5 Keys to Better Blogging

It’s not enough to just pick a blog title and start typing.

Unless you don’t care if your only reader is your mom that is. Then by all means, go for it! But if you DO want to drive some traffic, share compelling content and create a vibrant platform for your writing/message, then you need to follow these five tips.

1. Always aim to add value

If you want to create a really dynamic site that draws people back again and again, you need to be adding value to the lives of your readers. Steer away from posts that focused solely on your life, what you like, what you’ve been doing etc. – your blog should be so much more than your Facebook wall in WordPress clothing. It should be a dynamic platform for your message, a place of conversation, community that offers something of value to your readers.

Tip: Stop and think about what the purpose of your blog is…. is it to communicate a message, impart a vision, share tips or promote a cause? Write every post with that purpose in the back of your head.

2. Know your audience

This dovetails with the previous point. What would your readers like to read about? What would interest them, help them out, or maybe teach them something new? Once you have a clear idea of who your audience is, it is easier to create compelling content that they will want to read, share, and come back for more of.

Tip: Create an imaginary “average reader” for your blog. How old is she? What are his other favorite sites? What does he or she get passionate about? Answer these questions thoughtfully, and then write to that reader.

3. Keep it focused

Each post you write should have a purpose, and leave readers with one main point to take away. You can tell a story or support your idea with other points, but don’t ramble [bullet points and numbered lists help with this, keeping it simple and catchy]. Pick one main idea and focus on communicating it well.

Tip: Keep a list of one-liner blog post ideas. When it comes time to write, don’t just start typing; be intentional and build your post around one idea.

4. Be pithy [humor doesn’t hurt either]

You only have a certain amount of time to capture and hold a reader’s attention and that amount of time is very brief. So don’t waste words or get so caught up in the sound of your own writing that you cloud your message. Keep it snappy! A good rule of thumb is to aim for about 500 words. Another important thing to remember is don’t take yourself too seriously! Humor can inject your posts with a lot of personality.

Tip: If there’s just no way you can keep your wonderfully wordy post between 300-500 words, try splitting it into part 1 and part 2.

5. Be predictable

Nobody likes to click into a blog and have every post begin with a doleful apology for the blogger’s extended absence. Worse still is when your favorite blog never gets updated [ahem, favorite bloggers – I’m talking to you! You know who you are…] So as difficult as it may be, try to disciple yourself to make a blogging schedule and then stick with it. Maybe you post 5 times a week or maybe its just weekly – whatever you choose, predictability is the key and will help you drive traffic.

Tip: Be realistic when you set a schedule, but if you’re having trouble keeping up try reaching out to a few friends to guest post for you. Or write in clumps – write as many posts as you can when you’re in the zone, and then schedule them for later.

So there you have it – five keys to better blogging. What would you add to the list?