Hey everybody! As I’m in the process of setting up a new blog, I wanted to share a few things I learned about setting up a successful and interesting blog. A year ago, I didn’t really know too much about blogging, but since then, when I started working in the journalism industry, I learned some important things about maintaining a blog and getting readers. Three things are key: aesthetics, exposure, and content.
Presentation is one of the most important aspects of a blog. This is not only so you can attract readers, but for your own sake as well. Blogging is generally something you do for fun, when you’re finished up with your work. You don’t want to see blogging as a task: you want to come to your website and find something crisp, concise, and not too overwhelming.
One of the biggest problems bloggers have is actually keeping their blog going. Too often this is because blogging feels like another burden. You should keep your posts pithy and the writing clear, structured, and avoid long blocks of text and large paragraphs. Of course, there are times when you might need to go into detail and write long posts, but even then, write in a way that keeps feeling lithe.
Pictures are a good way to accomplish this. Remember: a picture really is worth a thousand words when it comes to blogging. Pictures are a great way to break up text and keep your post from feeling like a tome. By the way, I’m a big fan of books and an academic by nature, so I love long texts, but blogging is a different art.
Let’s be honest. While most people blog for themselves, they’re also blogging to share their work with other people. Unless you just want to use your blog as your personal diary. In fact, an audience is one of the biggest motivating factors for keeping your blog going because you know your efforts are being appreciated. It doesn’t have to be a giant audience of 10,000 random people you don’t know, it can just be your circle of friends. Without an audience, unless you’re extremely self-motivated, it is likely you will eventually blog less and less.
One of the most important things, then, is getting exposure for your blog, to get traffic and comments. Discussion is one of the best ways to keep you interested in your blog. Don’t hesitate to link to your blog in your e-mail signature or Facebook or Twitter accounts. Share with your friends. If you write for other websites and have a profile there, link back to your blog from there as well.
Content is the meat of the blog. Aesthetics will draw people to your blog and keep them there, but you have to also have interesting content. Content creates content in a way, because the more you have on your blog, the more fleshed out and worthy of continuation your project will seem.
Consider this: there are literally millions of blogs out there on the internet about millions of things. Unless you’re famous, people will read your blog primarily for your interesting content. So try to personalize your content and provide unique material or a distinct take.
Of course, these are just guidelines, and I wrote from a marketing point of view. If you just want to write for yourself only, then carry on.