This is the final installment of the “Better Blogger” series. I hope you enjoyed this 101 step journey with me. Scroll to the bottom of this post for links to all of the previous articles in this series. Any feedback is greatly appreciated!
82. Learn to write great headlines. Writing good great headlines can be challenging, especially when you want to get the best keywords into the headline! Some writers suggest just filling your headline with keywords, while others suggest to write a headline which accurately describes what your article is about. My suggestion is to practice writing great headlines – and over time, great headlines will be easier and easier to write, so you won’t have to stress so much about grabbing a reader’s attention AND getting search engine traffic! I write my headlines with keywords and readability in mind – so try that technique, and see how it works for you!
83. Make your articles scannable. “People don’t read on the Internet. They scan.” — Hmmm. This is an interesting concept. While I think that many times we do scan online articles, if the headlines (see #82) and content is quality, we will stop and read the entire article! I have dozens of “Starred” items in my Google Reader, ready for me to have time to read them thoroughly.Scannable articles do make it more likely that someone will stop and say, “Hey, I really do need to read this!” And of course, the better the content (i.e. edited well, focused on one topic, etc.) the more likely the reader will return to read yet another article of yours!
84. Use numbers in your titles to attract attention. I don’t know if it is the organization that is implied by numbers or the measure we can draw from numbered lists that makes everyone love lists. However, take a look at Digg’s or Technorati’s top articles – and many, if not most of them – will have numbered lists!
85. Vary your content. Be unique. Create a quiz. Interview a fellow blogger. Poll your readers. Review a book. Shake it up a bit to keep your readers interested. Don’t go overboard with “mixing it up”! Keep your readers interested with various article styles and types. For example, include a poll in a post – ask for your readers’ opinions on a matter! Review another blog that is similar, or create a link roundup post. Keep your readers coming back because they know you’ll have fresh and interesting content every time!
86. Edit your writing ruthlessly. Since I’ve been freelance writing, I have been able to pick up on some of my most annoying writing habits, and work to eliminate those habits. Do not hesitate to ask someone else to edit your articles for you – maybe you can trade article editing with another blogger – and get free feedback – and give free feedback, too!
87. Write like you talk. This one is a favorite. You should write like you talk – trying to write like the Associated Press or another blogger will do you no good. Keep your writing fresh and unique by being YOURSELF! Your readers will appreciate it in the long run and it will be easier to continue writing if you stick with this tip!
88. Write with passion. It will come through in your writing. If you’ve been a reader for a while, you can probably guess that I love Google products and anything that makes my life easier. When I was writing posts about other things, like lamps, credit counseling and buying homes, it showed in the lack of passion and depth of my articles. Stick with what you know or what you are passionate about, and you will become a better blogger!
89. Say something worth reading. Giving your readers quality content goes a long way! The number of comments, visitors and feedback you get will increase, which will, in turn, convince you to keep writing quality content! Everyone wants positive feedback – and when blogging, it comes in the form of comments, visitors and emails!
90. Always write with your reader in mind. Imagine that you are chatting with them over lunch at a local cafe. Remember to KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid). When making how to posts, I try to break it down into the most basic directions ever, for the newbies to understand, and the more experienced to “get it” too. Remember that your blog might be seen by people of all age groups – and no matter your topic, it should be easy to understand by everyone.
91. Make your important points up front. We learned this in English or Composition classes – do not wait until the end of your article to make your point! State your goal and point up front, then write your article to support this thesis. If you wait too long to introduce your point, you will lose the reader, perhaps forever!
92. Include bullet point lists. Ah, lists again! Bullet point lists can provide:
- A way to focus the reader on your main points or objectives;
- Quickly organize your post into a scannable article;
- Or promote social bookmarking.
Feel comfortable with making bullet point lists, but do not go overboard. Too many bullet points and the reader will become distracted and frustrated.
93. Create a “top 10″ list. Top 10 Lists (or top 7, 44, 12 or 101, for that matter) focus the reader on a specific topic and list of information. You can make each number as long or as short as you want – but remember to be descriptive and informative. If you start with 100 items and want to whittle it down to 10, see how many similar themes are repeated throughout your list, and combine them. Take out those items that really do not fit, or will take you away from the very narrow theme you have. If you want to keep a longer list, think about using the technique found in this series – divide the list into separate sections, yet keeping an overarching theme.
