Matt’s 20 Tips for Better Blogging

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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.

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