My 7 golden rules of blogging
A while ago Matthijs (Insites Consulting’s Conversation Manager) wrote a short article about 7 reasons why blogs fail. Although these reasons are completely true I’m more interested in the reasons why some blogs succeed where most of them fail. As a blogging enthusiast for a while I’ll give you my 7 golden rules of blogging for all those who want to start an own blog. I don’t claim it’s the only way to succeed with blogging but I do know from my own experience these rules work.
This is a guest post by Peter Minkjan (@peterminkjan on Twitter), founder of the Dutch Facebook marketing blog FacebookPro.nl.
#1 Pick your niche
First of all, if you start your own blog, pick your niche. Where do want to focus on and how can you help others with your articles? Way to many blogs are having a too broad range of subjects they want to cover. Online marketing is too broad, so is social media. Try to narrow it down to one specific topic or one specific branch. Otherwise you’ll end up as bad copy of Mashable or TechCrunch. Picking a niche is quite simple, focus on that certain topic which you really like, where you’re knowledgeable on and write about the info that actually helps people who aren’t. OK, maybe it’s not THAT simple for all of us, but it’s crucial to start with.
#2 Read a lot about your niche
If you’ve picked your niche it’s important to know everything, or at least more than 90% of your audience, about your topic and… you must be constantly up to date. To accomplish that I use Google Reader, in which I’ve collected the RSS feeds of more than 200 blogs, and Twitter where I follow a lot of people in my field of expertise. Every morning I start with reading the headlines in Google Reader and check out my Twitter timeline. Within less than an hour I’m totally up to date and know what’s going on. I read the most interesting articles and share those on Twitter. After a while you”ll notice that a lot of blogs just duplicate the major blogs and a lot of Tweeps just retweet those messages. Go beyond that clutter! It takes some time and effort but it’s worth it.
#3 Go for quality, not quantity
Remember: you’re running a blog, not a newssite. Nobody expects you to publish multiple times per day or week new stories so why should you? Unless you don’t have a job you probably don’t even have the time to write that amount of articles. If you go for quantity you’re probably end up with a lot of short posts with a few lines of text, infographics grabbed from popular blogs, embedded video’s and translated posts from other blogs. And even then you will never out speed websites with full time editors. What’s the added value of that strategy? Zero to none. Instead, focus on quality; write posts which can be found nowhere else on the web. And yes, that often costs more time and it’s hard work but you’ll end up with articles which people actually read and isn’t that you’re goal with writing your blog posts or having a blog in the first place? Come up with something good that adds value for your readers or don’t even think of writing it.
#4 Blog because it’s fun
If you don’t agree with this headline don’t start a blog. Do it because you think it’s fun, you like it and nothing else. That’s the reason why you should start with thinking about your niche. Pick a niche which you actually like. Don’t do it because you think it’s looks cool to say you’re a blogger or that you will become rich with it. That might be the end result but it’s not an instant money maker. I’m only writing articles when I feel like it (luckily for me, that’s quite often) otherwise I just do other stuff. Life is too short to do boring stuff that isn’t necessary.
#5 Know SEO
The most important traffic driver to your blog will probably be Google. And unless you’re willing to pay for that traffic through AdWords you need to rely on organic traffic. To grow that traffic source you don’t have to be a SEO guru but you have to know the importance of the right keywords and backlinks for example. Learn at least the basics and follow some good blogs like SEOMoz to know the new developments in that field. One SEO tip from my side: write a guest post (like this one) regularly to gain backlinks and to enlarge your audience.
#6 Don’t care about the stupid critics
If you do like your topic (rule #1) and do thorough research on your (rule #2 & #3) you probably know what you’re writing about. If you combine that with rule #5 you will generate a fair amount of traffic to your blog. Some of those visitors will comment on your posts. The majority of these comments are constructive, formulated in a neat way and will help you to improve your future posts. But some comments are just from people who just want to be negative about you and your blog. They often respond without leaving their real names, make the comment off topic and below the belt and even go that far to investigate all your previous blogs and work to find any inconsistency to point at. Maybe even you will find some of those comments underneath this post. My advice: f#@ck them, accept that not everybody will like what you write and put your energy in something else. Blogging is fun, remember.
#7 Conversations matter
Actually, this reason doesn’t make any sense to me but Matthijs asked me to include the word conversation(s) so I do. After all, this blog is about conversation management, so hey, let me stick to the format. And by the way: I don’t care if you like it or not 😉 (see reason # 6)/.
These are my rules, what are yours?
I don’t claim that these are the only things you have to do to be success full at blogging, I just know they work really good for me. Let me know if you what you’re rules are and we might even have a conversation about it.