This post was guest blogged by Jamie Harrop, a blogger of five years who at Jamie Harrop Dot Com writes about blogging, life as a young entrepreneur, self improvement and travel.
How can I make this blog post better? You need to ask yourself that question before pressing the publish button.
Quite often as bloggers, we get in to a routine of firing through posts and becoming more author than blogger.
As bloggers, we need to be socially aware of the people, writing and research around us. Rather than just writing what’s on our mind or what is useful, we must, through our writing, extend outwards to the community. Modern blogging isn’t a one dimensional, enclosed space. It’s an open, engaging communication method where it’s good practice and common courtesy to extend a hand to other bloggers and media.
With this in mind, I want to share five things that go through my mind when I ask myself, how can I make this blog post better?
The Internet marketing and personal development niches of the blogosphere went through a phase of finding a related photo to attach to the top of each post. Using services such as Flickr’s Creative Commons photos, it became very easy for bloggers to find good quality photos.
Photos are, of course, a very easy way to break up and brighten long passages of text. Time and time again I feel more compelled to read a long blog post if there are photos spread within.
Are you talking about a product? Or relaying Web site stats? Then screenshots will prove to be an excellent way to get your point across easily and quickly. Almost all of my most popular posts include some form of screenshot that is as useful as the content.
Internal and External Linking
Linking to your own previous posts and posts from other bloggers is the absolute blogging classic. Once you’ve wrote your post, go back through it and look for phrases that may be relevant to a past post or something another blogger may have spoken about. Looking through this post, I see phrases that will make for interesting links (The phrase “Web site stats” for example).
Of course, as well as providing more information for your readers, linking out to other blogs is a very easy way to build new relationships and bring in new readers, both from the blogger you’re linking to and the trackback that results from your link.
Over the last six months I’ve started to make more of a conscious effort to link back to my previous blog posts. Combing this strategy with “Related Posts” at the bottom of each article, I’ve seen my average page views per visit rise by over 250%. (By the way, that last sentence would be the ideal place for a screenshot of my Google Analytics showing the 250% page view per visit increase. However, when writing guest posts, it’s much easier for both parties to keep to basic text)
Quite often we write about trends and events that have facts attached. But quite often we neglect these facts. Take the time to research your topic and find facts and figures. Your opinion is good, but readers also like to see hard figures from respected sources.
Read What Others Have Said
It’s time to face the music. In many areas of blogging, including Internet marketing, what you’re saying has probably been said many times before. By different people with a different opinion, for sure, but never the less it has already been said. It’s the nature of the beast, and the nature of overcrowded niches. But repeating ourselves is just fine, because new bloggers are always coming through the door and they haven’t heard what you and others have already said ten times.
With that in mind, take the time to do some research to find similar blog posts. Research what others have published and see if you can take away any of those thoughts to include in your own post. Even if you just link back to a few of those posts you found that discuss the same topic, you’ve instantly built new relationships with the blogs you’ve linked to and you’ve given your readers further food for thought.
If I have an idea for a post but I’m struggling to flesh it out in to a full article or I’m struggling to find the right way to start it, I’ll often Google for similar blog posts to give me ideas and inspiration.
Of course, if you Google your topic and you find nothing, you’re about to become a trendsetter and walk the first steps to becoming an authority blogger.
Don’t settle for yet another average article. Before you publish your next blog post, ask yourself how you can make it better.
How do you take your blog posts past the writing? How do you increase their quality and reach out to the community?