Thursday, March 27, 2014

How to Blog Like a Boss

If you're here, it's because you want to add power, sassiness, and that special sauce to your blog. You want to rock your readers' worlds until they come back for more, time and time again. Well, unfortunately, it's not easy. With these tips, however, you can make it happen. Blog on!

How to Blog

How to Blog

First, a definition:

What do I mean when I say "blog like a boss?"
A boss blogger connects with their readers, sees continuous growth, and creates a following.
This doesn't mean you'll make money, but a strong, capable, and growing blog has no reason not to in the long-run.

1. Embrace the ego.

To blog successfully, you need a blog personality. That might be of you, or a version of you, but there's a person there. People will read for your content, but they'll come back for the personality.

You need to share that identity through your writing style, social media, layout, and more. Embrace this mentality, and use it completely.

If you're edgy, be edgy. If you add in this soothing, easy-going voice while you try to be a "world rocker," it might confuse your readers.

Tip: Write out a list of 5 key adjectives that describe this personality. Incorporate those whenever possible, and only write in a way that embraces at least one or more of those at all times.

2. Be the main contributor.

When your blog grows and becomes more popular, it can become more work. Then, many bloggers start reaching out to guest bloggers to ease the load.

Bad idea!

There's nothing wrong with guest bloggers in theory, and they can be great if you want to network and spread the word.

But, your readers want you. In fact, they might stop reading entirely if you aren't the main contributor.
If you can't be in charge of 90% of all content, you need to slow down a little so your needs and goals match what is possible on your schedule. Don't outsource your voice or your readers will go away.

3. Write regularly.

Whether you write once a week or once a day, you need to write regularly. Develop a set schedule. Do publish at least once a week. Anything less is too little.

My tip: Create an editorial calendar. Focus on publishing once or twice a week for now, and draw out a map of specific titles so as to hit all of your key topics each month. Otherwise, your blog may become too heavy in this area or another.

4. Write smoothly.

Writing for the web is not the same as writing for your English classes. It takes an entirely different set of skills, including web design, marketing, PR, aesthetics, and more.

Here are 5 tips to optimize every post:
  1. Always have a strong title.
  2. Write about one clear topic (don't use your post to catch up on a variety of topics).
  3. Range between 500-1,500 words in each post.
  4. Add unique or engaging (and legally attributed) pictures (at least 1).
  5. Optimize every post for search engines (For WordPress: install WordPress SEO by Yoast.)

5. Use the Call-to-Action.

To blog like a boss, you need a following. There are people who will want to follow you, but they might not know it.

Create the following by converting the energy and excitement you've already created by utilizing the call-to-action (CTA). You need at least one that's static. For example, prompt readers to sign up for the email list or Like your page on Facebook in the sidebar.

But, you also need to add a CTA to the beginning and/or end of every post (end is best for now). Ask the reader a question, and tell them to comment below. Recommend them to read the next post, or sign up for your email list right there.

Readers are often open to these ideas, but they don't necessarily act unless you say so. You're missing these great contacts if you don't engage the enthusiasm your readers already have.

6. Do not write for money.

Why do you blog? Are you there for the money? Well, stop it.

The money might come eventually, but it usually takes over a year of hard work and even then, it might be $10 here or there. It will not be right away.

Instead, focus on building your blog and its persona. Take advantage of social media, and create custom, killer content. In the meanwhile, go ahead and add Google AdSense to learn how it works. Stick to one ad, and don't clutter the screen.

A note on ads: optimize for your audience. This is why I recommend Google AdSense. Google can optimize ads for each specific reader, which increases conversion. You might like your hosting company, but your readers might not be in the market for such a service.

7. Focus on the reader.

Before you write, think of how each potential post can help your reader. Why would they read it? What would they want to know?

Before you publish your website, think of how your reader would navigate your site. Is it clunky? Does it look good? Is it self-explanatory? Are your posts easy to find? Do you use a weird lingo?

Focus every inch of your blog on your reader, then lace everything with a strong personality.
Everyone's selfish. Readers are selfish. They won't keep reading just to be nice. Give them a reason to come back time and time again, and you'll find success.

8. Aesthetics matter.

One of the biggest mistakes I see on the web is that bloggers neglect to value aesthetics.
Focus on simple, straightforward, and minimal designs when in doubt.
You do not need 5 different fonts, 10 different color schemes, and pop-up ads. Instead, build your website so that everything falls into its own place. Don't add anything more than you need.

If your readers get a headache looking at your screen or plugins overlap in an unsightly way, they'll disappear.

And yes, it is harder to have a simple site. You have to make concessions, especially with advertising. But, in the end, it will make it much more enjoyable and easy-on-the-eyes for your fans!

9. Feed it.

Hopefully by now, you've realized the value of an email list. It can be difficult to decide what to do. Here's how I manage the need for email subscriptions, email marketing, and RSS feeds.

Here's what I do:

Instead of RSS feeds, which very few of my readers use, I burned a feed on Google's Feedburner.
Then, I integrated that feed with my MailChimp email subscription list. Now, my readers get a customized, visually-appealing email with each update instead of the more simplistic Feedburner options available.

The extra plus: now your RSS list is linked to your email list. You can now use these email lists to send updates, like holiday letters, special offers, or new events.

In the past, you might have all of these things woefully separate. By linking your RSS feed to your email list, you can simplify everything, generate a far more user-friendly and aesthetically-pleasing email, and build an email list.

How do you rock your blog?

Hey, not every blog or blogger or audience is the same! What works for me and my fellow bloggers might not work for you.

Author:  Michel Kery

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