94. Create a “How To” article. One of the trademarks of ultimate geek girl are the how to articles. Helping other people with a problem or finding a quick way to complete a task makes you, the blogger, feel good, and helps your reader form an impression of you as a “caring” blogger. Be sure to keep your explanations simple and to the point – and if you can, use screenshots to illustrate your points.
95. Create a weekly or monthly roundup of great posts from around the blogosphere. Tay at Superblogging has some great tips on how to make a “link roundup” post work for you. The value of these types of posts come from the quality of the articles you link to and the timeliness. Would you click on a link on this website about what I did for New Years’ Eve – and it is after the Fourth of July now?
96. Watch for trends in your industry. Many bloggers consider themselves to be in a “niche” – so take a look at what other blogs in the same topic area are writing about! You don’t want to copy a post word for word, but put your own spin on it. Think about other ways to look at issues than the party line that every other blogger is spewing. Watch the comments and visitors roll in once you publish a post that is along the same theme, but looks at the issue from another angle!
97. Read voraciously and bring your readers the golden nuggets of everything you learn. While you might not think romance novels give a technology blogger any blogging ideas, think again! A lot of my best ideas come from reading about romance and love. I learn new vocabulary, learn new ways to convey information and best of all, hone my story-telling skills! I also take the time to read dozens of blogs, and I walk away with plenty of opinions, feedback and ideas on how to and what to write. I often bring these back to my readers in the form of improved blog design, new features, and guest posts on other sites.
98. If you ever find yourself with writer’s block, check out 101 Great Posting Ideas. This tip piggy backs on #97. When I am feeling totally frustrated with blogging, or just can’t get my ideas onto the screen, I take a few minutes to surf the blogosphere and check out what everyone else is writing about, visit my “Starred” items in Google Reader, or my “Follow Up” folder in my bookmarks toolbar. After I feel refreshed, I can return to the computer and write another article. If I still can’t write, perhaps it is time to take a walk, do a little yoga or even take a nap!
99. Leave your readers hungry for more. Give them a quick preview of what you’ll be posting the next day. They are much more likely to come back if they are already excited about the next days post. Anticipation is one of the greatest marketing tactic. I cut back from posting every day, but everyone knows to expect posts on Monday and Wednesday. Occasionally I’ll post on a Friday or Sunday, but it really depends on how much other work I have to do! Keep your readers excited about reading or visiting your site by letting them know what you plan on writing about in the future or even telling them, “Hey, vote in this poll, whatever gets the top # of votes will be _____day’s topic!”
100. Have fun! Blogging doesn’t always have to be serious. Feel free to make your posts fun and entertaining. Use a variety of tactics to entertain yourself and your readers. Whether it is cool photos, smiley faces or colored text, make blogging fun! Write about a web app that has no “real” value or a book that you read just for fun!
101. If you’re still looking for blogging tips, then here are some great resources: ProBlogger, JohnChow, and Successful Blog. There are dozens of other great resources, but these three are a great place to start; check out the people who comment on these blogs – visit their sites and see who reads them, and so on, and so forth! Ask your readers for suggestions on “great blogs” and even use Google Reader’s Top Recommendations feature to get more blogging tips and ideas!
This post covers steps 82-101of 101 Steps to Becoming a Better Blogger.
Read more posts from this series:
- 101 Steps to Becoming a Better Blogger
- Use WordPress!: Step #1
- Sign up for Feedburner: Step #2
- Post at least once a day: Step #3
- Optimize your blog for SEO: Step #4
- Have an “About Me” page: Step #5
- 101 Steps: #6-8
- Blog and Ping – Step #9 in 101 Steps to Becoming a Better Blogger
- Submit your blog to RSS and blog directories: Step #10
- Trackbacks are important – Step #11
- Get involved in the blogosphere – Step #12
- Give your blog its own unique voice – Step #13
- Create unique, quality content – Step #14
- Add a large RSS button to your site
- Place an RSS feed link at the bottom of every post
- Install the MyBlogLog Widget
- Social Bookmarking – Step #18
- Better Blogger – Steps 19-31
- Create a custom blog design
- Add photos to each of your posts
- Use tagging in WordPress
- Tips to get more out of your WordPress blog
- Turn your blog posts into podcasts!
- Follow these 12 Steps and Get MORE Readers!
- Create a customized 404 page
- Keep Working at Becoming a Better Blogger!
- 11 Ways to Monetize Your Blog
- 19 Final Tips to Becoming a Better Blogger