Check this out, read it, breathe it, remember it. These are the basic rules of having a great blog. You dont really have to follow all of these rules because it really depends on the kind of blog you run, but most of them are sure to help you improve with your blog sif you follow them.
1. Don't take yourself seriously
- I've been pondering this one a lot lately. As bloggers it's easy to get sucked into the mindset that the world revolves around us. The fact is that it doesn't and the sooner we realize it the better.
2. Be whimsical - Carson's point here - have fun. I think this is great advice for bloggers. Like point two is getting at - we can get way to serious with blogging. The bloggers that I'm drawn back to reading are ones who obviously enjoy what they do and at times inject humor and fun into the process.
3. Be Chunky - Here he talks about short, sharp and diverse segments - the same could be said for posts (or sections within posts). One of the keys to a good blog is that it has an overall theme/topic that is tight enough to capture an audience - but that has enough variety in it to keep drawing people back over time.
4. Don't Ramble, Be organized - Thinking ahead with your blogging can set a great blogger apart from a good one. Sitting down to write 'something' can work - but knowing ahead of time what your posts will be for the next week can help you to build momentum in your posts. Of course many bloggers do well with a more random chaotic approach - but to sustain a blog at a high level of quality takes a certain amount of forethought and planning.
5. Cram, cram, cram as much good stuff as you can into the time - Give your readers as much goodness in your posts as possible and they'll be back for more.
6. Be regular, but only if you've got quality - Great advice for bloggers. We talked a few days ago about not posting just for the sake of it if you have nothing to say - but this needs to be balanced with regularity in your posting.
7. Get decent audio! - Obviously there is no 'audio' quality with blogging - but perhaps if get a little loose with our metaphors we could extend this to blog design? While there are some successful blogs out there with pretty plain generic design, these days one way to get attention and create a favorable impression is a 'wow' design. It's amazing what it can do for a blog's popularity.
8. Get a buddy - I don't know of many blogs where the two bloggers working side by side works really well. Perhaps this is one which doesn't apply as much - although I'm a big believer on working with others in different ways.
9. Have show notes on your blog - Planning on a macro level can really pay off. I also think micro 'in post' planning can be worthwhile also. I quite often write the main points I want to make as single sentences before I write a post and then go back to fill in the gaps. This helps to stop rambling and aimlessness in posts. It doesn't work for everyone (it's just my writing styIe I guess) but helps keep me on track.
10. If you're doing interviews, don't be Charlie Rose - Let your guests talk when interviewing them. Once again you could apply this if you do interviews I guess - but I think it can also related to your comments section. Some bloggers write in a voice where they dominate a blog so much that commenters either need to disagree with them to add anything to a conversation. My styIe of blogging is much more about creating conversations and allow commenters to finish my posts. I'm much more into an open ended styIe of blogging (again a personal taste).
11. Don't interview Jason Fried - main point here was to find fresh people to interview. Same is true for blogging, not just in who you might interview but what you write about. It's a challenge, but finding a fresh angle on an old topic is a brilliant way to build a blog.
12. Try to be natural - I guess this is about finding your own voice and tone to write in. Some people's writing styIe will be more a little more relaxed than others and I don't have a problem with more formally written blogs - as long as the bloggers is being true to their own personality. I think the main thing is to develop some consistency in the way they write.
13. Don't be scared to throw a show away - Great advice for bloggers. Remember that everything you write will either add to or take away from your blog's brand and identity. It all reflects upon you in some way. As a result if you've written a bad post either delete it before publishing or save it as a draft to work on and improve later. While many measure the success of blogs by what it publishers - perhaps the flip side is that it can also be measured by what it doesn't publish.
14. Do some editing - Perhaps more relevant for podcasts but also true for blogs. I still remember the day when I submitted a post that I'd written on one of my blogs to a magazine for publishing. The editor asked me if she could work it up a little before publishing and I was amazed to find that they went with an article a bit over half the size of what I'd first written. At first I was disappointed with this - until I read the vastly superior article that it ended up being.
15. If you have something important/valuable to say, get something out there. It may not be perfect, but if you've got great content, some omissions from the above list are tolerable - a great piece of advice to finish off on. It's easy to be a little overwhelmed when you first start blogging - you want to get everything 'just right' - and end up never launching because it never is. There comes a time where you just have to launch and work on things as you go.