Blogging is awesome. In addition to writing and curating this blog, I am a voracious reader of blogs. During my time as a bona fide blogger, I’ve learned a few lessons about the types of things that can catapult a blog from being one-of-many to truly awesome. Here are my top 7 tips for giving your already-sweet blog a bit of extra va-va-voom.
1. Make it easy on the eye
No doubt you’re spending a lot of time creating some awesome content. It would be such a shame if your readers can’t appreciate that content because you’ve chosen a font or background that renders it unreadable. My pet peeves for blog layouts and formats include: light-coloured text on a dark background, over-elaborate backgrounds, hand-written fonts and the over-use of gifs. All of these things confuse my eyes and force me to make the choice between reading on or succumbing to a migraine. A clean, simple background and a basic font really are best. They might not look as pretty as some of the fancy formats available, but they’ll make it a lot easier for your readers to enjoy your writing.
2. Don’t post filler content
When a blogger is writing about something they don’t really care about, it shows. If you’re not in the mood to write and you’re forcing yourself to put together a post because you think you ‘should’, you aren’t going to produce engaging content. Likewise, if you’re writing about something that doesn’t really interest you, your post is going to appear lacklustre. One of the best things about blogging is that you get to dictate how often you blog, and what you blog about. Don’t force yourself to write if you aren’t in the mood, and keep your posts relevant to your interests and the message of your blog. Aim to make every post awesome and interesting for your readers.
3. Reply to your comments
I try to reply to every comment that is left on my blog. Not only does this foster a sense of community, it’s just common courtesy. If someone has taken the time to read what I’ve written, and leave a comment, I want to show my gratitude to them. It only takes a few moments, and your reply doesn’t have to be sophisticated or witty. If you can’t think of anything else to write, just thank the commenter for reading and wish them a great day. As an added bonus, if your readers realise that their comments will always receive a reply, they’re more likely to visit again to check what you’ve written to them.
4. Post often, but not too often.
While you should aim to keep your posts regular and consistent, there is such a thing as over-posting. You don’t want to flood your readers’ RSS feeds with posts. Your posting schedule will be dictated on the topics you write about, the typical length and depth of your posts and your personal schedule. For example, if you typically write very long, weighty posts, you might want to limit posting to two or three times a week. If you tend to post light, breezy posts you could probably get away with a post each day. I try to post five days a week, and I vary the type and length of my posts. Don’t weigh your readers down with too much content. You want to tantalise them, giving them regular content that they’ll devour and enjoy. You don’t want them to be rolling their eyes when yet another of your posts hits their Bloglovin’ feed. Also, too-frequent blogging can seriously sap your creativity and lead you to burn out. And we don’t want that.
5. Check for dead links
If you’re anything like me, you like to give your readers a bit of extra-credit material. It’s great to provide your readers with links to articles they might find interesting, or sites that you think they’d like. However, it’s really annoying when you click on one of those links and it takes you to no-man’s-land. Regularly check that the links on your blogroll and any in-text links are working, so that your readers can get the most out of your content.
6. Open a window.
Consider this scenario: you’re provided an awesome in-text link for your readers. When they click on the link, it takes them to a store that’s filled with wondrous items. They have a gay old time browsing, and when they’re done they realise that they hadn’t finished reading your post. Rather than hit the “Back” button a million times to return to your site, they give it up as a lost cause. Any time you direct readers away from your site, you want them to be able to find their way back again quickly and easily. To do this, set all of your links to open in a new tab or window. That way, your readers can still explore new sites and posts, without straying too far.
7. Keep it real
All of my favourite blogs are bursting with personality. That’s because they are written by fantastic people who pour a decent dose of themselves into their writing. Putting your own personality into your blog will really help to hook your readers, and make your site stand out. There are plenty of ways to do this, such as using your own photographs, vlogging, writing about your own experiences and using your own voice when you write. Let yourself shine through in your writing, and your readers are more likely to feel engaged and interested in what you have to say.
Do you have any tips for better blogging? I’d love to hear them, so leave a comment with anything you think I’ve left out.