When I opened my first blog in January 2005, my goal was just to share my poetry with the world.
In more than a decade, my main focus has obviously changed. But I have learnt many things along the way.
Today, I would like to share five very important tips with you.
1. Your word is your bond
When people visit your blog, the first thing they will see is text. And trust me, they will judge the book by its cover.
For example, they won’t take kindly to bad grammar, missing words, and typos. Those undermine your credibility and discourage visitors from sharing your content.
You don’t have to be Shakespeare or Stephen King to craft quality blog posts. And nobody is immune to errors. However, the last thing you want is people wondering how serious you are about your business. Because that’s exactly what bad writing triggers in people’s minds!
Keep a grammar book and dictionary handy. Use a tool like Grammarly to uncover and correct mistakes. And have a professional or reliable friend review your posts. You’ll thank me later. ;-)
2. Content length doesn’t matter
As much as self-proclaimed experts would have us believe it, the number of words in an article has no bearing on the way it will rank in search engine results.
The ideal post length doesn’t exist. What exists, though, is a reader’s needs, pain points, and questions. That’s what you should worry about.
“Your goal as a blogger is to populate the world with useful information, not with massive amounts of words.” – Julie Neidlinger
Seth Godin writes the shortest posts I have ever seen. Yet, millions of people have read and shared them. So, he is obviously doing something right.
At times, engagement depends on the message. At others, it hinges on the depth of information. That’s all there is to know.
3. Consistency is not a trend
Actually, it has always been one of the most important factors in a successful blogging career.
It’s ok if you don’t have time to publish every week. Find a posting schedule that works for you and stick to it. That’s how you build reader’s expectation and loyalty. Otherwise you will lose traffic and subscribers.
4. Strategy is not an option
In 2014, when I launched my photography website (and blog), my audience mostly comprised of SMBs, solo-preneurs, and marketers. They had no interest in photography. And even though I had made my mark in social media, it would have been inane to expect people to flock to my work.
I had to start from scratch.
I did what I preach to all my clients. I:
- Looked at what fellow photographers were doing online;
- Joined online forums / groups and interacted in them;
- Created ideal buyer / fan personas based on the type of photos I take;
- Drew on my own experience; and
- Crafted a specific plan.
Two photography books and several major features in publications later, I can safely say that my strategy has worked. Actually, I am a savvier blogger and social media professional now than two years ago!
5. Treat others the way you would like to be treated
In 2013, Gary Vaynerchuk posted a video titled “It’s Not About the Number.” In it, he berated a CEO for stating that complaints from customers who only have a few social media followers don’t matter.
His conclusion? “Word of mouth is at scale now. There is no avoiding it, and more importantly, there is no downplaying it.”
I strongly agree. The size of your community is irrelevant because you never know who may be listening. That’s why I advocate a holistic approach to blogging.
Why holistic? Because your content should educate, entertain, and inspire. It should be valuable, relatable, and meaningful.
You should give ten times more than you are willing to take.
It’s the way you treat people that ultimately impacts your bottom line.
What lessons have you learnt from blogging? Share them in the comment section below.