Monthly Archives: January 2012

Another angle to content….

What message do I have?

As promised I like to continue talking about content.  I am inspired by a comment one of my followers made about not being able to find enough ‘topic’ to write about. This happened to be a result of ‘the feeling of not having enough expertise’. How often does this happen and does that mean that you should not blog!

I personally believe that it depends on the kind of blog you write. What is the purpose of you writing your blog? What do you want to say, achieve and above all share? My blog is about ‘learning to blog’ – after all it is called ‘Blogexercise, the road to professional blogging’.  If I would pretend to be an expert while all I am doing is exploring the subject, I would be fooling you all.

My aim is to ‘become an expert’ by reading books, researching the web and talking to other people. I then like to compile whatever I have learned in a post for others to read and hopefully learn from as well. My main objective is to get a clear overview for myself but it is great to see that others benefit from it!

Do I have enough inspiration to keep on writing?

Another issue is ‘not having enough content’ to write about. A very successful blogger in Australia (www.problogger.com) once wrote that you should be able to write at least 30 blog posts about your topic. A good aim is to do this even before you start. If you can’t do this you may eventually run dry and have nothing to write about.

The reason you start blogging is because you have got something to say, you like to speak ‘your’ truth and talk about the way you see how things are. If you can’t do that, why would you bother!  Don’t be one of the thousands of blogs that ‘hang inactively’ in the blogosphere.

Tara Frey (www.bloggingforbliss.com) reckons that readers connect more with you if you stay faithful to your truth and as a result words come easily. And she should know as her blog gets thousands of hits per day and in 2008 ago it was was honoured Typepad Favourite Blog! Something to aim for.

How to find content……….

  • Look around and see what inspires you, irritates you, makes you happy or sad and most of all discover what is close to your heart.
  • Then do something with, discuss it, embrace it or fight it.
  • But approach it with passion and you’ll find the words will flow!

Credibility of a blogger

Are you an expert?

While sifting through my blog posts to evaluate what I have written so far I realised that I am blogging about something that is not ‘exactly’ my area of expertise. At least it wasn’t before I started to look into this subject. Funny enough this apparently goes against the rules of running a business or in this case writing a blog.

While browsing in the library I came across a book with an interesting title. Inspiring enough to take it home. The book was called: ‘How to make a million before lunch time’ by Rachel Bridge, www.rachelbridge.com. I started reading it and I was hooked. Let’s be honest – who would not be tempted?

Most of these books including this one, make becoming a millionaire sound so easy. The writer mentions that you have to be ‘good’ at what your business is about. According to her there are quite a number of people out there who start up a business while they are not an expert in what they offer. ‘A recipe for failure’, she reckons. And it makes sense, doesn’t it?

Inspiration to write a blog

Does this apply to blogs as well? How many bloggers are there who aren’t experts? Does this matter? Isn’t the nature of a blog that you can publish anything that interests you? After all you could be exploring the subject, learn about it and put it in your blog.

The same writer mentions that one reason for starting up a business could be ‘the aim to improve something. Have you ever been frustrated with a product, a service or a treatment and has it ever inspired you to want to do something about it. I personally have many times.

Who likes bad service, bad products and above all complicated topics? How many times do we research something to find out that it too confusing to understand? The information out there is often overwhelming, confusing, too specialised in its use of language – expecting us all to have a law degree – and quite often contradicting or missing essential pieces of information.

Is this not a perfect reason to start blogging? To have a good old rant and to find ‘mates’  who share your frustrations. To connect to people who have had similar experiences and who could help you shed some light.

Does it matter if you are no expert?

I like to say no! It could be interesting as many people may have similar frustrations. By reading your blog they could find recognition of their feelings and hopefully some tips to make improvements.  As a blog is not a scientific paper, it can attract different opinions which may lead to an interesting debate or heated discussions. What does matter is ‘pretending’ to be an expert and ‘borrowing’ someone else’s content.

An interesting topic for my next post…..

Choosing a title

What is a good title for your blog post?

A couple of posts ago I mentioned I had trouble finding the right title for my post. I suppose that is something worthwhile exploring. Again there are two issues here being the ‘appeal of the title’ and the ‘effect’ it has for Search Engine Optimisation. The latter having some weight if you want to increase your traffic and readership.

When you are linking your post to for example Facebook it seems that the first few lines of your post are going to be the bit of text that is visible there. So if you start rambling on about a non related issue that is what is shown on Facebook.  This may not be what you had in mind as these few lines should ideally reflect the essence of the post. This is what will attract people to either read it or dismiss it. Considering the amount of stuff people get thrown into their laps daily you’ll have to say something that stands out!

Tips for your blog post title!

To my opinion it should reflect the main point of your topic. I hate titles that lure you in but when you start reading you realise you won’t get the answer they promised. I think it is very simple. You write a piece and give it the title it deserves, nothing more or less.

That does not mean that it can’t be witty, sharp or quirky. Even metaphorical.  Ideally it will be!  And this may require some thought or even talent to satisfy the marketing buffs amongst us.

