Successful Blog Posts

I’m always a sucker for articles like this “5 Tips for Successful Blog Posts“.

My thoughts are:

  • What could I be missing?
  • What could I be doing better?
  • Is there something else I could/should be doing?

If nothing else, it’s an opportunity for a little self-analysis.

That’s always a good thing.

So, here goes….the five points from the article.

Use the title to communicate value

In a digital world where you have so many reading options, that’s so important.  The best title I think I read ever was not a blog post but an essay that I read in university.  “On Being Old, Black, and Female in a Young, White, Male Society” or something really close.  You knew right away what the article was about and were immediately engaged and drawn to read further.  Personally, I find this the toughest and easiest part of blogging.  Sometimes, I know exactly what I want the title to say.  Sometimes, I write the entire post and then wonder what would be an appropriate title.  I haven’t found the magic bullet for it yet.  One thing that I have learned, is that the title is important BEFORE you post.  If you do provide a title, it shows up in the URL for the blog post.  If you don’t then WordPress generates one for you which basically gives the page a number like ?p=8032.  I like the named URL; it just looks tidier and more professional.

So many of my blog posts are written in advance.  If I have an idea, I’ll start a new blog post and throw the idea in there and then save it as a draft.  When I finally get ready to spell it out, I’ve already got my thoughts down.  But, if I haven’t given it a title, I’ll have the WordPress default.  It’s the little things.  (I know that I can go in and edit it later but I think I’ve only ever done that once.)

Write in your talking voice

I’ve read so many professional articles over the years.  There’s so much babble and filler in it that you can see why a dissertation is so lengthy.  If they cut the cruft, a lot of them would be blog posts.  I especially like reading posts that are passionate, opinionated and get to the point.  I do equate that to having a face to face conversation with someone.  Who wants to talk to a long winded person that throws in every obscure detail?  It seems like the way blowhards converse.  I hate it when they blog the same way!

When you read a post here, it’s just from a guy talking to his computer hoping that a few people will listen.

And for my proofreaders Sheila and Lisa, I’m better in person.  You don’t see the typos when I talk…

Use lists, short sentences, short paragraphs, images

Another.  Great.  Piece.  Of. Advice.

Provide value to the reader

That’s a tough one.  I think that most bloggers try to do that.  I’m realistic enough to know that sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t .  There are some posts where I pour my heart into it and get a sort of digital “meh” response to it.  Other times, I write really quickly and there is great reaction to it.

I haven’t been able to figure that one out yet.

But, I do believe that the key is to write and write lots.  You never know when you’re going to hit one out of the park and it feels so good when that does happen.

Finish off with a call to action

Definitely.  There used to be a time when I’d finish a blog post with a question “What do you think?”.  I don’t do that much any more.  It’s not that I don’t care; I like to hear thoughts on what I’ve written or suggested.  I like it when people retweet an announcement that a new blog post is up.

But to explicitly ask for your thoughts?  I don’t think it’s necessary.

Today’s online reader is a person that knows the lay of the land.  They know that they’re always welcome to share their thoughts or criticisms.  That’s what the reply button is for at the bottom of the post.  That’s why good blog posts always have a share to social media function.

I’m just not so sure that in the year 2015 that it needs to be said.

This was a good article and a good chance to think through some of the points.  But, just off hand, I can think of one more point that was missing.

Know Your Audience

I think this is so important.  I have a sense of just who visits here.  I look through the list of people who have subscribed to the mailing list or the reading list on WordPress.  I see who retweets on Twitter; I see who comments on Facebook.  I see those that are frequent readers and I like to engage in conversation with them.  I’ve met so many of them personally.  I’ve met others online.  They, er, you inspire me with your actions.

If you’re blogging on a personal level, I’d suggest that these are excellent points to consider.  If you’re planning to blog with students in the new year, these are great discussion points when you get started.

Hey, I just thought of a “Call to Action!”  Let’s get our digital friend, Sylvia, to make a Sketchnote of it!

OTR Links 06/28/2015

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.