Newsflash; No-one is reading your blog. If people are in fact reading your blog then fine, go blog. If not, here are some thoughts for you…
And no, I don’t really think that literally no-one is reading your blog, I was just grabbing your attention with a punchy opening sentence. Which leads to my next point;
You are not just a writer. If you run your own blog, you are an Editor.
Say it to yourself. Say it like you mean it.
Now you’re an Editor, ask yourself the 5 W’s;
What am I writing about?
- Do I cover a single topic or a broad spectrum?
- Would my expertise be better suited to writing about a single topic?
- What am I passionate enough about to want to write everyday?
- What insight can I offer that no-one else can?
- Do I really know my subject well? If not, what can I do to become an expert?
Who am I writing for?
- Is this a niche blog for the masses? Or a mass blog for a niche?
- Are my audience will informed, or do you need to be taught?
- If they are well informed, too much info will be seen as talking down to them. If they aren’t, your blog won’t be understood and will be seen as snobbish.
- Do my readers want short, easily digested articles? Or longer in-depth pieces? Do they want a mix?
Where will I find readers?
- Is there a blog community I can join?
- Have I optimized my site for search engines so Google can find me?
- Do I use social media in a way that will attract readers to my blog?
- Have I got an account on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr?
- Do I need YouTube, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Instagram etc?
- Am I using my expertise on Quora to encourage people to visit my blog?
Why should people read my blog?
- Do I have a unique voice?
- Do I have insight that no-one else does?
- Am I funny? Academic? Boring?
- What do my competitors do better?
- Do I have a hook?
How does my blog appear to others?
- Do I have a clean, modern design?
- Do I have a well optimised search function?
- Check your facts.
- Check your spelling.
- Check your grammar.
Now you’ve got a good idea of who you are and who you’re writing for, learn as much as you can about how people read online (Hint: They don’t read - they scan).
Use Google Analytics to find out which are your most popular articles, and make sure you’re writing more of that type of article.
Read about how to optimize your usability - studies indicate that you should write for an 11-year old in order to appeal to everyone, be it a gossip blog or an academic medical research site. Seriously.
Readability and usability are key. Try breaking your blog posts up into short, reader-friendly paragraphs of one or two sentences each. Look up this page, and at the rest of my articles. Short paragraphs of two-to-three lines each.
Make Jakob Nielson’s UseIt website a bookmark and read the shit out of it. Nielson is the authority on web usability. His site looks crappy, but he knows his pork from his beans.
While you’re there, read the Top 10 Mistakes In Web Design, and don’t fucking do them.
After you’ve done all this remember that the best bloggers aren’t necessarily the best writers. Most of the time the best bloggers are the best self promoters, the ones who understand how to capture the zeitgeist and have a unique voice.
Finally; keep writing. The best writers aren’t born, they’re made. You need to work at it, every day.
Happy editing, writers. Feel free to send me a link to your blog, you can certainly count me as a fan. :)