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Blogging – secrets revealed

12 March 2009
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This article was written by Zeke Camusio, Founder of  The Outsourcing Company. Thought it was worth sharing.

Blogging is all the rage right now. There can be any number of reasons to have a blog. Some truly enjoy writing, and a blog is the perfect creative outlet, since no one but you has a say in what gets posted or what gets scrapped. Others prefer to hire ghost bloggers simply because they want to have a blog but lack the writing skills or inspiration. Whether you have a personal blog or a business blog where your goal is to let others know about what you’re doing in your field, surely you want your blog to be read; if not, what’s the point? Having a successful blog takes time and effort. It takes, most of all, commitment. You must be committed to it and stick to it. Here are some of the things the most successful bloggers would recommend.

1. Make a Contribution Consider any successful, popular blog, and you’ll see it contributes valuable knowledge to the community. Consider your niche or area of expertise, and think about which questions people would like answered. Are there any topics that haven’t been covered by other bloggers or experts? Take advantage of the questions readers ask in their comments or feedback and address these issues. Find out what others are saying about something. Maybe you have a different point of view or insightful ideas to add. If you really want to have a successful blog with, say, hundreds of subscribers, you have to give them something they can apply or something they can learn.

2. Stand Out After you realize that you have a contribution, and you get all fired up about all the valuable things you can teach, comes the realization that there are others (possibly hundreds of others) out there with the same expertise, sharing their knowledge. If you want to get noticed, you have to offer something the others don’t. This could take some work. You could do research into little known aspects of the biz. Or you could experiment. Give your blog an edge that others don’t have. Don’t be so serious and straightforward. Include a humorous cartoon or graphic here and there. Walk the fine line between what is acceptable and appropriate, and what is witty but scandalous. Look for a different angle. If you’re repeating or summarizing what others are already saying, you won’t have a blog; you’ll have a blah. Give the readers something unique.

3. Follow the Basic Rules of Good Writing Naturally, this goes for spelling and grammar mistakes. So you’re not exactly the best speller. It doesn’t hurt to run a spell check; that’s what it’s for! And this is why spelling mistakes are inexcusable. Organize each individual post. You know the basics: introduction, 2 or 3 supporting paragraphs, and conclusion. Make your headline and opening paragraph very compelling. It’s what will make the reader go on reading. Also, since most readers scan or skim texts, it’s better to have many short paragraphs with individual headings, than a few long paragraphs.

4. Plan Your Posts The success of your blog depends not only on the quality of your content, but also how often you post new content. It is essential that you have a schedule or some kind of weekly/monthly plan. Try to have plenty of posts planned ahead or already written and on stand-by. This way, all you have to do is post them on a regular basis.

5. Respond to Feedback It is very important that you interact with your readers and respond to their questions or comments. But you must know when and how. You are by no means expected to slave over each individual comment. It’s time-consuming and pointless. Sometimes all you need to do is give a nod or thank them for their comments; let the reader know you appreciate their advice. Sometimes you need to address a question. And sometimes you’ll need to respond to negative feedback. If someone is insulting, don’t sink to their level. Politely thank them for their comment and say you disagree.

6. Create Relationships with Other Bloggers Even if you’re an expert in your field with over 20 years of experience, you can always benefit from the fresh, new outlook a newbie can provide. And if you happen to be the newbie, you can benefit from the old-timer’s invaluable expertise. Don’t be shy. Never fear rejection. You have nothing to lose. If you want to share a relevant, quality post, someone’s bound to pick it up. And if you ask an expert for a guest post on your blog, surely you can find someone who will be happy to oblige.

7. Create a Design that Works 
If your blog is cluttered with either ads, lists of irrelevant links, or graphics, it won’t be taken seriously. Make sure it’s easy to read, easy to navigate. Make sure everything is in the right place, from the site map to the related posts. Your goal should be to make people want to stay, not run away! Display your best work where it is easy to find. 

When all is said and done, if you want your blog to be read by thousands of people, there are no set rules. Here, I’ve provided some ideas as to what has worked for many successful bloggers, but feel free to experiment and do what comes naturally. If you try to do something that simply is not really you, people will notice and your blog will never take off. 

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