Secondly it may be helpful if it has a keyword in it. If you write about titles of blogs, the title should tell that it is about that subject. Otherwise people can’t find it. You may come up with a clever wordplay but not everyone or Google has the same imagination. You can always show your talent in the post itself!

How long should a title be? The shorter the better I would say. General consensus seems to be a maximum of 5 words. Not that easy as a keyword and description in your title gets you easily over that mark. My first choice was ‘How to choose a title for your blog post’.  I realise this is not within those parameters. It needs to be more concise.

I am opting for short and to the point this time as I can’t think of anything quirky in 3- 5 words!

How often should you post on your blog?

Are there any rules regarding post frequency or is it up to the writer?

A week has gone by before I have had a chance to even think about ‘blogging’. Let alone write something. Reasons were moving house, impending root canal treatment and no internet access. Apparently it takes 10 days to relocate internet with our provider! And they made the mistake of terminating our service at our old house before the moving date.

Anyway, everything is set up and here we go. As I was a little worried about not being able to post anything it seems like a good idea to investigate the frequency of posting.

How often should you post something?

A tricky question to answer and I like to start looking at it from my own point of view. How often do I follow a blog?

Time and Interest….

Practically I don’t have the time or the interest to read some-one’s blog on a daily base. I like to compare it to a TV program. From past experience I know that I can look forward to seeing the next weekly episode of a certain program. The question is ‘would I still be that eager if that program was shown daily?’ I doubt it! In fact I know I wouldn’t do that as I get daily emails sent to me and I hardly read them even though they are about a topic of interest!

Needs and value…

Would it be different if some-one writes a blog about a topic I want to learn about, offers information I need and see tremendous value in. Could I read that daily? Would I be eagerly looking forward to reading the next blog post or would I still be affected by ‘information overload’?

Readers’ anticipation…

Now let’s turn this around and see it from the reader’s point of view.  If I publish information that interest and benefits people, they will very likely return to my blog to see what I have to say next. The more often I am writing interesting and valuable content the more reason there is for them to visit my blog over and over again. This is offcourse what bloggers dream off – a growing pool of readers, followers and subscribers.

Search Engine Optimisation…

There is another point to this. The more frequent I publish a blog post the more entries I create in terms of search engine optimisation. In other words the more I am out there in the blogosphere, the more opportunities there are to find me. And this leads in generally to higher traffic. And if high traffic is my goal I may have to compromise slightly on other factors!

So what is the answer to this: ‘Does the frequency of posting matter?’

  • It matters if you bore and frustrate your readers, make them feel overwhelmed or burn them out.
  • And it matters if your readers are hanging out for more of your knowledge and great tips.

The trick may be to find the right ‘rhythm and consistency’ where I as the writer have something interesting to say on a regular base and you as the reader can see value in it, learn from it and hopefully will be looking forward to the next post!

A nice aim to have!

What is good ‘content’ for your blog?

4 simple techniques to make your blog post stand out!

2012, there we are. First blog post of the year, full good intentions and maybe even some resolutions.

Although I have postponed the commitment to the final structure of my ‘future’ blog, I have already started to write posts for it. Exciting stuff as I get to go places. The idea is to review places in Brisbane and immediate surroundings. Places such as restaurants, cafes, cinemas, galleries, shops and what else I can think off. To start off locally but I may expand to other areas.

Okay, back to blogging about blogging. In a previous post I was talking about content and I realised I had more to say than I could in one post. I wrote about simplifying information in an easy format for people to find and to read. I suppose writing a good blog post is a bit like writing a good essay. It has a heading, possibly a sub heading, an introduction, explanation, discussion and a conclusion. It requires logical thinking and creating a natural flow. Anybody who thinks that it is easier than that is wrong!

So what contributes to ‘good content’?

  • Keep it simple and easy to understand
  • Keep it fresh
  • Keep it unique
  • Keep it useful
  • Make it look nice

Simple! A good way to ‘keep it simple’ is not trying to be everything to all people. This is a trap and it easy for an enthusiastic blogger to fall into. The majority of successful bloggers have created a ‘niche blog’ and concentrate on a narrow topic. If you have inspiration for a wider point of view, splinter this into a number of more specific topics.

Fresh and nice’ is an important one for me. I am not keen on busy web pages with so many ads that you can’t distinguish ads from blog content. It is confusing and it tires the eye too much. When I find such a blog/ website and when  I realise it is successful, I feel a little cheated. I feel that potential advertising income has replaced the originality of the blog. There must be something in between. Give your topic an ‘attractive jacket’ and it will be a pleasure to look at!

Unique! That is a big one. How difficult is it to be ‘unique’ with millions of blogs already out there. As a blog is an opportunity to show your ‘voice’, it should be exactly that. Don’t copy someone else’s stuff. If you want to use information from others, reference properly and acknowledge that it is not yours!

Useful! A good way to find out what is ‘useful’ for other people is to have a good look at comments. The issues people raise in comments can give you as a blogger countless ideas for future posts. After all if you want readers you must find out what people want, so you can give it to them!

I found it hard to come up with a ‘good title’ for this post, so I suppose that is what my next post will be about…