Starting a blog is easy. The hard part is posting to it on a regular basis. Even more difficult is the posting of quality blog content that generates site visits and comments. Additionally, blog posts must provide a tangible value for their readers, encouraging them to return.
Making sure your blog contains quality content that provides value to the reader, that the posts are witty and engaging, that a unique light is cast on a particular subject matter, etc., can place incredible pressure on you. This is especially true if you are posting daily content to your blog. In many cases, the pressure to constantly produce quality blog content leads to “blogger burnout” and blog abandonment.
To better handle the task of posting daily (or even weekly) content to your blog, consider employing the following techniques. These techniques not only help you create better posts but they also help you become a better writer. Equally as important, by incorporating the following techniques into your daily blogging routine, you’ll end up saving a lot of time, effort and angst while blogging.
Plan your posts ahead of time
Finding a topic to write about can waste a lot of valuable time. Instead of using up an hour or more per day to brainstorm, dedicate a few hours at the beginning of the week or month to blog idea generation. Keep a record of these ideas as well as their associated references.
How many blog post ideas should you generate in one brainstorming session? Ideally, you will want anywhere from 20 to 30 possible posts complete with titles, summaries and references. Once these post ideas have been generated, put them aside for a day or two, then pull up the list again. Add subcategories to those blog post ideas that look promising while deleting the ones that don’t. Perform an online search on each blog topic to find additional content and/or subject matter perspectives.
Don’t just blindly rehash the news
The purpose of having a blog is to provide a unique spin on current events, topics, etc. Even if they may not agree with it, visitors to your blog site want to hear what you have to say. Having your own voice come through in your posts certainly makes the posts more personable and memorable, helping build an online audience that returns again and again to obtain updates on your message.
If your site is about how to do something (e.g., how to invest), visitors will definitely be interested in knowing how you yourself did that particular something and what was the outcome. This is especially true if you are involved in an ongoing process such as building a business, creating a product, etc. Likewise, a blog that is dedicated towards the attainment of a goal also benefits from a personal perspective.
Think of your blog site as a talk show. You wouldn’t want your talk show to be centered solely around you and your message, right? The best talk shows provide the audience with many guest speakers and a range of perspectives. In light of this, invite guest bloggers to post quality blog content to your site in order to provide some balance to it. Conduct online interviews and debates. When posting content that you yourself generated, consider spicing it up with quotes from fellow bloggers who deal with that subject matter on a daily basis. Even a few supporting links from other blogs can boost your credibility. Links that refer to other posts on your site also help create quality blog content, increase page views, and enhance the level of visitor interaction with your blog.
One side benefit of having other parties post to your blog is that it saves you from always being responsible for generating content. Furthermore, a guest blogger or interviewee will probably mention something about the experience on his/her own website or blog. Such a mention can draw targeted traffic to your own blog, resulting in increased page views, product sales, or additional guest posts.
Give them more than words
It is well known that the human brain responds to and learns from visual stimuli as well as print media. Some individuals actually incorporate visual information far better than written information. In light of such knowledge, populating your blog with only words reduces the chances of its message being delivered to every member of your audience. Take advantage of visual aids such as pictures and diagrams to better drive home your stated points. Use original photos if at all possible; this reduces the risk of copyright issues and gives your blog posts more originality.
If you really want to break away from the crowd, consider giving your readers not only a visual but an auditory experience as well. Think about posting video and/or audio content to your blog site via YouTube videos or video podcasts (i.e., vodcasts). Posting such content is not as difficult as it seems: In the case of podcasts, the web software (e.g., Podcast Generator) required to create them is often free and available online. The final and not-to-be-overlooked benefit of creating visual media is that videos and podcasts help generate targeted traffic to your blog site.
Provide a take-home message
Posting quality blog content requires more than just providing your readers with witty banter. At the end of the day, what message do you want your blog site visitors to take away and remember? Alternately, what action item would you like for people to get started on?
Visitors to your blog are spending their valuable time reading your posts and perusing your web pages. If they leave your site without remembering anything useful, it is unlikely that they will return. This doesn’t imply that your blog posts are filled with fluff; rather, what this means is that your blog posts would benefit from having a goal-orientated outline. This outline would be created prior to you putting a single word down on your blog post, and this outline would also include several areas where you would iterate and then reiterate your message to your readers. Since most psychological studies indicate that individuals must read or hear a message at least three times before committing it to memory, your blog post outline should include at least three areas where you present your message to site visitors.
Don’t forget to crunch the numbers
Posting quality blog content on your website is only one-half of the successful blogging equation; finding out which posts are garnering traffic versus the ones that receive no visits is also imperative. To do this, set up a Google Analytics account for your site. Doing so allows you to track your blog site’s visitors and which pages they are reading (and for how long). Likewise, you can find out your site’s traffic sources (e.g., search engine, referral site), entrance keywords, and even its in-page analytics (views per individual web page).
Tracking the number of “Likes”, “Shares”, Diggs, bookmarks and tweets that your posts receive provides a useful indicator of the popularity of your blog. With the recent introduction of Google +1 (Google’s own social network), you can also receive notifications about the number of users who +1′d (i.e., recommended) your blog pages, whether directly on the pages themselves or through a search result listing. More importantly, users who click on the +1 button to recommend your site can be measured by the impact of their behavior on your site.
For example, you may wish to track if users who click on the +1 button on your blog improve your site’s CTR or PR goal. With the use of the +1 reporting in Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics and the Google’s Social Engagement Tracking software, you can check your site’s Search Impact Report to find out if pages that have the +1 button receive more clicks or backlinks than those that don’t. With Google’s Audience Report, you can also obtain geographic and demographic information on users who have +1′d your site and better tailor your message to target those audience members. Google also offers Social Plugin Analytics, which relays information on how users share your content in addition to clicking on the +1 button; in other words, the Plugin compiles all social action information such as Facebook “Likes”, Reddit links, tweets, etc..
Posting quality blog content doesn’t happen overnight. However, there are many strategies available to ensure that your content doesn’t languish in the blogosphere. Involving your readers, personalizing your content, as well as providing a clear take-home message all help make your blog stand out. Analyzing your strategies via analytics tools allows you to capitalize on the techniques that work versus those that don’t make much of a difference.