Many writing friends are interested in starting a blog, or maintaining one, and aren’t sure how to go about this. I read people’s blogs. Many, many blogs. I subscribe to very few, most of them being my friends’ blogs. But I will also follow blogs I find interesting. Here I will relay what, in my opinion, makes a great blog.
1) It has pictures. For some reason, it makes the blog less intimidating when blocks of wording are broken up by illustrations or photos. You’d think I’d incorporate this into my own blogs…hm. I do with some, but not others. If you don’t know how to add pictures to your blog, do the research on it. It’s a little tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, it will be like falling off a bike. Yes, that easy.
2.) There is accurate, relevant information pertaining to the subject matter in which I’m interested. In my case, I love reading about authors/agents/editors, writing craft advice, new technology that can improve my writing career, and information on current trends with books and articles. For example, if someone has a column on writing contests, I will bookmark that blog site, or join it. Which leads me to my next point.
3) Post regularly. Some people post every week, others more often. In all honestly, I only read blogs sporadically, so I don’t care if you post every three months. But from what I’ve been reading regarding blogging tips is that posting on a regular basis can drive more traffic to your site. One of my blogs has nearly 8,000 hits, and I blog semi-regularly. But that’s because it has hard-to-find information on several topics. All food related. But if I posted more often, I’d probably have double, or even triple, that amount. Keep that in mind.
4) Some people have personal blogs that are more like a diary than information about a topic. That’s fine. Just know that unless you are living an extremely interesting life (mob wife, anyone?) people won’t be that drawn to it. The sad truth is that no one is as interested in you than you are. Although if you’re another David Sedaris and can write humorous essays about your life, then you may find a large audience. And perhaps a book deal. My point is, feel free to write whatever you like, but realize that the blogs with a larger following often have information that helps the reader understand something better, or provides loads of information on a specific subject.
5) Good writing is essential. I cannot stand when a writer consistently messes up tenses, doesn’t know the difference between their/there/they’re, can’t spell (even when spell-check is available). I’m not alone. If grammar is not a strong suit, have someone else with this skill look it over for you before you publish your post.
6) Use tags to help people find your blog. The tags I will use on this are: writing advice, blogging advice, and personal blog.
7) Include a bio of some sort. Even if you want to remain anonymous. Why? Because it introduces your background, gives insight on the type of blog you’re writing, and provides credibility. Make it short and to the point. Too long and you’ll lose your reader.
8) Know the audience for whom you’re writing. If the blog is for teens, you need to relate to a teen audience from their viewpoint. If you’re a fifty-year-old man and you reach out like a fifty-year-old man, you are going to lose your teen audience. (I am not talking pedophiles here, folks. I’m talking about someone who writes teen novels and wants his fans to read his blog so he can sell more books. Had to get that straight.)
9) Most importantly, you want to engage the reader. This means using lively verbs, doing away with passive sentences, avoiding lengthy explanations, and only posting your best, most fascinating stories/essays/articles.
10) Last, but not least, make sure you tell your friends you have a blog. Make sure there is a place for people to comment on your posts, and check back frequently to respond to people’s comments. I cannot stress this enough. People like interaction. They want you to know they read your blog, and in turn, that you read their comment.
So there is my advice for blogging. If you have any other advice, feel free to add it in my comments section. 😉