A blog is a terrible thing to waste.
Whether you are an artist, a writer, or an entrepreneur, a blog is effective way to promote your art or your enterprise.
For starters, search engines reward fresh relevant content with higher rankings, so every blog post delivers an installment of you, increasing your online visibility. The steady drumbeat of a regular blog also draws you closer to your audience.
And creatively, a blog allows you to explore concepts and collaborate through crowdsourcing and commenting.
But will your blog be built to last—or will it be one of the many that have withered and died, abandoned on the side of the road in cyberspace? Blog search engine Technorati estimates there are more than 400 million blogs. Yet, Technorati estimates that nearly 95 percent of blogs are abandoned.
Here are some suggestions to help ensure your blog survives and thives:
Perform a Gut-check
Not every project warrants a web site, nor does every ode of inspiration need airing on a blog. A blog is a serious commitment. Ask yourself honestly, when the puppy lust fades, will you have enough left in the tank to solider on? When everyone else abandons you, will you abandon your blog?
Remember, failure follows you.
Think “Inside” the Box
Don’t bite off more of cyberspace than you can chew. The most successful blogs are the most focused. Carving out your own niche distinguishes your blog from other 400 million. Think inside the box, as in what box does your blog fit in. What is the driving theme? It should have enough substance to generate plenty of topics, but not be too broad that you are regurgitating what others are writing. And sometimes it’s not the subject itself that stands out, but the perspective of the blogger.
Refine Your Online Media Diet
No blog is an island. Your theme may be a unique take on a mainstream issue, but you are still one of many voices in the blogosphere. Discern the din and dig for like-minded compatriots and opposing opiners alike. Create an RSS feed or Google Alert that pools as many relatable sources that you can reasonably digest. You are part of the larger conversation, whether you like it or not.
Write What You Know About and Inhabit Your Theme
You vision and artistic expression will evolve, as the community and genre you pursue. Establish yourself as a subject matter expert, as best you can. Study how other bloggers near your niche do what they do, when they do it, and how they do it. Form alliances. Seek out original sources of information and cite real data. Being well grounded will help you think conceptually and write confidently.
Embrace the Technology
We can provide you with your very own blog, or you can select one of the many free blogging software services available. Ask around and look at other blogs. Make notes of what you like and what you don’t. Take some training, view a few YouTube tutorials. And make sure you are comfortable enough with the technology so it is a tool you can actually use.
Form Your Own Focus Group
Your blog doesn’t have to look the best, but it also should not look like the worst. Form your own focus group for friends and solicit feedback from those whom you trust on your blog name and theme. Fortune favors the bold, so put yourself out there and demand honest feedback and not just what Mom thinks. And don’t kill the messengers just because they don’t appreciate their honesty. Grow the thick skin you’ll likely need later for fielding those negative comments some people always seem compelled to post.
Set an Expiration Date
Sometimes, projects or issues and the blogs they represent should not run forever. Set a goal for your blog tied to milestones (selling a book, branching out a business, going on tour with your band). Share with your audience the inevitability that once that objective is completed, you plan to retire the blog. Use it to build suspense. You can even use a countdown clock. Oh, and when you say you’re going to retire, retire. Don’t be the Brett Farve of the blogosphere.
Be Consistent and Active
Online audiences have such short attention spans as it is, that when you do manage to get the herd to trample in direction, don’t confuse them with a haphazard posting schedule. You don’t have to post every day. You’re not Perez Hilton. Two to three times per week is more than enough. To help ensure you can get on a schedule that works, write up 30 or so “evergreen” blog posts you can keep in the can for those weeks when you’re not feeling so fresh.
Don’t Be Disappointed With Early Light Traffic
What if I threw a party and no one came? Bloggers can be terribly insecure. You are building a body of evidence as much as you are building an audience. You may be convinced the world would be a better place with your blog in it, but it may take time for you to gain some traction. The hordes may come, or they may not. But unless you’ve got the budget for a Super Bowl ad, expect more of a trickle than a torrent.
If there is one certainty in cyberspace, it is that you’re not going to get it right on the first try. Now flexibility is not the same thing as inconsistency, but if something is not working for you, change it. Make adjustments. Grow with your blog and fulfill your vision.
FOR THOSE ABOUT TO BLOG, WE SALUTE YOU!
To contact Craig McGuire directly, please email Craig@BrooklynCreativePartners.com.
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