Blogtastic – how to write good blogs

According to the latest figures from BlogPulse there are over 156 million public blogs in existence. So, how can you stand out from the crowd? This step-by-step guide will lead you through the process you can take to give you the edge, and help you to refine your technique. Here’s a good starting point:

  • The Spark. What grabs you – what do you have to say today?
  • Refine it to a specific concept. Again: what are the key points you want to get across. It’s too easy to be vague and meandering.
  • Think of the context. How timely will what you say be? What does it relate to in the news, or a trend on Twitter/Facebook, or just generally makes it relevant, interesting or worthwhile?
  • Be clear. How will you communicate it coherently and with most impact (getting across any unrefined enthusiasm)? It’s often the case that the best ideas are the ones that need the most refining.
  • Search. Look for quotes/articles to back you up and provide depth and richness to your piece. Copy and use the URL for hyperlink referencing, and consider bookmarking it for future reference or for an idea to be stored for later.
  • Plan (if you can). Make notes of some or all of the points you wish to cover in your blog. Even if it’s just a few scribbled notes on the cover of the newspaper you have with you on the train. Planning can save a lot of editing.
  • Write. Just go for it. If you’re following some sort of plan, and you’ve already bagged your quotes and URL references you’re well on the way. Aim for a catchy opening – that’s essential. Don’t forget paragraphs and hyperlinks! Your readers’ first, overall look at your post can determine how much they read. If it looks verbose, that may be it – ignored. Also avoid going off on an ultimately unnecessary tangent. Stick to your focus. Time is short for most people – and there are a lot of blogs!
  • Don’t ignore your headline. Try to conjure up some pithy, catchy headline for your post. It’s a crowded marketplace with lots of cliches (like this). What would make you see the post in a Tweet or on Facebook and actually click through to read? There’s your answer.
  • Check through. The boring part, but crucial. The odd misspelled word may go unnoticed, but what about facts and figures? Not so helpful to get wrong – particularly if this is the key part of your argument. Also check the links work – they sometimes don’t.
  • Add Facebook and Twitter buttons. Integrating with social media platforms isn’t essential, but… no, it is essential! And it’s easy too. Either your blogging interface allows plugins to do it for you, or you have to just go onto the Facebook and Twitter sites, so be it. Whack the code in. And if you’re using an image or two in your blog, don’t forget to configure the Facebook Open Graph Protocol in the header of your post’s code. It’s amazing what featured images Facebook can randomly pull from your blog page – often the wrong ones. You can test what image is drawn from your blog using the FB Linter.
  • Publish and share. Post a link on Twitter and Facebook. But, remember, if you’ve written it and posted it at some ungodly hour your followers/friends may not see the link. You can use something like Tweriod for this – a tool for assessing when most of your Twitter followers are online and active.
  • Analyse. Use Google Analytics, or your host’s own, to monitor the dissemination of your blog. It can be both rewarding to see who’s read it, as well as useful to see how it compares to other blogs you’ve written – helping you to write better blogs.
  • Keep writing. Chances are, if you’re writing great blog posts, you’ll be picking up expectant followers. These are the people who’ll be helping to spread your posts, so don’t leave them hanging for months on end. They’ll find something better. Commit yourself to at least trying to put pen to paper on a regular basis. But that’s entirely up to you. It’s your blog. Tell it, use it, live it. You never know who may be reading…

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