Bloggers know how important search engine optimisation (SEO) is, and we’re always concerned about our stats. Nobody’s blaming you –seeing that three more people have visited your post on the 400 types of cigarette ash is enough to give anyone a giddy thrill – but there’s one thing more important than hits: your readers’ enjoyment.
The great thing is: hits and enjoyment go hand-in-hand. If your audience is engaged, they will come back. They might even recommend you to mates, tweet you or put you on their own blogroll.
As Homer Simpson once said, all he cares about is “M – E; My Enjoyment.”
Here’s what you can do to make your blog the best it can be.
What are you on about?
Tell us what you’re talking about, as fast as you can.
Readers want to know what, when, where, why and how. It’s what journalists do (supposedly) when writing news stories, but that directness can be applied to many forms of writing. Web copy is quickly skimmed over – with some claiming only 50% is read – so make it count.
Images et al.
Break your text up using as many mediums as you like. Images, videos, links, audios, semaphore: split your piece up to make it more aesthetically appealing. If you’re not happy using video or audio, that’s fair enough. But use images. Please. Use. Images.
A blog without pictures is a desolate landscape; one only the brave will tread.
Be the one-stop shop. Provide everything for the reader to digest in a clear, concise way and they won’t need to search around for further information.
What can you add?
There’s nothing wrong with staying topical, and reporting the news, but if you can add something to it, that’s even better. It doesn’t have to be much; just a brief opinion, or opening up a debate. Encourage comments, and pose rhetorical questions.
Entertain and inform your reader. Think about what he/she can take from your post.
Let your voice be heard
Consistency is great. Readers will come back if they know what to expect. Throwing a curveball is all well and good, but keep your distinct voice. Let people know who you are, what you believe in and be proud of it.
You don’t have to cause a riot, and you don’t have to shoehorn in Only Fools and Horses jokes. But having wit laced through your blog can really help you engage with your audience. You may know someone with no sense of humour, but they’re not typical – and I’m pretty sure they have a quick giggle to themselves when someone walks into a door.
You know what you’re talking about. So don’t say stuff like ‘I suppose’ unless it’s for a particular purpose. Walk with your head held high, and people will trust you’re an authority.
A wise man once said that experts are just people who know a centimetre more about something than you. So become an expert.
Grammar and punctuation
Grammar and punctuation is important. Get something wrong and it’ll undermine that confidence I just talked about. Because if you use the wrong variation of ‘there’/’their’… what else are you wrong about?
Don’t rattle on and on and on. Get to the point; say what you want to say, and get out as soon as possible.
Nobody has a big attention span on the interweb, and that’s the reason why so many posts are short (excluding this one).
There’s a link…
You might notice that nearly all of the above is just good journalism. And that’s the key to being a great blogger; be a great writer.
Sure, some blogs are terribly written – with bad grammar, punctuation and voice – but they know what they’re doing: delivering what their readers want. And surely that’s the true sign of a good writer?