Ten Characteristics of a Great Blog
Gone are the days where you can just throw up a plain blog and expect to make tons of money. I’m not sure how anyone ever did that in the first place but, with the expansion of the internet, users are becoming much more internet savvy. They know about junk blogs that just clog up the internet and offer no real information, just pushing another silly affiliate product. In order to compete in the world of blogs, you must concentrate your efforts and work to make a real nice blog that people can trust, hold people’s interest, and eventually buy from you or click on your ads.
1) Have a logo. This might be a little difficult to make if you have no experience so, you might want to hire someone on a place like elance.com or ask a friend (that’s what I did), to help you come up with a small logo to identify your blog’s name. It doesn’t have to be terribly fancy but, having a logo is a sure sign to others that you are serious.
2) Customize your domain name. This is pretty obvious and is one of the cardinal rules for maintaining a website. Having a domain name that has your blog name is a simple SEO or search engine optimization tactic. It gives you the appearance of authority and professionalism as well.
3) Contact information. Even if you have a contact form, have an email address listed. This is important because you want to give people a way to contact you. You can even post it in a way that will help reduce any spam, from bots collecting emails.Mywebite @ awesome (dot) com
4) Do not be afraid to use color, pictures, and videos. This one you need to find some balance. You do not want your page overloaded with too many things to upload since people with a slow connection (which there are still MANY), will get frustrated and leave but, you also do not want it so plain that it gives the appearance you do not put any effort into your site. There is a balance and you can easily find this by adding only one picture or one video to each post, and keep that your maximum amount. If you need several pictures for one post, try to avoid using any more for a few of the following posts.
5) Stories. You should have a niche but, truth be told; there is nothing wrong with throwing in a few personal stories here and there. A blog is all about interacting with people. Let’s say you have a blog that is all about fishing. Do not be afraid to have a post where you talk about a restaurant you went to, or maybe something else that interests you like a movie you recently saw. People want to know about you as well. Try and throw in some humor. This is what makes you real and with the internet being so impersonal at times; it’s nice to see people open up. Just make sure you are professional. Do not bad mouth people, unless that is your niche. People want to see you open up but use common sense. Do not bash your mother-in-law or talk about your 10 year old that still wets the bed. Keep it polite and friendly.
6) Quality content. If your blog is about personal growth, do not just do a review of a Clickbank product you never tried and offer no advise or information, other than generalized things like, “Oh, this worked and made me feel happy.” You do not even have to refer to the product, other than placing a link for those that are interested in more information. Your posts should be valuable to those reading. Really give away great information. After all, many of these things can all be found over the internet for free with some serious time and research. Make it easy on folks by doing that research for them and giving them solid information that can truly help them. By doing this, you are building trust and people will come back to your blog to read more and learn more.
7) Add gadgets to your blog. This is another one where you do not want to overdo it but, adding gadgets that allow for sharing your stories on various social networks are a must. Many gadgets are already built into your blog, depending on who you use, like Blogger. Add a search bar for you blog; add a link to your Paypal so people can make donations; add like buttons for Facebook and be sure your blog has its own page on Facebook; add a list of other blogs that you read so you can do link exchanges with others, and anything else that you feel would add the look of professionalism to your blog. Be creative but keep a balance. Ask yourself, “Is this a useful gadget?” If the answer is, “not really” get rid of it. Stick with gadgets that can help the average user, not distract them.
8) Check your stats and your comments. Which posts are people visiting the most? I have found that a few of my posts are constantly visited, even though I made them over a year ago. Go back and update them if you can. Give more information, or do anything you can to enhance them. You could also do another post that elaborates more on the original post. Give your audience what they want and they will surly be back for more. Make sure to respond to people. You can erase spam or anyone that wants to harass you but, keep up posts that offer critical criticism and take the advice if there is something valuable to what they are saying. Do not take it personal, just analyze yourself. Sometimes the harsh words of a stranger can actually help us if we take the time to listen to what they are criticizing. By making a solid effort to listen so that we can improve ourselves will increase the quality of our work. For instance, I had someone tell me to fix the font color I was using and I did it. They had a very valid point and I immediately thanked them for the advice. I saw the value in what they were telling me and I am very grateful they took the time to even give me that information. This runs into my next point…
9) Have a desire to learn and grow. As you gain readers and grow your blog, you must commit to learning more and more about what you are writing about. Never feel like you are a total know-it-all. You must commit to doing research and not just in your niche but, in the marketing world. The internet is constantly changing and new methods of reaching an audience are always around the corner. Have the flexibility to change and go with these trends. Change your blog if you have to. Maybe you should change the layout every few years, or the color. Change your logo after you become famous. Large businesses do this all the time. Be willing to grow as a person and a blogger!
10)Post your picture. People want to see YOU! Your audience wants to see who is writing to them. It’s only natural. This means you need something better than a webcam or phone photo. Those cameras are crappy and rarely offer quality photos. Borrow a camera, buy a camera, use a normal camera and have a drug store scan it on a CD so you can upload it. Do whatever you have to so you can have a nice, clear, quality picture on your site, under your profile page or “about me” page. It does not have to be professional (although preferred), just clear.
By incorporating these tips, you might not become famous overnight but, you will have a great blog that you can be proud to advertise and show off to all your friends and family. Finding traffic is another story but, traffic means nothing if people are just skipping over your site. Quality is the key to establishing yourself on the internet.