This is a newsletter article from the September 2010 edition my monthly email newsletter. If you like it and aren’t signed up, simply fill in the form to the right or at the bottom of this post to join.
The main component of any successful blog has to be the writing. Without quality writing, your blog will fall at the first hurdle.
Blogs which rely solely upon technology to succeed cannot entertain, engage and elicit feedback for customers on a long-term basis.
To be great bloggers, we do need to understand the basic principles behind great writing for the web, and use these principles to create quality content.
The following tips are designed to support you in producing outstanding, interesting and downright cool content for your blog, without compromising on quality or losing yourself in the quest to engage your customers…
Nothing engages blog readers more than a healthy dose of humor when they read. Humor makes information easier to absorb, and also makes the writer seem instantly more accessible and interesting. Knowing how much to use in your blog writing is a skill which takes a little time to hone.
If you are funny more often than not, you run the risk of not being taken seriously as a blogger. Conversely, if you keep your blog posts wholly dry and professional, you could alienate people who are looking to be entertained by your blog as well as informed.
What are your best character traits? When you write, let yourself reveal them to your customers. Blogging as a platform is specifically designed to be more relaxed than traditional business communications, meaning it is perfectly acceptable for you to show who you are when you write.
While this doesn’t mean revealing the details of your last messy night out with your customers, it does mean you have the scope to draw from personal experience to write your articles, letting people get to know you a little as they read.
Some of the best blogs out there at the moment rely on the personality of the owners to keep them interesting, helping people to build up rapport and keep coming back again and again.
Check spelling and grammar
Nothing puts people off more than bad spelling and poor grammar in a blog post. If you don’t have time to check these two things off when you write, should you really be blogging at all? Badly-written blogs show that their owners don’t really care enough to make an effort when they write. And this lack of care will be quickly picked up on by customers.
Blog writing should be invisible to your readers, in the sense that when they visit your site they should hear what you have to say without even being aware of the language that you use. If people have to struggle to understand where you are coming from, or pick their way through a series of mistakes, the chances are they won’t be coming back to visit for a long time afterwards.
We are all lazy at heart, and we like to be able to pick up information without effort. The accessibility of information online means that our attention spans are getting shorter, and our expectations are getting higher – a tough combination to have to cater for, as a business blogger.
No matter what industry sector you are writing about, it makes sense to keep your language clear, avoid acronyms or jargon, and present your information in easy-to-read sections. Use sub-headings to divide up long passages, and always remember that the average online reader has an attention span of a few minutes per article to get to grips with what you are trying to tell them.
Keep it short
People like to get the information which they are looking for, quickly. Job done!
Keep it original
There are two reasons why your blog posts should always be completely original. The first is that if you take copy from other people’s sites, the owners will probably find out and sue you for theft of intellectual property. This is a messy, unpleasant and ultimately destructive process which you can do without. Secondly, your readers come to you because they are expecting an original voice in the blogosphere.
They trust you to come up with new and interesting comments and articles.
If your writing is stolen from another site, and your customer realises that, it makes sense for them to go to the site where the material came from originally to get their information fix.
Whatever industry you specialize in, there is always new information coming out to write about. By keeping abreast of news in your specialist field, you can report back to your customers about any changes, improvements or events which they may find interesting.
Writing about breaking news is a great way to improve your SEO ratings and attract new customers, as people tend to search about the things which they find most interesting, and want to know more when news items are announced. By being among the first to report back, you will gain a loyal following of people who come to you as the first port of call for news and updates in your sector.
Pick great images
If you’re not keen on writing, you can use pictures to tell half your story for you. Great images are not only visually appealing, they also get picked up by the major search engines and support you to appear in the rankings.
A number of sites offer free royalty-free images (like sxc.hu), so scouring the web for a suitable picture to illustrate your point is a few-second job. If you’re better with a mouse than a keyboard, consider drawing up diagrams or images that speak on your behalf, illustrating what you want to say without having to produce reams of paragraphs.
Feedback is probably one of the most important tools you will ever get as a blogger. When you ask for customer’s opinions about what you have written, you get a free critique and also stand to lean much more about the kind of things they want to see on your site.
If you want to go one step further, invite guest bloggers to write for you in addition to posting up your own articles. They get exposure, you get a day off from writing for your blog. What could be better?
About Blog Tech Guy…
I’m Joel, and I’m here to take the mystery out of the world of blogging to make it easy for you to set up, streamline and maintain your blog. I offer services including blog optimization, technical support, access to help and tutorials, and a host of other blog-related support.