I’m not an expert but a couple of people have asked me recently about how they might improve their blogs. From the top of my head, here are 9 things that will make me more likely to read your blog regularly.
I follow between 50 and 100 blogs at any given time, I don’t have time to visit every page so I use Bloglines. Please provide a link to an RSS feed for your blog and I am more likely to subscribe.
2. Introduce Yourself
I’d like to know who you are before I read your opinions and stuff. I like to have a rough idea where you are coming from and what your credentials are. This sounds heavy, It doesn’t mean I won’t read you unless you have a certain level of education – I just want to feel like I am hearing from someone who has experience of what they are talking about.
3. Lighten Up
Let your personality come through a little. I don’t like endless opinionated posts or to be constantly reminded of how quirky you are but I do like to get a sense of the person behind the posts. If I want dry facts I can get them from other sites. The whole point of a blog is the human touch.
4. Don’t Use Big Words
Frequent visits to dictionary.com really halt the flow of my reading and I might start to think of you as pompous if you use big words when small ones will do.
5. Have a Purpose
I am more likely to read your blog if it seems to have a purpose. As well as asking myself “who” is this blogger, I also want to know “why” are you blogging. If the answer to that question seems to be an, “I don’t really know” then I’m unlikely to read you. Let there be an overarching theme or purpose at least, even if your posting topics are very eclectic or general.
6. Give Me Links
I want something to click on! That’s why I’m online, to click on stuff. It makes me feel like I have choices. Seriously, your blog goes up in my estimation if feels like it is linked in to the rest of the net, not standing aloof. I like blogrolls and bloggers who point to and compliment what others are doing. I like blogs that share the love around a bit. I also like to be pointed to more information or sources on the topic of the post incase I want to read more. Don’t overkill on anchored links in the text, though, I’d like to get to the end of your post and then have the option of following a couple of relevant links.
7. Break It Up and Flow It
This is a stylistic preference but will make your blog more enjoyable for me to read. When I see a huge chunk of text I skip it, I know I’m pathetic and have a poor concentration span but so do most of us. Break it down into short paragraphs and it’s a bit easier on my eyes. I also can’t stand when people put large pictures inlined between chunks of text that I have to scroll past to carry on reading. I love text that flows around smaller pictures.
8. Reply to my Comments
Even if you just say “hi, thanks for the comment”. This makes me feel like there’s someone there who takes the time to check their comments, it will make me like you more and there’s a good chance I will keep following your blog if I have already commented on it and I am starting to like you.
9. Post Regularly But Not Too Regularly
When I am clearing out the deadwood from my feed aggregator, if there is a blog that has not been updated for two weeks, I will need a very good reason to stay subscribed – if you post only once a month, it had better be pure gold when you do! I like to read blogs that are active and content that is current. If, on the other hand, you update more than two or three times a day, I will tend to assume you have no life and will probably tire of wading through your twenty posts a week quite quickly unless, once again, they are pure gold. If I want a minute-by-minute commentary on global information streams, there’s twitter.
My guess is that I’m a fairly typical blog reader, but feel free to comment if you vehemently agree or disagree or have any other tips to add.
(c) 2010 Seymour Jacklin