I get a lot of questions about how to make a blog better, so I thought I would look at it from a different angle and tell you what I don’t like about some of the blogs that I see out there. If you think you fit into one or more of the categories, don’t take it personally. Just take it to heart and learn from it. Trust me when I say that we’ve all been there — yours truly included, and I’m still learning every day.
1. Your blog looks like everyone else’s. Answer: Learn a little HTML, CSS and Photoshop skills and convert that canned template into your own. Spruce it up a little. Change the colours, make a new graphic for the banner, or put the sidebar on the other side. Whatever… as long as it looks unique and like YOU.
2. Your blog is too hard to read. Answer: Your fonts are too small, your template colors clash, your navigation is confusing or maybe you just can’t write and should consider getting into podcasting or something. I hear YouTube is doing well.
5. I won’t leave a comment on your blog because your posts sound too authoritative, are too boring, too argumentative, you force me to login, you never responded to my previous comments, or you shot me down the last time that I offered a different opinion. Shall I continue (as I pause to catch my breath)? Answer: Learn to write in a style that is non-confrontational, lively and conversational. Don’t be an arrogant know-it-all and write to entertain, not drain. Above all, make it easy to leave comments, be courteous and try to respond to commentors that took the time to write. Cultivating a community spirit will do wonders for increasing your traffic.
6. You don’t seem to have any opinions about anything. Answer: Some bloggers are afraid to speak up because they are afraid of being flamed. Heck, sticks and stones… remember it is your blog and you can delete those unsavoury trolls if you wish. So don’t be a wussy, and above all don’t be a bore. We have TV for that.
7. Your blog is on MySpace. Nuff said. Ok, maybe that sounds arrogant but the fact is there are a lot of bloggers out there that won’t even look at a MySpace blog. So if you want to be a serious blogger (which is why you are probably reading this post) then you should seriously consider the blog platform that you are using.
8. You don’t post consistently. Answer: Nobody wants to visit a dead blog. There is a controversy in the blogosphere about how often you should post, but the bottom line is “quality” and “consistency” are the keywords when it comes to posting. So before you sit down to write put some thought into it and make certain that you have something interesting to say. Try to write regularly with a schedule that works for you.
9. Your blog discusses controversial topics that are not to my liking. Answer: I’m a firm believer in having a niche topic for your blog. But controversial topics run the risk of turning off potential readers — especially politics or religion for example. If you want to speak your mind on controversial topics then you should consider creating a separate blog for that.
10. You don’t link. Answer: Commonly known as link-love there are several reasons why you should link. Firstly, when you cut and paste from another source you absolutely MUST provide a link back to the source. Nobody likes plagiarism.
Secondly, if I have linked to your posts and you never returned the favour, well… let’s just say that I’m put off and I probably won’t be linking (or visiting) back at ya again. Or the least you could do is email me a thank you or leave a comment on my blog. It’s just common courtesy. There’s another even more important reason for linking. That is how Google ranks websites/blogs, and the more seed that you sow, the more you will also reap.