Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Blogging tips

​There's a lot of content out there on the Internet - somewhere between 3 and 4 billion pages. Have you ever wondered how many blog posts, articles, tweets, status updates and so on go nearly or completely unread? If you're going to take the time to write something, especially as lengthy as a blog update or article, you should spend some time ensuring people can actually find your content. No matter how useful your content is, it's worthless if it can't be found. In this short blog update, I'll post a few of my tips for helping to ensure people find and read your content (and find it useful).

Tip 1) Ensure your site can be found by search engines. For Google, you can submit your content to be crawled and indexed here. For Bing, you can submit your site here. Are there any other search engines? Yes. Do they matter? That's open to discussion, but it's out of scope for this blog post for me to go into how to submit URLs to every search engine out there. You can search for ways to do that.

Tip 2) Add ways to drive people to your content. Put a bold link to your blog or other site content in your profiles (e.g., Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.). If you own multiple sites and your blog would be useful to the readers of your other site(s) (or vice-versa), post reciprocal links on each. I put a link to my blog in my email signature when emailing people who might be interested in my blog's content, which focuses on SharePoint, Project Server and other technologies.

Tip 3) See if people are finding your content and what the trends are. In Blogger, site owners can go to the dashboard, overview and look for the Stats page. You can view various reports showing the number of pageviews overall and for specific pages/posts.

Tip 4) Pick a subject and stick with it. It will be difficult for you  to attract an audience with random blog posts covering various topics that have nothing in common. The same can be said for other social networking content (e.g., Twitter and other microblogging tools). Unless you're a comedian, celebrity or other person capable of attracting and entertaining people with shear personality, to get audience and have them find your content useful, choose a topic you are a subject matter expert on, and make updates related to that topic.

Tip 5) Update your content frequently enough so you're introducing new and useful content and not considered stagnate, but not so frequently that people can't keep up. I aim for updating my blog once a month. Some topics and other social networks should be updated more frequently.

Tip 6) Post references to other content, never plagiarize. That's simple enough. You learned this in high school or college. You can read content and build your own ideas base on the content you read, but don't steal content or ideas and pretend they are your own.

Tip 7) Write well. There are plenty of books on writing well, and plenty of articles. You don't need to be Oscar Wilde or Jane Austen, but you should strive for correct spelling and grammar, and should use language that is not over-complicated nor too wordy. Don't aim for a 6th grade reading level, but on the other hand, do aim for language that is concise, accurate and not polluted with large words or unexplained acronyms.

I hope these tips help you in creating some useful content of your own on your blog or site, or help you improve existing content. Finally, this blog is a social networking tool - feel free to be social and post constructive comments or tips of your own, or contact me directly.