Matt’s 20 Tips for Better Blogging

1 – Put the most important information at the top. People want to see what is new right away. Make sure the recent posts and comments lists are in an area visible when the page loads.

2- Blog with search engines in mind. Most important – your title. Next important – the first three lines (as that is about how much people can see in google’s preview in a search). Use key phrases and words most likely to be used in searching for what you are writing about. Avoid superfluous wording.

3 – Don’t say in 50 words what you can say in 10. Keep sentences short and to the point. People don’t want to read ramblings. They want to feel like what they are reading is taking them somewhere – to a conclusion, to an “aha,” or to find out what happens in your story. Lead them there. Don’t let them down!

4 – Proof read your post. Nothing is a bigger turn off than a bunch of misspelled words and poor grammar. I would explain this more but I would be in violation of Rule 2.

5 – Use humor. Humor doesn’t just come through telling jokes, it comes from just being you and letting what happens happen.

6 – Link to provide answers. If there is something in your post that will probably raise a lot of questions or generate interest people appreciate it if you link those key words or phrases to something that explains them or answers those questions without that person having to scour the internet for answers. Let’s reword that according to Rule 3 – If your post raises questions or generates interest in something outside your blog link to it. You have already done the thinking and research, put it out there.donnydillon.jpg

7 – Use pictures. 10,000 words in times new roman don’t catch the eye as fast as a picture or at least text formatting that organizes your post. Use headings when you change the topic, bullet lists stand out more than using a sentence full of commas. Use italics for certain things and be consistent. This blog, being religious in nature, uses italics for scripture and block quote large portions of scripture (that is done through the Code view in wordpress). Don’t throw in superfluous and unrelated pictures like the one to the right, unless your post is actually about Donny Dillon throwing a football at Gator Statdium!

8 – Don’t use a calendar showing when you posted. “Oh, but someone may want to know if they missed a post from four days ago!” If they know your blog that well then they are spending way too much time there…Remove that calendar widget.

9 – Provide a search engine for your content.

10 – Make subscribing easy by providing subscription buttons.

11 – Let people get to know you.

  1. Content
  2. Blogroll/links – people will see common interests
  3. About page – provide a way for people to email you
  4. Organization of the page. If you are typically a disorganized person…is it such a bad thing that your blog shows it? It can be a plus if your ADD comes through in your posts as long as there is a little humor in it. Letting tourette’s come through from repeating certain words or phrases may not work as well though.

12 – Use categories and tags. Search engines, technorati, wordpress, and other means of searching utilize these and people use them all the time to find new content. This is one of the best way to generate new readers. Use tags liberally. Use tags that are specific. Use tags that are popular when they fit- look at WordPress to see which ones are most used.

13 – Have a theme and mention it regularly. Branding is important. If I say my blog is about holiness and Christian spiritual transformation, people better see it. If I call it Kingdom Living I need to relate some posts back to that theme. Remind people where they are.

14 – Post regularly. People ignore you if they come by three of four times and nothing has changed. Also, people with feed readers will see that things are regularly updated, increasing your traffic. The more content you put up the more likely your blog will get traffic from search engines and email subscriptions.

15 – Promote dialogue over monologue. Ask for input in your posts [preacherman is king of this]. Contribute to the comments. Thank those who generate more conversation. People want to feel like they are being listened to, who better to respond than the author of the blog?

16 – Blog about what you know. It is good if people see your blog as a resource on something in particular, even if it is just your sharp wit and charming personality. Stick with what you know and do it better than anyone else. The most popular blogs on the web are those that stick to certain areas and do them better than anyone else.

17 – Use wordpress. WordPress makes it a lot easier to generate traffic than blogger because it is much better interconnected with other users than blogger is.

18 – Use a host rather than the .wordpress.com free blog. I am still working on that!

19 – Commenter or Publisher? There are few people who are great at commenting on a variety of blogs and posting quality information on a regular basis at their site. There are some exceptions to that. Decide if you are better at responding to what others have written or generating your own content and spend most of your time on the one you are better at. I started off trying to read what everyone else was saying and commenting when I had input. I do that when I can but I have learned that I am better at providing content and don’t stress out about leaving as many comments other places.

