Are You a Remarkable Blogger? Part 1
Ask yourself this question — is your blog lost amongst the hundreds of thousands of other blogs out there? Do you need to set yourself apart from an already overly crowded niche? Is your blog neglected and does it deserve to be better recognized? If your answer is yes then this article is for you.
Remarkable! I really like that word. I was reminded of it just recently and it struck a chord with me, inspiring me to write this article.
In case you hadn’t noticed it’s a dog eat dog world out there, and the blogosphere is no exception. What was once a passing fad and hobby has now morphed into a huge empire of blogpreneurs around the globe.
I originally thought of titling this post “Are You A Pro Blogger” but I didn’t want to give someone else a free plug. But it really would have been appropriate because being a professional blogger isn’t just some splogger trying to make money. If you can master all the skills in this series then you can consider yourself one of the few truly professional bloggers out there.
Most bloggers today hadn’t even heard of the term when I started blogging. Back in the jurassic period it was purely a medium for expressing and sharing ideas. It was a virtual publishing revolution that had even upstaged the invention of the printing press. An intellectual utopia for bandying about everything under the sun, and best of all it was free for the taking with no strings attached.
Sure, it could sometimes be volatile just as it still is today, especially when it comes to the topics of politics and religion. And with so many out there now vying for traffic it can be really (really) hard not to step on someone else’s toes. (Don’t I know it ;-).
But there was one thing about the blogosphere that made it different from any other medium— it was free from outside encumbrances until the self-serving lawyers, politicians, entrepreneurs and opportunists got involved.
Most importantly, bloggers were a helpful bunch and only too eager to lend a helping hand. But now it seems blogging is becoming more of a means to making a buck than anything else, with get-rich slogans floating around attracting readers like flies on doo-doo.
My recent break from blogging has given me an opportunity to reflect on whether or not I want to continue with this blogging gig. It’s become so polluted that it’s hardly recognizable anymore.
But thanks to a reader I was reminded that there is nobody else out there quite like Blog Bloke who will tell it like it is no matter what the consequences. So maybe I still have something to add after all.
When I began this journey years ago I was the first in my niche to blog about the subject of blogging. But every day it seems there is some newcomer popping up vying for a piece of the pie, and many (if not most) of the more well known bloggers today weren’t even around back then.
There are so many blogs about blogging now that I couldn’t even begin to count them all, and I can’t tell you how many times my ideas have been stolen by some opportunist out there.
Even recently I discovered someone who has taken one of my better known slogans and registered it as a domain name. Others have taken my phrases and are now using them as titles for their blogs without even an honourable mention to yours truly. It can really make you go hmm sometimes.
The topic for this post is are you a remarkable blogger. Because the blogosphere is so crowded today with almost every imaginable topic been covered, now more than ever you need to have en edge to be heard above the din.
But there has to be a better way than just stealing someone else’s ideas … and there is. That’s why I’m writing this post today.
There is in fact a way to be a remarkable blogger without “duplicating” someone else’s ideas like my so-called colleagues will tell you (which is also just another way of encouraging people to plagiarize).
To become a remarkable blogger there are many factors to consider:
- Your writing skills
- Your blog niche
- Your blog name
- Your blog url
- Your blog platform
- Your knowledge of (SEO) Search Engine Optimization
- Your marketing skills
- Your template/theme design
- Your coding skills
- Write a book
- Leveraging your job or profession
After starting to write this post I soon realized that there is just way too much information to pack into just one article. So I think I will make it into a series and today I will only just discuss about writing good post titles.
Writing Great Headlines (Post Titles):
It all began when the geeks started figuring out the search engine algorithms and how to game the system. Soon they realized that some would gladly pay big bucks to share that knowledge and so the age of the blogpreneur began.
So how is it that some bloggers can get to the top so quickly while others languish in relative obscurity? Is it because they offer better content than everyone else?
Well… maybe some of them do, but is that all there is to it? I think not.
Or could it be they are much better at optimizing, marketing and networking their blogs? Now I think we’re on to something.
I don’t care what you want to call it, but in my book it’s still gaming the system no matter how you look at it. Like anything else there are tricks to the trade and that’s why blogs like John Chow that show you how to play the game are amongst the most successful blogs today.
Another fairly recent newcomer to blogging is Brian Clark (aka copyblogger) who preaches the mantra of copywriting skills to linkbait readers and has created quite a following for himself.
He will tell you to craft your post titles into compelling headlines that will encourage (bait) viewers to click on your post links and read your blog. By altering just a word or two you can change a humdrum title into a dazzling headline, and transform your obscure post into a Digg superstar that will stand out from the crowd.
However nobody besides myself is telling bloggers who use these techniques to do so ethically, and the splogpreneurs are unfortunately ruining it for all of us.
On the other hand marketing guru Seth Godin seems to prefer writing silly little post titles that on the face of it don’t seem to make any sense at all. For example, some of his post titles read “That moment” and “The Vibe”… so go figure.
What does Blog Bloke think about all this? As always it depends on which guru you subscribe to and your circumstances. Mr. Godin can get away with short, cute titles because he has already written books and developed a following.
From a passerby his titles wouldn’t seem much, but for his readers that already know him it can spark a sense of curiosity to read more just because they want to see what the heck he’s talking about.
In some ways Godin has taken link baiting to the nth level. Or in other words according to his style of writing post titles — less can sometimes be more.
But just be careful if you try this yourself because if your posts are not what the reader expected it could piss him or her off and backfire on you. You take a chance of losing a potential subscriber, and do it enough times you might even lose some of your existing readers.
Some a-listers can get away with it but for the lesser known bloggers out there, crafting your titles with catchy, descriptive headlines that are relevant to your content will be your best plan of action.
Writing Post Titles that are Relevant to Your Content:
Unless you are an a-lister lesser known bloggers should make their post titles a summary of the content that follows. That means not only making it worth while for your readers to read your stuff because the content has valuable information in it, but also making certain that the keywords you’ve chosen are relevant.
Please do not bait your readers into clicking a link that is not relevant to the post content because that is a sure-fire way to make certain they won’t come back again.
You can place specific keywords in your post titles that reflect the content of your post for the search engines (SERPS) to pick up. But please don’t overdo it and try not to repeat the same word because you could be penalized by Google.
I’ve also heard of a SERP trick that you can initially stuff your post titles with just a list of specific keywords. That way the link will have all of your keywords you want the search engines to pick up.
Then, after having published your post you can change the title back to something that is more human readable (but the permalink should remain the same). You can theoretically get the best of both worlds making your blog titles work for the SERPS as well as for human readers.
It sounds like a nifty trick and I’m not certain how it will work in the real world but it may be worth a try.
Here’s another tip and something that I do. I use a wordpress plugin called SEO Post Link which will make your post urls into shorter SEO-friendly permalinks (slugs). It will automatically strip out the useless words like the, a, or and leave only the important keywords.
Ok, now that you know how the game is played Google is rewriting the SEO Rulebook all over again. Confused?
Stay tuned for the next installment of becoming a remarkable blogger.
Similar reading: What Does it Take to Be a Remarkable Blogger? A Primer
*This post has been recently updated since 2007