You did a great job of identifying and explaining some of the attributes and habits of effective bloggers. I think another great attribute of an effective blogger is having access to – and therefore writing about – exceptionally unusual news or information. I gravitate towards people who can show me/tell me/teach me something no one else has before. There is a real opportunity for bloggers to become newsmakers- it is precisely this idea that I think separates the good from the great.
The 8 Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers
There’s too much advice to follow
So I would read one special report with a great idea and put that into place on my blog. But the next day I’d find a podcast from another top blogger with contradictory advice, so I’d change my blog again. Then I’d come across a third idea from an equally successful blogger, which sent me down a totally new path.
The good news is that even if you don’t have all these personality traits already, most of them can be developed over time. Best of all, if you can cultivate these traits, you’ll become more effective in the rest of your life as well.
1. Effective bloggers are prolific
There’s no way around it; it takes work to be prolific. Effective bloggers work hard. Putting a successful blog together requires a lot of time in front of your computer, and not surfing LOLCats or Twittering about what you had for lunch. Great bloggers put serious time into researching, writing, editing, and planning posts for their blogs.
2. Effective bloggers are concise
Most effective bloggers tend toward short posts. They also divide their copy into short paragraphs, and use bullet points or numbered lists to keep the reader scanning. They use compelling subheads so readers can scan for the information they need.
Brevity comes in handy in other areas of life, too. Keep your phone calls short. Pare your email messages down to the essentials. You’ll have more time for creative work, and people will be much more interested in what you have to say.
3. Effective bloggers are analytical
4. Effective bloggers are lifelong learners
Sadly, I think this is a myth. I’ve been using and designing for the Internet for about 15 years, and it keeps changing. Just when you’ve got one element sorted out, something new gets released. Or becomes obsolete. Or mutates in 20 different directions.
5. Effective bloggers are focused and consistent
6. Effective bloggers plan ahead
To paraphrase Seth Godin’s recent book Linchpin, “Effective bloggers ship.” Top bloggers don’t waffle for months about the typeface on their upcoming ebook. They may tailor the angle, price, or format to better suit their market. But they don’t let themselves get derailed. They follow the plan.
7. Effective bloggers are persistent
8. Effective bloggers are self-starters
What trait do you think is most valuable?
Annabel Candy is a marketer and chief copywriter at Mucho. Born in England, she’s traveled in over 40 countries, lived in eight of them and has both British and Kiwi passports. But don’t hold that against her. Annabel now bashes her keyboard in Australia, sharing stories and tips on her travel blog Get In the Hot Spot.
Use short, punchy paragraphs
The call to action might be anything—it could be to apply what you’re writing about in your own life, to go away and do a little homework, to react to the post in comments, to share the post with someone else… but the key is to actually invite your reader to do these things, rather than just assume that they will.
Because we’re reading on a computer or similar monitor type of set-up, the eyes are already strained enough. We really do need web formatting to be both appealing to the eye, as well as easy to read. Seeing those uber-long paragraphs is the web equivalent to getting served a giant heaping mountain of pasta – you lose your appetite right away.
If posting a ‘how-to-do-something’ post, I like when the images follow a story line with a comment or two under each image explaining something about what it is the reader if viewing. Each image should encourage (or lead) the reader to keep reading so they can eventually view the final result at the end of the post. This helps to keep the momentum going.
If you’re like me, try to avoid the usual stock photos. I search Flickr for CC-licensed photos and have always found something eye-catching. Another good source for similar-licensed photos is Wikimedia Commons.
One thing I’d like to raise about formatting is to remember some of us are reading your posts via RSS or email subscription. So the lovely formatting you apply on your *site* isn’t necessarily what we see when we’re reading your *content*…
Thanks for these. I do almost all of these. My titles can be a little long at times and I just started using bold and italics to highlight points. It’s hard to get feedback on your content so hopefully these work better for readers but I like using these ideas as well.
I’m also a huge fan of using bold and italics to highlight points. I try very hard to avoid long paragraphs and use short punchy ones instead. But my natural writing style is long and flowy and sometimes I just can’t bring myself to break up those longer paragraphs. In those cases, I underline or bold my main point so impatient readers can get the gist quickly
Really enjoyed this information!
