5 ways to building a better blog

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Although the [blogosphere](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blogosphere) is a new space on the web, it is starting to become a crowded. Millions of bloggers are writing on a daily basis and many of them are writing on similar topics. Because of the sheer number of blogs fighting for the same eyeballs, it is becoming harder to become popular, so the question is how do you make your blog stand out from the rest?
Most blogs have 1 major thing in common, they are content centric. Content is going to get new visitors to your blog and keep your old readers reading. Here are some things to keep in mind when writing blog posts.
1. Write quality content that readers can benefit from. If people cannot get something out of your content, what’s the point of them reading your blog?
2. Write on a consistent basis. There is nothing wrong with blogging on a daily, weekly or even on a monthly basis, but whatever your blogging schedule is, try to keep it consistent.
3. Participate in conversations, it allows you to give your input on the latest happenings. This is also a great way to gain readers from other blogs.
4. Keep your content short and to the point. [Om Malik](http://www.gigaom.com) once said that it is better to write something in 500 words than 1000 words. Readers are also less likely to read a 1000 word post compared to a 500 word post.
[Steve Krug](http://www.sensible.com/) wrote a book called [Don’t Make Me Think](http://www.sensible.com/buythebook.html) and that’s exactly what you should be aiming for when visitors comes to your blog. If they are looking to read your content they should be able to find it and read it with ease. If they want to subscribe to your blog, they should be able to find your RSS feed with ease. Whatever it might be, you want to make it as easy for your readers as possible.
Here are a couple things to keep in mind.
* Your website’s content should be easy to read as well as easy to navigate.
* Make it easy for people to find your content by using categories and by having a search feature on your blog.
* Make your RSS subscription button easy to access for anyone looking to read your content from a RSS reader.
* Limit the options and features on your blog. Why have tons of features when 90 percent of your visitors only use a handful of them.
* Try to avoid technical jargon when possible and when you cannot try to explain the jargon in as few words as possible.
You can have the best blog in the world, but it does not matter if people cannot find it. Use search engines, blog search engines and the social mediums to bring visitors into your blog.
Search engines – Make sure your blog is optimized for search engines ([Google](http://www.google.com), [Yahoo](http://www.yahoo.com), [MSN](http://www.msn.com)…), that way you have a good chance of getting traffic from them. There are many online documents that give step by step instructions on how you can [optimize your blog](http://www.pronetadvertising.com/articles/optimizing-your-blog-for-search-engines.html).
Blog search engines – ping the blog search engines through services like [Ping-o-matic](http://pingomatic.com/) and [Pingoat](http://www.pingoat.com/). That way when you post a new entry people can find it through blog search engines such as [Technorati](http://www.technorati.com) and [IceRocket](http://www.icerocket.com).
Social mediums – Get your content out on sites like [digg](http://www.digg.com) or [del.icio.us](http://del.icio.us). If can manage to get on the digg homepage or on del.icio.us popular you will get thousands of new visitors coming to your website within minutes.
Try to differentiate yourself from your competition. Standing out is not always a bad thing, if your blog stands out from the crowd it will draw more attention and potentially make it more popular. You might be able to do this through [tools](http://tools.seobook.com/firefox/seo-for-firefox.html), [videos](http://www.rocketboom.com/vlog/) or even through your [content](http://www.startup-review.com/blog/); whatever it may be just try to stand out from everyone else in a good and unique way.
The most important thing that a blogger can do is listen to his/her readers. It is not all about you, it is all about the reader. You can have a great blog, but if you ignore your readers sooner or later they will ignore you and even stop reading your blog. So don’t leave your readers stranded, make sure you listen and respond to them. You don’t always have to do what they want, but you have to listen.

Neil Patel
Neil Patel is the co-founder of KISSmetrics, an analytics provider that helps companies make better business decisions. Neil also blogs about marketing and entrepreneurship at Quick Sprout.
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  • http://www.mysan.de/ Jakob Montrasio-Fan

    Thank you for the useful tips! I absolutely agree with you about writing on a consistent basis.

  • http://www.nimisis.com Dave

    Agreed. But I think the key is making your blog a service so that people really gain from visiting it. Then they’ll come back and recommend it to others.

  • http://www.prezwho.com Zerp

    Great info and advice. The advice about keeping the words down to 500 or less is priceless and accurate.

  • http://mind.skserver.org/ Improve Your Mind

    Good advices. Just my observation – if some blog is really good, writing on a consistent basis is not necessary. In my RSS reader, I also have some blogs which just post “now and then”, and I still keep an eye on them.

  • http://nonconscio.us/ly polyGone

    If you post to digg, be prepared to buy more bandwidth.

  • http://www.moreonecommerce.com/ D. Campbell

    Excellent article! CONTENT & UNIQUENESS are probably the two ‘key‘ characters of a great blog.

  • http://www.planttropical.com Faizal

    I think and easy to read and etertaining blog will keep the people reading even if it contain 10,000 word. The point is if people are intrested, the longer the better.

  • http://www.vostambien.blogspot.com M

    Interesante. Muy recomendable.

  • http://www.mudguard.blogspot.com/ musing

    Great info! I’m a published writer so feel comfortable writing content and also hope I

  • http://www.pronetadvertising.com Neil Patel

    polyGone, I did not submit it to digg. I just found out now.
    Faizal, in most cases the shorter the better, but people also like to read in-depth posts that are 10,000 words as you stated.
    Addies, glad to here that you are sharing your knowledge with others.

  • http://meneame.net/story/cinco-modos-de-mejorar-tu-blog meneame.net

    Cinco modos de mejorar tu blog

    De forma muy simplificada y did?ɬ

  • http://innovationzen.com Innovation Zen

    Good article. I think the most important point is “write something useful”. If a writer knows how to put himself into the reader position then half of his obstacles are gone.

  • http://www.shivaranjan.com Shivaranjan

    Neil I agree with all your points. I found your first point very useful. ūüôā

  • Bronko

    You just made me think.. :((

  • http://www.pronetadvertising.com Neil Patel

    Bronko, nice comment! You just made my day.

  • http://www.depi.sk depi

    Thanks for those tips. I will refer to this article in our IT podcast ūüôā

  • http://sigt.net/archivo/5-maneras-de-construir-un-mejor-blog.xhtml SigT

    5 maneras de construir un mejor blog

    Acabo de leer 5 ways to building a better blog a tr?ɬ

  • http://www.techaddi.com Pete

    I been online for about 8yrs. Although I am new to blogging, I new how to run a site and the things I learned earlier helped me a lot. Anyways dude you have good as hell tips. I mean I read your blog once in a while but whenever I have the time to read your blog its like WOW. You always have something new and interesting to say.

  • http://www.pronetadvertising.com Neil Patel

    Pete, thanks for the kind words.

  • http://www.datepositive.net Sheelagh

    A good read. We seem to forget about relevance and quality.

  • http://www.pronetadvertising.com Neil Patel

    Partha, optimizing for keywords can decrease the spontaneity if it is not done right, it mainly depends on the writer/editor. I personally do not put too much emphasis on keyword density.

  • http://www.investortrip.com TJP

    Great tip on usability. In my next blog design, I’ll try to limit all the gadgets and gismos.