1. Be You
One of the greatest hindrances to successful blogging is trying to be someone else. You are not someone else. You will never be someone else. You are you!
You are unique and one-of-a-kind. You have amazing gifts and talents that many people don’t. You have a perspective on life that no one else in the whole wide world does, because no one else is you. Learn from other bloggers, but figure out who you are and be you.
2. Be Confident
It’s easy to become discouraged and to feel completely inadequate when you see other bloggers who seem to have more creativity, a cuter blog, a more-frequently-updated blog, more traffic, more comments, more Facebook followers and on and on it goes. You can spend so much time worrying about not measuring up that you completely lose sight of what you have to offer as a blogger.
As I used to tell a dear friend of mine who often felt incompetent as a blogger (and who has now gone on to create a wildly successful blog), “Don’t be mouse-y!” Any time spent sitting and sulking about your lack of ability or worrying about what people will think of you is time that is wasted.
3. Be Engaging
Interact with your readers and respond to their comments and emails as much as you can. Ask your readers for their advice and input and listen to what they have to say. Your readers want to know that you value them. And you should, because without them, you’d have no audience to write for!
Don’t be afraid to try new things — even if they fail. Don’t always post the same things in the same way. Throw in some off-topic posts, photos or videos every now and then. Occasional surprises and unexpected posts will help keep things exciting.
4. Be Real
Readers aren’t looking for perfectionism, they are looking for real-ness. We all make mistakes and we all have our areas we struggle with. Don’t try to pretend that you have all your ducks in an alphabetized row.
Be honest, be open and be vulnerable (when appropriate). People will connect with authenticity but they will run from hypocrisy.
5. Be a Perfectionist
This might seem to fly in the face of being real, but I’m not talking about being perfect as a person, but about being thorough and detailed as a blogger. Frequent typos and blatant grammar errors are irritating.
Sloppiness will never get you far. Always proof your posts at least twice before publishing them. Constantly seek to improve as a writer. Read books and blogs written by good writers. Critique your writing and ask others to do the same.
Please, please, please do not use massive paragraphs without paragraph breaks. This is one of the easiest ways to turn people off from reading your blog. Blog paragraphs should be no more than a few lines long so that people can read them easily on a computer screen.
Three more don’ts: Don’t center the text. Don’t use exclamation points, all caps or ellipses excessively. Don’t use multiple fonts.
Use paragraph headings or points in articles that are longer than a few paragraphs. Include graphics and/or photos on most posts. And did I mention how important it is to proof-read your posts before hitting publish?
Bonus Point: Be Careful
If you share something in a public forum like your blog, you can never completely take it back. Always assume everyone in the whole world may read what you write.
Don’t use names, photos or other identifying information without thinking carefully about the potential ramifications. It’s better to be safe, than sorry.
What about you? What are your best suggestions for creating top-notch content?
Next week we’ll talk about five ways to increase your blog’s readership.