I have been writing a Blog for a year or so. I find it difficult sometimes to come up with things to talk about other than destinations, so I get Guest bloggers in to write about their holiday experience. Seems to help getting people to see the blog. I also have found that lots of pictures help as people can then see what the destination is like and they know the picture was taken by us!
Thanks for the great advice Darren. I’m quite new to the blogging world and am enjoying reading the myriad of articles to both improve my skills and learn how to market effectively. It’s refreshing to read posts that are not so technical, “holier-than-thou” or so wordy I get overwhelmed — your information is straight, to the point, and easy to implement — thank you!
We talk to our clients about these sorts of things all the time. I think most people are intimidated by blogging, until we show them the power good content holds. I also suggest to them to vary the content they publish. It’s OK to write short posts or do a video instead of always posting longer posts.
And, the face thing is interesting. I wonder if faces are more effective when they are looking at you, rather than a profile, for instance? It seems like there would be some sort of pseudo eye-contact principle in play there.
I think it’s worth mentioning the importance of being concise, while still telling your story. We often find ourselves with two killer sentences but perhaps they are redundant, and one will have to go. It’s tough on the writer, but easier on our reader!
I’ve always had a bit of difficult with titles. Some people say to make them strictly relevant to your post so that search engines can easily find them. Others say to be creative to draw in readers. I usually do both by including some creative follow by a hyphen, then something more strict. For example, for a game review of Fun Game the title might be Fun Like You’ve Never Had – A Fun Game Review. Titles like this may get a bit lengthy, but they include the best of both worlds.
Thanks for the helpful post, Mr. Rowse!
A screenwriting class I took here in Oregon broke down scripts the way you broke down blog posts. Formatting is a key to comfort, and once you get a reader in their comfort zone they understand what you’re saying so much better.
How to Find and Update Old Blog Posts for SEO Using Databox
When Should You Update Blog Posts for SEO
Step 1: Downloading Databox’s Pre-Build Reporting Template
Step 2: Create a Traffic Comparison Datablock
Once you’ve made all of these changes, click “Run query” so Databox can validate that the data you’re requesting exists and can be pulled. When it’s satisfied, you’ll see a “Save” button. Click it to save your metric and populate your datablock with the requested data.
Finally, scroll down until you see “Limit rows.” In the field next to it, enter the number of pages you think you have on your website (up to 999). If you’re not sure, either make your best guess or just start with 100 and increase the count later if needed.
Step 3: Create a Rankings Comparison Datablock
For “Date ranges” you will want to select the same date rages that you picked for your other datablock: “Last 30 Days,” “Last 90 Days,” and “Last 12 Months.” Select those three options, deselect “Month to date,” then click anywhere else on the screen to apply the changes.
Scroll down until you see “Limit rows.” In the field next to it, enter the number of pages you think you have on your website (up to 999). If you’re not sure, either make your best guess or just start with 100 and increase the count later if needed.
Step 4: Use Your New Dashboard to Find Posts That Need SEO Updates
Now, scroll through the list in your first datablock and look for posts that get a decent amount of traffic but are showing steep, double- or triple-digit declines. These are likely the posts that are losing search rankings.
Tip: you can use Google Chrome’s find feature (Control + F on Windows or Command + F on Mac) to search for and highlight the post you’re looking for to make it easier to find that post in a long list of URLs.
Go through this list, and make a note of any posts with big traffic drops and average position drops. You’ll also want to check the posts to make sure there aren’t any seasonal or other logical reasons for the decline. Otherwise, these are going to be the most important—and most impactful—posts for you to update.
It takes a few minutes to get your dashboard set up in Databox the first time, but once you’ve set it up, you can access this data anytime. As long as you’re an active Databox user, it will continue to populate your dashboard with up-to-date data.
So if you want to do this same exercise again in three months, just open your dashboard and grab what you need. Going forward, you can compile a list of posts that need to be updated every time you need one using your Databox dashboard.