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More on Writing Content for your Blog

Posted By Darren Rowse 21st of February 2006 Writing Content 0 Comments

Much more could be written about writing effective blog posts – but rather than keep this series going for a month or two I’ll break my ‘granular post’ advice and make a few brief miscellaneous comments on writing content to help fill out the topic (with links for most to places I’ve written more on the topics):

  • Interactive Blogging – While occasionally I come across a blogger that doesn’t want too much interaction with their readers I get a lot of questions from bloggers asking how to get MORE interaction – particularly around how to have a more interactive comments section. While a major impact upon comments is the number of visitors you have on your blog there are definitely strategies for getting more comments (also check out this post on The Secret to Interactive Blogging). The main tip I’d give on this is to be interactive with the readers you have. Start with what you’ve got and build from there rather than complaining about what you don’t yet have.

  • Copyright – This point is so important that it deserves it’s own post (perhaps someone would like to write one and I’ll link to you). But keeping it brief I’ll say this – acknowledge your sources, use quotation marks when you’re writing something that is not your own words, link to those who inspire your ideas or whom you quote and if want to publish something that is longer than a few paragraphs ask for permission first. Use your manners and you’ll also probably be within the law (my lawyer friends will kill me for that one – but in most cases I’ve found it to be true). A little more on this topic at The Etiquette of Linking.
  • Names are Important – 42% of SE searches are for product, brand and or company names. If you want to be found by people using search engines you might want to consider your use of names as keywords!
  • Quality AND Quantity – Quality of posts is so important – I don’t know any reputable blogger who wouldn’t agree with that, but a little written about tip that I’m also a believer is that most successful blogs also have large quantities of content. I’m not arguing for loads of meaningless and unhelpful posts, but one area to consider in taking your blog to the next level can be how to generate larger quantities of posts on your blog.
  • Relevancy – I was speaking with one blogger last week who told me that his strategy for keeping his blog frequently updated was to put a full day each week into writing content for his blog where he’d write 10 to 15 posts all at once. Then he’d set his posts to go off throughout the week – two per day. This is a good strategy on some levels as it does help keep your blog ticking over – but the problem this blogger runs into is that his blog is a news related blog and that writing 7 days in advance means the posts are a week out of date by the time they appear. Frequent posting is one thing – relevant and fresh content is another. If your strategy is to use advance posts it might be worth starting a blog in a non time specific niche and genre.
  • Time Specific and Evergreen Posts – Related to this last point is that some posts are more ‘time specific’ than others. Some posts are out of date within a day or two of writing them (and as a result won’t ever be looked at much) whereas other posts are more ‘evergreen’ in nature (ie they will be as useful to your readers today as they will be in a year’s time). It’s worth pondering this topic and deciding what type of posts you’re going to concentrate upon. I’ve written on this further at Evergreen versus Time Related Posts and in a mini series on Increasing the Longevity of Key Posts.
  • Establish Boundaries – One of my first ever posts was on the topic of setting boundaries for your blogging. This is both for your own sake (personal safety etc) but also for that of your readers (in that boundaries can cover what is and isn’t acceptable for your readers to contribute to discussions etc and that it’s good for them to know what to expect on your blog in terms of topic).
  • Mix up your Sources – A problem that I’ve seen some bloggers struggling with recently (and fall into the trap of myself from time to time – especially when tired or in a rush) is to get into a rut in terms of the other blogs and news sources that are used behind stories. While it will be natural to be linking repeatedly to blogs in your own field it can get to the point where every post you post links to the one place. While the blogger you’re linking to probably doesn’t mind, your readers could well get to the point where they just read the other blog rather than yours. Mix it up.
  • Using Story, imagination, emotion – I’m not going to say much in this one except to get your hands on a copy of a book called Lovemarks (aff link) which, among other things, talks about how sensuality, mystery and emotion are being used more and more in marketing. I think there are some great hints in this for bloggers.

I’m sure a lot more can (and will) be said about writing content for your blog – feel free to add your own tips to the mix in comments below.

Read more of my ‘writing good content’ tips in the Blogging for Beginners Series.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. One interesting subset is the subject of foreign readers. I apparently get quite a few non native English speaking visitors, who sometimes leave comments in broken english or even in their own language. I try to make them feel comfortable and welcome (tech stuff is hard enough without a language barrier!) but eventually would like to do more.

    I don’t think automatic translation software is at the point where I could use that, so I’ve been thinking about offering someone a share of advertising revenue in exchange for translations. I think that could be a great adjunct.

