According to WordPress.com, that’s the number of blogs in the world (WordPress hosts about one half of them). The statement continues, “Over 347 million people view more than 2.5 billion pages each month and WordPress.com users produce about 500,000 new posts and 400,000 new comments on an average day.” Any way you add it up, blogging is a big deal and very competitive. Considering the almost unfathomable numbers, it can be a daunting task to capture your part of this huge audience. Here are some basics for grabbing your share of the market.
- Content is King — I know you’re sick of hearing this, but it’s true. Poorly written, unedited, and badly-targeted content can hurt your blog, and it certainly won’t promote it. Search Engine Optimization is now more content driven than ever, and plagiarized content will hurt SEO. WordPress.org users can better understand and control their search results with Yoast’s SEO plugin.
- Visual is Crucial — A blog is more than words. Images, layout, and typography are all critical in attracting or distracting from your content. My friend, Allison L. Carter, will be speaking about this as the keynote speaker for BIN2012. Another tool is video blogging (VLOG), and combining text with video can be an effective tool as well.
- Usability is Major — Your blog needs to look aesthetically great, but it should also be easy to use. This means getting the user to your content with as few clicks and hassles possible. It also means a page that loads quickly. Your blog should only include necessary and useful elements, and it’s important to NOT bloat your site with poor-quality plugins or too many plugins. Proper image sizing and optimization is also good for User Experience.
- Consistency is Key — Without a consistent posting schedule and consistent topics, your blog will be lost in the blogosphere. Use an editorial calendar, write ahead of schedule, and whether it’s one new post a week, or twelve, be consistent.
- Comments are Important — not necessarily how many a post receives, but that they are answered. Your replies to your posts’ comments may be more important than the number of comments on your blog. And PLEASE keep a sharp eye out for spammers. Learn who they are, don’t comment back, and mark them as spam as soon as possible. A post with several “Work From Home” comments, or meaningless, anonymous “great post!” comments that link back to malicious sites, will turn your audience off.
- Promotion is Critical — Who is your audience? Where is your audience? Are they on social media? Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or…? Do they respond to email or RSS feeds? ENGAGE with your audience and share those great posts of yours with a targeted market.
There may be 74,736,223 blogs, but only a few may mean anything to you. If what you have to say is important and others should hear what you have to say, be sure to follow a few basic steps or take the chance of being lost in the numbers. What other blogging basics do you use?