I love blogging. I’ve been doing it for nearly a decade now, and I still enjoy doing it. I even make a few bucks at it. I have several clients that pay me to post to their blogs, and I also develop custom themes, widgets and plugins for WordPress sites.
Enough about me, though. Let’s talk about your blog. If you’re already blogging, then you’re interested in how to improve it. If you’re thinking about starting a blog, then you’re probably interested in how to get it started on the right foot. Here are five ways to do just that.
#1. Make your content useful.
At this point, most screeds about blogging will tell you that the most important thing is to add content regularly. It is true that adding content regularly is important, but what’s even more important is that you make your content useful.
To make your content useful, think about what kinds of problems you have and then research and write about how you would solve those problems. When deciding on what to put into this white paper, for example, I tried to think about the problems I have when blogging. Then, I wrote about what I did to solve them.
#2. Figure out what your readers are reading.
How do you know what your readers find useful? Well, the first thing you can do is ask them. Encourage them to contact you and ask you to write about particular topics.
In general, however, that rarely works. Instead, install Google Analytics, or some other analytics software, on your website, and keep track of the most popular articles on your website. On KB6NU.Com, for example, posts on antennas are very popular. If I were really smart, I’d write more posts on antennas.
#3. Make it look good.
It’s a real turn-off when I go to a blog and find that it’s using the WP default theme. The latest default theme, Twenty Eleven, doesn’t look as bad as the original default theme, but it still doesn’t have much personality. You want your blog to say something about you, and your blog’s theme should help you say it.
You don’t need a custom theme to make your blog look good. There are literally thousands of themes out there that you can use for free. What I would suggest is that you search for one that seems to fit your personality and then try it out. If you don’t like the way your particular blog looks with a theme, delete it and try a new one.
As you’re evaluating themes, remember that they can be modified to suit your taste. For example, many of the free themes come in garish colors, such as orange and red, but they can often be toned down if those colors are just not your style. If you don’t think you have the skills to do this yourself, hire a designer to do it for you. Customizing a stock theme isn’t expensive, and you’ll get a look that you like.
#4. Become part of the community.
The best way to get people to start reading your blog or read it more often is to become a part of whatever community it is that you’re trying to serve. For example, I blog about amateur radio, but I also participate in about a dozen amateur radio mailing lists and comment on other amateur radio blogs. Doing so helps establish my credibility as an amateur radio commentator and encourages people to visit my blog
Not only that, whenever I post a reply to one of the mailing lists, my signature contains a link to my blog. This allows readers to easily click over to my blog and see what I have to say on other topics in amateur radio. These links help my search engine ranking as well.
#5. Take advantage of plugins.
Chances are your blog is running on WordPress software. If that’s the case, then you should take advantage of the hundreds of plugins available for WordPress that will help you both provide better content as well as run your blog.
For example, one way to encourage reader interaction and get reader feedback is to set up polls. A quick search of the plugins available on WordPress.Org shows that there are 99 plugins available to allow you to publish polls. There are also plugins that allow you to improve your search engine optimization (SEO), easily set up contact forms, and automatically tweet about your latest blog posts. Very cool.
Can I help you?
I not only love blogging, but I love helping others make their blogs better. If I can help you with your blog, please let me know. You can phone me at 734-930-6564, e-mail me at email@example.com, or simply fill in the form below.
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