OK… So you’ve started a blog.
What do you plan to do with it?
Have any goals? Got a purpose? Got a direction?
Alright, let’s backtrack a little bit…
Blogging entered the online world about a decade or so ago, when people discovered that they can effectively and even anonymously write just about anything they want to on their very own web pages.
Since then, blogging has kaboomed into becoming the online community’s P.Y.T., as in pretty young thing. It was thriving before SEO and social media saw the light of dawn, and still continues to generate a lot of content, buzz and debate even today.
Even more in fact, if we’re being honest. Blogging is simply exploding in popularity.
People have been trying to dodge the truth of the power of blogging for awhile now, but c’mon… they can’t do that forever. Gone are the days when a blog was just a personal diary.
And really, how many blogs are out there? They go well into the millions, and about 40,000 more crop up every day like a bunch of mushrooms in a cow field full of… well… you know.
But the real question is…
How many real, well-maintained blogs are actually in operation?
Chocolate for the one who guesses right!
Yep, you got it.
Those millions I mentioned before quite suddenly shrink down to a couple hundred thousand, if that. It’s so easy to set up and start a blog, but the hard truth is that keeping it going is a different matter altogether.
So let’s talk about your blog now.
You have a nice eye-catching layout, a snazzy blog name, and uber cool looking banners in your sidebars. All of that is great.
But that little area where content is supposed to sparkle and shine? I’m seeing nothing but a gaping hole of jack sh*t because “oopsie”… someone bit off more than they could chew and didn’t have a battle plan in place. They decided it’d just be ‘cool’ to have a blog, but had no idea what they might actually do with it. Nor did they realize the kind of work maintaining a blog actually entails.
People… setting up a blog without a purpose dumb. And setting up a blog without a plan on how to maintain it is even dumber. You can’t simply set up a blog, populate it with a few sentences, and then cross your fingers hoping that someone will find your skimpy content interesting to read.
If you’re blogging to compliment your business or even blogging as a platform for your business… lots of fresh and relevant content is vital to the health and success of your blog. Skimpy and/or gaping holes of nothing simply will not do, despite how pretty the frame is.
While I am the first to admit I’m relatively new to the world of blogging, especially when some folks I know have been around since blogging’s inception… I’m smart enough to recognize that there are blogs, and then… there are blogs.
You catch my drift?
And the one common theme of all of those blogs is that content is the featured dish. Blogging is not a bunch of magic tricks or smoke and mirrors. Pretty don’t make a good blog. Neither does cool.
Hard work makes a good blog. And the only trick you can count on to help you stay alive in this seething mass of blogging frenzy is fresh, relevant, killer content your readers can go ga-ga over.
With that said, I’ve put together three simple ‘rules of the road’ if you’re considering jumping into the blogging pool with the rest of the little swimmers. This is a list that reminds me every now and then what I should be doing every time I feel like goofing off instead of posting new content to my site.
Mayhap it will work for you too.
Then again… mayhap it won’t. All depends on why you really started your blog in the first place.
Rule number 1: Decide on what you want to write about, and stick to it.
Digressing halfway into a story is good if you have the time and the venue for it, but your blog is just the wrong place to wander off topic and take the scenic route (at least don’t wander too far off topic at any rate).
The online community is made up mostly of busy, on-the-go types, who want their value right now… and they don’t usually have time to listen to you rant about the barista giving you the wrong cup of coffee earlier this morning. Unless of course it relates somehow to the amazing dose of value you’re about to serve up to them.
Digressions are excellent if they make your point clearer, but if they only serve to muck things up, then hot damn, get to the point already. For many folks, it can be quite irritating to read a 3,000-word tome that wanders all over the place, when all the relevant parts could have been shrunk to only a thousand words. People don’t like to have their time wasted. I know I sure don’t… how about you?
If you’re blogging for your business, sandwiching your real content with irrelevant or repetitive stuff will only distract your site visitors and eventually turn them away.
Rule number 2: Blog, blog and blog some more.
A serious blogger is one who updates his site regularly with good quality content. Now that doesn’t mean you have to post 7 days a week. But it does mean pick a fairly regular posting schedule, and stick to it as much as humanly possible.
I know you have your hands full with running your business on your own, but you simply have to find time to come up with new things to say on a regular basis. Either that or consider hiring a ghost or bringing on contributors.
If your last post is at least a week old, then you haven’t been paying as much attention to it as you should. Brainstorm ahead of time for new topics if you’re the type (like me) who doesn’t write well without a solid idea of what your fingers will do when they land on the keyboard.
Your blog is like TV, sort of. People like to have the TV on when they have breakfast so they’ll be in the know once they get to the office. Well, your blog visitors also love to be in on the latest and juiciest things about your niche or the online world in general, so give them something to smile about every time they visit your site.
Take it easy, though—your blog shouldn’t be your personal pitch page… it should be primarily about your readers. It’s a way for you to connect with your customers and clients (or as Abby likes to say “Your right people”) and update them on the latest happenings in your business and niche. It’s also one of the best ways to reach out to the bigger brotherhood of online fanatics like you, reach new people, and let them know about you and your brand.
Rule number 3: Turn your content into something that will really get people coming back for more.
Like I said, there are new blogs popping up all over the place. Some good, some not so good. And there are a good number of people out there who are turning their blogs into something akin to a major publication.
They’re spewing out content into the digital world at a mind boggling rate. Text, videos, photos and more abound in the online world in numbers reaching the hundreds of thousands every day. We’re humans after all, and we pretty much have the market on churning out ideas cornered. (At least last I checked!)
And it’s not even your real problem here. Your problem is to make sure that your content turns heads and makes people do double-takes after landing on your site. Your problem is making sure that the content you provide readers is so insanely useful, entertaining, or informative… they simply won’t want to go anywhere else to get it.
How you do this is entirely up to you. It’s no easy task, I know, but it doesn’t take a Hercules to accomplish it either.
Again, you have to focus on your niche and think about what you want to say in it. Plan your blogging strategy, and be passionate about what you’re sharing. Delineate what makes you cooler than school, head and shoulders above the other guy. And then?
Start writing already, because in the blogging realm… awesome content is what makes the world go round. ‘Nuff said.
image credits: the road, lights