  2. pcunix, you bring up a very interesting topic. Most blogs, even technical ones, only draw people who speak the blog’s language as their first language. The internet is saturated with English, leaving a lot of opportunity for foreign blog content. I think having one blog with multiple languages (clearly separated) is a great idea when applicable to the content. I think your idea of paying a share of ad revenue for translations is a very good one.

  3. Well, I thought it was a good idea too, so I put up a post ( http://aplawrence.com/Misc/translators.html ) and have already had one response.

    I truly feel empathy for people with a poor grasp of English trying to read tech stuff: it is almost all English and it has to be very frustrating at time – particularly when we (the writers) are a little sloppy or use humor or slang.

    But any site (even Darren’s here) could benefit, and the idea of sharing revenue (I’m offering ad space they can use for whatever they like – promote their own site or even their favorite charity) might just work well.

    I think I’ll also do a little Adwords promotion on this.. can’t hurt.

  4. helena says: 02/21/2006 at 9:57 am

    Most blogs, even technical ones, only draw people who speak the blog’s language as their first language..
    Well, that’s exaggerating. There are millions of us who have a different first language, but who can read English just fine.

  5. I am excited to get a blog started but I have so many interests that I find it hard to limit my writing to specific categories. I am hoping this will help drive traffic to my blog and gain regular contributers. I am a web developer but I am not very familiar with how to increase traffic to my blog. Do I just go around to the bigger blogs and leave comments with links back to my blog?

  6. […] More on Writing Content for your Blog – Darren Rowse (Tips to make content do the trick) […]

  7. […] Writing Content for your Blog from ProBlogger’s Blogging for Beginners series – some good stuff for everyone, not just beginners. I’m sure we could benefit from mixing our sources more, rather than just posting ten things in a row from Make:, then doing the same thing the next day from Boing Boing. […]

  8. […] Writing Content for your Blog from ProBlogger’s Blogging for Beginners series – some good stuff for everyone, not just beginners. I’m sure we could benefit from mixing our sources more, rather than just posting ten things in a row from Make:, then doing the same thing the next day from Boing Boing. […]

  9. Meredith says: 11/20/2007 at 11:39 am

    oh woe is the creepy crawlies that slowly creep across the interenet, making it far more a wasteland then before.. got to love the 2 posts above.

  10. Hello,

    I have to say I get a bit confused about this. I am not sure that I speak particularly properly, but I really like to write reasonably well. Yet, we are encouraged to write as we speak. Does that include grammar and spelling? So if I was from the Eastend of London, would I write:

    “Me an’ my ol’ man wen’ daan ta Sarfend on the weekend.”

    Translation : “My husband (Old Man) and I went to Southend this weekend.”

    Well, I hope that no-one thinks people should, although it would be quite funny.

    So do people read my blog and think oh she isn’t writing as she is speaking? That wouldn’t be fair because I really do try to write as I think.

    Anyway, that’s my thought,

    Ruth Stewart

  11. Christina,

    There are lots of ways to get traffic to your blog, and writing on high profile sites is just one of them.

    If you have membership to social networking sites you can link in with them, and that will help gain traffic.

    Also, you can join twitter, this helps because you will gather friends and followers in a relatively short time and then post a note on there that says “I have just updated my blog at http://www.yourdomain.com” and people will go and visit it, to see what you have been up to.

    You can also make a squidoo lens or more than one since you have more than one subject. They can focus traffic to your blog.

    I could go on all day telling you different ways to get traffic to your blog because I am mentored by Alex Jeffreys and we are right in the middle of two modules about traffic, but that will do for a start off. We have to blog about what we are doing to get traffic, so if you come to my blog you will see what I have tried. Also, use some of the links to others in my team’s blogs, they will have great advice too.

    Best wishes with your blog,

    Ruth Stewart

  12. Article Blogs and Reposting

    It seems advantageous all around to repost articles if it makes them substantially better.

    For the reader, reposted articles can be:
    More current.
    More comprehensive.
    Increased content.
    General improvement in wording, style, images etc.

    Benefits to the blogger:
    Takes the pressure off producing a solid, satisfying article the first time.
    Posts can improve. Blog gets better.
    An important article need not fade into the sunset of time.

    I first did this on my blog with post #4 moving it up to #68. Carried forward once again (perhaps unpublished) the reposts could form the chapters of a book.

    A problem I have with this (in Blogger) is that any links to the old post will no longer work. For now and with my programming skills I will just place a link to the updated article which will have a new date and sit at the top of the blog. It will not just fade away to the bottom.

    This seems a reasonable when it is a solid benefit to the blog.

    Any suggestions?

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