Posted by on Jul 17, 2011 in Blogging | 9 comments

Report Card on Blogging

Here’s the checkup: ‘better, but still needs improvement.” After spending the last 60 days working on  regular blogging, I had a conversation with Mark Schaefer and asked “so, Mark what suggestions would you give me to make me better?” Mark’s response resulted in a post that he put on {Grow}. I agreed to not steal his thunder, but here is the summary specifically as it applied to me.

  1. ‘Sweat the Headline’ – Spend twice as long working on the interesting, attention-grabbing headline as writing the post. While the SEO guy in me wants to write keyword-rich headlines, the reality is that most of my quality traffic is referred through social networks, so for me, it is important to write a headline that is interesting.
  2. Earn the Right to Write – I think this is great advice for me. As an old boss used to tell me regarding my voicemails and emails, “truncate, truncate, truncate.” In the meantime, the practical approach for me is to split some of the lengthier posts into 2-3 separate posts.
  3. Cut the First 1/3 -In great college papers you tell the audience what you are going to tell them, you give all the reasons that you are going to tell them, and then finally 10 pages later you tell them what you’ve been waiting to tell them. That doesn’t work in the blogosphere. People simply don’t have the attention span.

In addition, I would add the following tips:

Proofread – When I am in publish mode, I am inspired to write that post and get it on the internets as quickly as possible. In nearly every post that I write, I can find multiple typos if I take the time to re-read it. Although Twitter, texts, blogs and the new user-content-generated world are peppered with grammatical errors and typos, it does not change the negative perception of written errors. If you struggle finding the errors have someone else read your post, let it sit for a few days and read it cold, read the post backwards, or even consider paying someone or service to proof your content.

Read it Aloud – Blogs are not dissertations. They need to be conversational, so it is really helpful to read the blog aloud either alone or with someone else to hear that voice.

Kill it if You Can – This is one of the hardest tasks for the writer. Reread the blog looking for phrases, sentences, and even paragraphs to cut. While it may seem like the greatest bit in the world, you have to ask whether it is critical to ‘this’ post. Die hard could have been 5 1/2 hours long, but who would have watched it? A bunch of great scenes made their way to the cutting room floor.

Keep a Running List of Headlines – How do you keep a steady supply of blog topics? The inspiration is not always there, so it is good to keep a running list of topics handy.

How do you grade your blog? What are other tips that you suggest for better blogging?

Thumbnail photo used via creative commons license by @pjern. Main photo used via creative commons license by @victoriabernal.