WHAT IS A BLOG?
- Good blogs need frequent updates. Key elements that identify a blog post from a static page include a publishing date, author reference, categories, and tags. Static website pages do not have any of these items.
- Blogs promote reader engagement. Readers get a chance to comment and voice their different concerns to the viewer. Static websites, on the other hand, consists of content presented on static pages that are rarely updated.
- The content changes. Blogs have the potential to offer something new each day, week, or month, depending on the blog owner’s publishing schedule, which keeps people coming back to read more.
Here is an example of a compelling Blog:
YOUR PURPOSE: Before starting your Blog, make sure you have an understanding of your target audience and your purpose behind creating an infographic:
- WHO are you looking to educate and inform?
- WHAT are you looking to educate and inform about?
- WHY are you looking to educate and inform?
YOUR FORMAT: When considering what kind of blog are you going to have, you may want to ask yourself questions like: What kind of feeling do you want readers to get from your blog? What will a typical post look like? What kind of tone will it have? Will your posts be short and uplifting? Thorough and helpful? Long and fascinating? Revealing? Authoritative?
Below is a list of a few Blog “types” that may help get your wheels spinning; of course, don’t forget to come up with your own ideas and pave a new road!
- The Rogue: Rogues, quite simply, attract attention — both good and bad. They take bold stances on divisive issues, and wins them both admirers and detractors.
- The Guest Host: Guest Host regularly features content from guest authors, but the person (or people) behind the blog will also regularly step back into the spotlight and write posts of their own.
- The Crash-Test Dummy: The Crash Test Dummy tests different strategies, techniques, and tools, then shares what works (and what doesn’t) so you can know what to implement and what to avoid.
- The Niche: Instead of broad topics, niche blogs get hyper-specific. When you narrow your focus to an ultra-specific topic, it’s easier to define exactly who your readers are and you can center attention on what you’re passionate about.
- The Giver: The Giver gives away free bonus content with every post. These “content upgrades” give an additional piece of content, created for a specific blog post, in exchange for an email address. This delivers more value to your audience, they’re also a great way to build your email list.
- The Guide: The Guide writes posts that help readers with their personal lives. Many bloggers utilizing this blog type discuss topics like personal development, life coaching, and/or spirituality.
- The Personal Brand: Is your personality a cornerstone of the blog you’re building? Is your name in the URL? Is your face all over the home page? Do you want to be known as you, or as the person who writes Blog XYZ? Personal Brand blogs are ideal for those who are seeking to position themselves as experts.
YOUR PROCESS: There is no recipe for how to craft the perfect blog and guarantee a large following. Below are a few recommendations from PCDN, based on years of blogging and reviewing blogs.
- Pick a topic you’re passionate about – This is one of the most important issues. Try to spend some time thinking about what are some of the most critical issues to you. Try to focus on topics that are timely; a blog doesn’t necessarily need to be completely new, but could explore an idea from a different perspective, or focus on an underexplored topic that you believe deserves more attention.
- Decide on your audience and goals – One of the things to consider is the intended audience for your blog. Is it something only for friends and family or for a global community? Is the blog mostly for you to express yourself, or do you also seek to reach out to a wider community?
- Read other blogs – Take some time to review other blogs that fall within your area of interest (as well in other realms). Seeing what others write about, how they design their blog sites ascetically, and what you like and don’t like, as well as what attracts attention can be the best way to learn.
- Don’t overthink – Many people spend hours trying to plan the perfect blog post. For some this may be the right process, but often it is best to start writing (as long as you have proofread and reviewed your entry) and once you feel comfortable put the blog out there.
- Ensure that your blog on a regular basis – To attract a following and interest, blogging once in a while is not sufficient. Blogging on a regular basis, such as every week, or twice a month (or whatever schedule works for you), is key.
- If a blog is unread does it exist – Most bloggers want their content to be read and viewed by others. In order to attract interest and a following, you will need to use social media tools (such as Twitter, Facebook, Linked, etc.) to promote your blog and encourage people to visit and read your content. A posted but unread blog will not, unfortunately, have any external impact.
Special Note: ETHICS
While blogging can be a great way to engage and share one’s ideas. It is essential to consider key ethical issues and potential risks:
Internet Content Is Usually Permanent. Before writing a blog, it is essential to think about what is posted as Internet content stays online for a very long time (and can be very difficult or impossible to erase).
Representation. If you’re blogging on behalf of a group or a cause, there are many issues of power and representation. Do you have the right to speak and represent a group?
Online Attacks. Many bloggers who post controversial ideas have been subject to online attacks in comment forums or other online platforms. One way to help prevent this is to have a site where comments are moderated.
Permissions. Ensure you have permission to use content and share yours – Before taking material from another source ensure that you have permission to use the content.
Resources For Creating Your Blog
Some popular blogging platforms are listed below, as well as an Infographic that contains 11 key suggestions for compelling blogging.