The world of blogs and blogging is one that is constantly evolving and adapting, as it integrates itself more and more, into our daily lives. In 2019, it has been recorded that there were at least 500 million active blogs from across the globe, and that number has continued to grow into 2020.
As there are so many blogs available to choose from nowadays, some written so fantastically, others not so much, how do we know how to find a good blog page? What are the characteristics of a good blog is a question that I hear so many people ask daily and is the topic that we are going to be exploring today!
Hello and Welcome to today’s blog!
I am James Sweeney, the Owner and Writer for my blog page, Sweeney’s Blogs. Over on Sweeney’s Blogs, I write about topics such as Stuttering, Stress, Mental Health and so much more! I started my page on February 3rd, 2019 and recently passed my 10,000 views milestone!
I have written over 180 blogs since I first created my page and the way in which I write has changed enormously. I have had the opportunity to communicate with a large assortment of bloggers, from all walks of life, and have had the chance to look at a grad number of different blog pages.
During my time blogging, I have started to notice subtle differences between the successful and not so successful blog pages and, of course, the writers behind those pages. For today’s blog, I am going to be taking a look into the characteristics of efficient and effective blog pages and I am going to be providing some tips and tricks for how to write a blog, from someone who has been there and done it!
Before I digress into the characteristics, a common mistake that I see a lot of people make, is that they do not know the difference between a blog, singular, and a blog page, allow me to address this before I move on.
A Blog is a singular post, an article or discussion that you have created.
A Blog Page is the page/website where all of the blogs are kept, it acts as an Index for each blog you write.
So, without further ado, let’s get into what I look for in a blog!
1 -The Story/Reason behind the Blog
A lot of bloggers write blogs to tell a story, or for sharing an experience that they have gone through in life. A blog allows you to express and spread the story on a platform where you can connect with your readers. When I, and I know this is the same for a lot of other people, look for a blog to read, I often look for the story behind the blog, stick with me on this one.
When I say the story/reason behind the blog, I mean why have you got the page? What are you hoping to achieve from it? Are you there to share and tell stories? To inform and educate? To create discussions and debates? A blog can be a very powerful tool for any one of those questions and so many more, so the question still stands, what is your pages story?
For me, I created my blog page during my first year of University. I have grown up with a bad stutter, I have had experiences where I have not handled stress very well in the past and I have had some issues with my own Mental Health. I created my page to raise awareness, to discuss the topics that are so often left swept under the rug, to highlight the I in difference.
I’ll bring the question back for you now, why are you writing blogs? Or if you haven’t started yet, why do you want to? What is your story?
2 – Asking open questions
When you are writing blogs, asking questions can be a really great way to interact with your audience. There is a big difference, however, between asking open questions, and asking closed questions. I always encourage people to ask open questions, avoid closed questions wherever possible.
A closed question is where there are only a select number of answers, that the responder can provide. An example would be asking the question: did you enjoy today’s blog? That question will only get responses such as “yes” or “no”, one-word answers. If you were to ask what do you think about today’s blog? Or have you learned anything new in today’s blog? If so, what is it? Then you would be much more likely for a more in-depth answer which can open the lines of communication between you, the blogger, and the reader.
Where you ask the questions, is completely up to you. Quite a few people I know only ask the questions at the end of the post, some ask throughout and others, simply don’t ask! I like to aske a few questions at the start, to allow the reader to think as they go through the blog and then some questions at the end, for them to think on later!
3 – Listen to your readers!
Listening is one of the most important things you can do in life and blogging poses no change to the that. Listening to your readers in regard to your blog page can be interpreted in a number of different ways.
Firstly, if some of your readers want to see you write about a certain topic, I highly encourage you to try and do it. Blogging is a two-way relationship; you write things that you enjoy, while also writing things that some people want to see. I am a firm believer in always writing what you want, but if a lot of people want to see you cover a certain topic, where is the harm in that?
Another way to look at listening to your readers can be with your blog series. Blog series are a collection of blogs which all relate to one centralised theme. An example would be the Looking into Male Mental Health series that I ran on my page. The series looks at different aspects of Male Mental Health and how they related back to the main theme.
As I would go through the series, I would be consistently asking my readers, what else would you like to see me cover in the series. Although I had a plan for what I wanted the series to be, I added a layer of flexibility to it, so that I could capture the most out of the series. When writing series’ too, it is important to monitor the views that you are getting. Views do generally decrease in a series overtime but if you are only getting between 1-5 views on each new blog, then is it worth keeping the series going?
4 – Selling on a blog
If you are creating a blog simply to sell things, I would tread with great caution. I have not yet tried to sell anything on my page, but I may be looking at doing so in the future when I launch as a full-time business. There is a huge mistake that I see people make when they are making ‘Sales Blogs’, they instantly try to sell, sell, sell, and that simply does not work.
If you are making a blog for sales, add some variety there. Make posts that inform readers, catch their attention first. Maybe if you are looking to sell a product, why not do a blog on how it works? How people have reviewed it? Why it is a good product? You don’t have to sell, to get people to learn about and look at your product, visualisation is key!
This ties back into point number 1, what is the story of the product? What is it all about? What is the point of the blog? Simply to sell? To sell and inform? Think about the what and the why behind the page, before you simply ‘do.’
5 – Variety
Variety is the spice of life as the old saying goes! When I look at a blog page, the first thing I see is the content, it is what I look for. If you have a blog page where you are just talking about the same topic day in day out, week in week out, then at some point people will start to lose interest. If you are covering different views of an idea, great, but if not, please try and change it up a bit!
I like to cover a little bit of anything and everything on my page. I have podcast reviews, positivity blogs, traveling stories, Mental Health experiences and so much more! If you have a large variety of content, people will always love to see what you come up with next! Be exciting, be different, be you!
6 – Don’t be bias
There are two sides to every story, something that is very true when it comes to writing and publishing blogs. When writing about different topics, please try and refrain from letting bias have an impact on you. As a blogger you should be taking both sides of the argument, adding in your view and then making a decision.
If somebody does not agree with you too, that does not mean that they or you are wrong. There can be a lot if instances where there are no right or wrongs answers and it is all down to interpretation. Listen to what each of you is saying, you never know, you could learn something new!
I have seen so many blogs go down the route of being biased or simply attacking other blog pages and it is something that I never like to see. I used to follow a really great page that started doing this and now they are not around anymore. They used their page as a way to attack others and all it ended up doing was destroying their own page.
Use your blog page to be kind, spread positive messages, raise awareness. Do not let bias sway your judgement and take toy down a road that you won’t even know you are going down.
There we have it! There is 6 tips and tricks for how to make the most of your blog! These are things that I look for when checking out blog pages, I you think differently, that is completely fine! It is all down to your own perspective! One last tip that I would like to finish on is be true to yourself.
It is far to easy to act like somebody else when writing a blog, to put on a “brave face” so to speak. Take it from someone who nearly did himself, it will not benefit you as much as simply being yourself will. Growing a blog takes times, as long as you are genuine and true to yourself you will find readers who appreciate you and you will be successful, I have every faith in you!
Thank you all for reading today’s blog! What do you all think? What do you look for in a blog? Are there any things you try and avoid in a blog? Do you own a page or are thinking of starting one soon? Let us know, we’ll be delighted to talk it through!
Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great day!