Building A Better Blog

Building a Better Blog: Celebrate With Your Readers

As you continue to blog, your regular readers will eventually grow accustomed to your voice as a writer, even if you write in a mostly factual fashion. Over time, you’ll come into contact many of your readers by email and comments and you’ll begin to establish a relationship of sorts with them. What does this …

Building a Better Blog: Don’t Forget the Fundamentals

When I’m actively blogging, I often assume a great deal about my readers and their pre-existing knowledge of my topic. I often go so far as to assume that, even after I’ve researched a topic, I’m roughly on par with them in terms of really understanding the topic, so I focus on my own reflections …

Building a Better Blog: Don’t Clutter It Up

When a visitor comes to your site, the first thing they’re looking for is content. They want to see what you’ve written and they don’t want to be distracted by confusing things. The more confusing options you throw out there, the less likely they are to feel welcome on your site and the less likely …

Building a Better Blog: Talking To Other Bloggers

Many bloggers operate in a bubble. This bubble includes themselves and perhaps a small number of bloggers that focus on topics similar to their own. I know that this is often true, even for me: I talk to a lot of other personal finance bloggers, but I rarely communicate outside of my own “circle.” So …

Building a Better Blog: Engage The Casual Visitor

One issue that has always interested me is how one can maximize the retention of visitors from social bookmarking sites like Digg. These visitors are only coming to your site to read a particular article; typically, they don’t stay around to read other things. A similar notion is true about visitors from search engines (though …

Building a Better Blog: Post Consistently

After discussing the dangers of leaving your audience hanging, it became clear that a concise description of why a posting schedule is useful and how it should work is needed. Although many professional bloggers offer up the bromide of how important a posting schedule is, it is rare to find a description of the actual …

Building a Better Blog: Write In Series

I’m often baffled by bloggers who confess to having a complete lack of ideas to blog about when the possibilities for dozens upon dozens of posts are sitting there right in front of them. All that you need for a large number of posts is one idea that can be broken down into a lot …

Building a Better Blog: Use The Senses

The web is inherently a visual medium, and like any other visual medium, a big portion of success in the medium is sensory appeal. Many, many people recall things based upon imagery and visual impressions and blogs are no different: time and time again, we see that images help make for memorable posts. Take, for …

Building a Better Blog: Don’t Know It All

In high school, I was friends with an individual who repeatedly acted as if he knew everything anyone was going to say. If you got him started on a subject, he would completely dominate the conversation with minutae and commentary on every aspect of the issue at hand, while everyone else sat around staring at …

Building a Better Blog: Social Bookmarking

Most bloggers are familiar with the “Digg effect,” a flood of traffic that comes from reaching the front page of Digg, a popular social bookmarking site (if you want to know more about it, you can see my observations on it). Similar traffic boosts occur whenever a site becomes “popular” in any well-travelled social bookmarking …

Building a Better Blog: Don’t Chase Away Your Readers

Recently, I visited a very interesting blog that focused on personal finance and political issues targeting twentysomethings. The author had a very distinctive voice and he clearly had his audience defined, yet there was still one problem: he was often posting things and making statements that were going to drive away a big part of …

Building a Better Blog: The Mini Audience

Once you’ve figured out who your audience is, it becomes much easier to determine whether or not content is appropriate for your site. The simple question of whether or not it appeals to this group is enough to decide whether or not it should be posted on the site. Obviously, if your audience is broad, …

Building a Better Blog: Search Engine Optimization Doesn’t Matter

Some of you are probably sitting there stunned right now. Without search engine placement, it’s very hard for a site to get a lot of attention from search engines, isn’t it? Yet I’m fairly sure that (to a degree) even SEO professionals will agree with the premise here when I make the case for it. …

Building a Better Blog: Leverage the Past

Once you’ve reached a point where you have a healthy number of posts, you’ll find that even your best, most original ideas overlap with ideas you’ve posted on in the past. Some people see this as a problem; they worry that they’re out of original ideas. Successful bloggers, however, see it as an opportunity. Let’s …

Building a Better Blog: Guide Your Users

I like to write long posts. I’ve discovered that length doesn’t matter, so I write and write to my heart’s content until I feel like I’ve completed my thoughts and said what I want to say. Quite often, though, this means I have a big block of solid text, a nearly unpenetrable slab of words …

Building a Better Blog: Be Lucky

Every once in a while, you’ll write a post that is a surefire winner, but quite often, our most popular posts come as a relative surprise. You’ll post something and out of nowhere will come comments and people linking to the posts. How did that happen? The simple truth is that it’s luck. Finding that …

Building a Better Blog: Don’t Give Up

At some point, we all get disheartened with blogging. Maybe we feel out of touch with the readers, or maybe it’s simply a matter of level or slightly falling traffic. Maybe it’s just a sense of isolation and disinterest in the topic. This is perhaps the most important period in the life of your blog, …

Building a Better Blog: Money Doesn’t Matter

This seems like a contradiction, doesn’t it? On a series on professional blogging on a personal finance site, I’m writing that money doesn’t matter? What gives? The truth is that many people dream about becoming professional bloggers, but after blogging for a month, they peek at their AdSense account, see they’ve only earned $1.03, and …

Building a Better Blog: The Content Comes First

When you have a static page, it’s fine to have plenty of ads on it. People visit static pages because there’s some piece of information there that they need. They’ve bookmarked it and will return only when they need that specific piece of information, at which time it is worth it for them to dodge …