing with another blogger, link to their post and quote the part that you disagree with. If you disagree with an online newspaper, link to the article and then proceed to demolish them in your blog. You lose nothing when you are linking out. Sure, this might be blasphemy to some SEO practitioners out there, but guess what? Search engines look at your blog as part of a context.
If you do not link out to anybody or to anybody authoritative, your chances of being sent to the basement of Google‘s traffic would be higher than if your blog looks like a real blog, which is you link out frequently and you link out to create authority. Actually linking out also brings you to the attention of influential people in your niche. It gives them a reason to visit your website and see what you have to talk about. You cannot do this if you do not link out. Therefore, link liberally.
Also link to yourself a lot. If you are referring to earlier positions that you have made or earlier statements, link to yourself. Do not be too shy about referring to past posts. This actually helps your website become stickier because it gives your post’s reader an opportunity to read more posts. Do not waste that opportunity.
Talk to the Big Boys
Many smaller bloggers restrict the growth of their blog and really retard their blog’s ability to gain any sort of credibility or authority by refusing to engage the big dogs in their content category. If you are writing about SEO and there are many acknowledged experts and opinion leaders in the SEO industry, your blog should be following what they have to say and critiquing or analyzing what they have to say.
Establish, at least in the minds of your readers, that you are aware of the big dogs and you are trying to run with the pack. Birds of a feather do flock together. While the big guys may not want you around, if you continuously hound them, eventually you will establish in the minds of your readers that you are part of that pack. More importantly if you do this enough times, many of the big guys would acknowledge you back and there would be some sort of relationship.
Remember that just because they are bigger than you, richer than you and more influential than you, does not mean that you cannot benefit from them. In fact, by carefully studying the leaders in your particular field, you can reverse engineer some of their success by continuously engaging their ideas, if not, engaging them personally in a conversation on your blog.
Essentially what you are doing is you are building on top of what they have achieved. Do not reinvent the wheel. Whatever you are trying to achieve in your blog has been done before by a category leader. Find that leader and build on his work. You are not reaping him off, you are improving upon it. There is a big difference.
Blogging is not for the timid. If you plan to be a sheep, welcome to the blog. Most bloggers are faceless mushy, undifferentiated mass of people from one end of the world to the other. There is really nothing differentiating the majority of bloggers. If you look at the guys and gals who manage to become blogging leaders, they have a distinct personality, they have a distinct style and their blog communicates this loud and clear.
You should do the same. It is not just a question of letting your personality shine out. It is a question of being crazy, doing the opposite of conventional wisdom. Conventional wisdom will get you nowhere because it all involves conformity. There is a way to be accurate, to speak the truth, to express factual information, but in a way that grabs the eyeballs of your blog post readers shakes them up and slaps them around.
That is what you need to do because in this highly competitive blogging world, the last thing it needs is yet another “me too” blogger. If you are going to talk like everybody else, look like everybody else and act like everybody else, it is a probably a better idea if you do not even start blogging. If you want to succeed, if you want to put your mark on the blogging world, not only do you have to be yourself, but be your craziest self and just have fun.
The Bottom Line
Follow these standards and be part of the movement to create a better blogosphere. If you are writing and your blogging style does not incorporate any of these tips, then you are part of the problem. You should be flushed down the digital toilet.
This guest post was written by Chris Walker, a leading blogger on SEO/SEM, online marketing, and social media marketing. Read more of his posts at http://www.marketingcopyexpert.com/journal