20 – Keep humble. Don’t get too proud when your traffic goes up. Keep a humble spirit and treat all people with respect. Keep dissenting opinions out there among your comments but don’t be afraid to delete those that are not in good taste for your readers or are disrespectful – if they get mad about a deleted inappropriate comment, chances are it is better they don’t stick around anyway.

0 Responses to Matt’s 20 Tips for Better Blogging

  1. pvchina says:

    Hola from Vallarta

    I am a Realtor working in Puerto Vallarta Mexico, and very new to computers, have just made a blog and inserted pictures but not sure how to ad my email and how to get more people reading my blog. Anything you can suggest would be a great help to me. Thank you. Ps my blog is pvchina.wordpress.com please tell me what I need to improve it. signed still learning.

  2. Ann says:

    I am new to blogging, could you tell me how I can find the most popular blogs? I am looking specifically for ones that deal with nutrition, weight loss, and fitness. Thanks!

  3. Mela says:

    I have created many blogs from several blog engines but not one ever succeeded. Looking forward on how I can get more traffic on my blog. Thanks!

  4. mattdabbs says:

    pv,

    I will stop by and see if I can help out any.

    Ann,

    There are a couple of ways to find out which blogs are most popular.

    1 – your wordpress dashboard tells you on the left side which are the biggest and fastest growing blogs and blog posts.
    2 – Techorati’s popular blogs page

    3 – Sitemeter’s popular blog list
    Look on the lefthand side of the page. This is a list of pages that use sitemeter to track stats of blogs that get the most hits.

    Mela,

    The first thing I would suggest is to start with a wordpress blog. When you comment make sure to include your name, email, and link to your blog when you type a comment. A lot of traffic comes from people reading your comment and wanting to read more from you.

    Go to blogs similar to yours and comment where you can, ask questions, give input, etc. Also make sure to use tags/categories because there is a way to search those in wordpress and many, many people use that.

    What is your blog address?

  5. Donna says:

    Wow…mostly I just do mine to keep up with myself. I guess I should give it more thought!

    You are great at the multiple posting!!

  6. Philip says:

    21 – Blogger rules, and wordpress drools!

    I feel like you betrayed us, man. This should be called the Benedict Arnold blog.

    Anyway, good post. I don’t feel like a lot of those rules apply to me, though. I’m not out to increase my “market share.” My blog is for personal gratification, and if others find my words fulfilling for whatever reason, bonus!

    Still, I like the subscription buttons thing. They feel like scout badges or something! 😉 And I LOVE Bloglines! Thanks for recommending that. It makes it SO easy to keep up with blogs.

  7. johndobbs says:

    I had a question about #18 … but no time tonight to go see what little bit of information that tickled…

    Good points … although these days I feel lucky to get a post up … still…I think they’re all great points.

  8. […] Matt’s 20 Tips for Better Blogging. […]

  9. Trey says:

    For me #3 is important. If you write an extremely long post I skip it. Don’t have time for books.

  10. cbgrace says:

    I would like to add…if you are writing a blog aboug a current event or even a past event, include detailed information or a link to an article. If I read two or three sentences of a blog and don’t have a clue I skip it.

    Also, if you want to improve hits to your blog, be sure to add plenty of tags when you write it. I several hits a day as a result of the tags I add.

    Also, THANKS! Great post.

  11. Mark says:

    Eventually, I keep thinking I’m going to have to change to wordpress. I’ve registered with them, but I’ve just not been able to figure out the control panel stuff. Blogger is just so comfortable…

    Helpful post, by the way!

  12. Jeremy says:

    Hey Matt,
    On the same topic, this site may help: http://www.problogger.net/

  13. leeh says:

    Great thougts Matt. Thanks!

  14. mattdabbs says:

    Jeremy,

    Thanks for the link! That looks like a helpful site.

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