This post is guest-blogged by Collis Ta’eed from NorthxEast, a blog about blogging.
One of the things that I learnt from John Chow more than from any other blogger has been the value of creativity and experimentation in building a blog. Since there are so many other bloggers out there all vying for the same set of mindshare – or perhaps I should say feedreader-share – you need to stand out.
If you look over John’s history as a blogger you’ll see numerous examples of the type of out of the box thinking that is probably why you read this blog today, things like:
- John was the first to buy Google Ads that paid homage to other bloggers
- John was the first to institute a review link-back scheme
- John tried out a scheme to pay for the no-follow to be removed from comments
- John always tries out new monetization strategies
Now consider your own blog, and ask yourself what conventions have you broken? What new ideas have you tried out? What about your blog sets it apart from other blogs?
Being creative and experimental with your blog means you have a greater chance of hitting on something great. Sure, lots of ideas will amount to not much, but who cares? When you do come to something that is a big success, no-one will remember the things you tried which didn’t work. Besides it’s much more exciting to be trying new things all the time.
There are in fact plenty of ways that you can break the mould. Here are a few places that you could think about experimenting with:
- What topics your write about.
You don’t need to change your niche to change the topics you write about. Experiment with different angles at the same content, be argumentative, be objective, analyse it or rant about it.
- What style of post you write.
If you are always writing posts that are just a collection of thoughts, try writing a review, a follow-up, a link-bait list, put up some photos, there are heaps of ideas to try. Here’s a list of post ideas – ihelpyoublog
- How you format your blog.
Look for an interesting WordPress theme, or commission a designer to do something a little different with how you blog looks. Try out different things until you find something that suits you and your content.
- What monetization techniques you use.
This is one of John’s favourite pearls of wisdom and it really is good advice. If you just stick to Adsense you’ll never know if there is something better out there. Experiment with a variety of strategies to find the combination that works with your blog.
- How you promote and market yourself.
Marketing and promotion of blogs isn’t exactly an envelope that has been pushed very far. Thinking outside the box on this one can pay huge dividends. Try to think of ideas that can go viral, that produce specific results, that buck trends and go against the norm. Sure you should still try for some regular advertising or social media marketing, but be creative and go from a different angle.
If you learn just one thing from John’s blog, it should be that creative spirit to try new things. The dividends you reap when you hit on something successful will be huge and since blogging doesn’t involve that much risk, there really is no reason not to try.