The 600 Word Report: Best Practices of Professional Bloggers
Anyone who can type "free blog" into a search engine can create his or her own blog. However, that does not mean that they know how to successfully write blog posts that will capture a loyal audience over the long. This being said, there are a lot of techniques that professional bloggers use, of which amateur bloggers may not be aware.
So what are the best practices of professional bloggers that focus on creating compelling and interesting content? While there is not a "one size fits all" solution that all professional bloggers use, below are a few tips to consider when regularly writing for a blog.
Strike Up a Conversation
Though comments are sometimes overlooked, or never considered, keeping your blog as an open conversation between yourself and other users is one of the most basic practices for bloggers. The most important difference between print media and the Internet is the forum-style template.
Blogs, rather than being direct media outputs, can be interactive, allowing for multiple perspectives on a single post. Comments may increase reader interest and communication, as well as traffic to your page, but may not be appropriate with the context of your post. Use discretion when deciding whether or not to include comments.
Use Credible Sources
When writing your article, it can sometimes be difficult to find source material for your topic. Though all your old teachers told you not to use online encyclopedias, they are actually quite useful and often quite accurate. The trick to ensuring the information's accuracy is in the citations. Online encyclopedias, though they generally contain user-generated content, are good places to find a solid compiling of information on a specific topic.
At the bottom of the page there is usually an entire section of references, with links, in which you can investigate further, while using the annotated content in the encyclopedia article to determine which references you will find most useful.
A good way to cite sources in your blog is by linking a keyword in the text to a specific page. The keyword becomes a sort of footnote, as you can supply the reader with supplementary information within the structure of your post. Some bloggers use the links to help readers get the more obscure jokes of a post, providing links to user-posted videos or images as a punch line.
Though many blogs appear to be opinion pieces, it is important to keep content civilized and rational. While it is okay to write an impassioned article, blogs should not be used as a medium for any hate speech or outlandish statements. Professional bloggers need to keep their blogs, well, professional. You can do this by presenting arguments, but you must support them with data or through reasoning.
It is extremely important that you keep up with your blog. Try to make sure you are blogging at least once a month, but preferably more often. In order to acquire and keep your readership, while maintaining relevance, it is important to keep some sort of consistent schedule with your posts. This way, readers will know when to expect new content. If you do not keep up, your readers will lose interest in your site.
Write Relevant Content
Make sure that your article's title, as well as any subsequent headings, is specific and congruent with the article it describes. It may also be helpful to include certain keywords that you may not have been able to put in the title, but pertain to your article. These words should also be spread throughout the post. Search engines will be more likely to suggest your article if it contains any words or phrases from a user's search criteria.
Making sure that your article has the keywords your intended audience may use will increase the traffic to your webpage. Using these techniques will help you write a more professional blog, but it is up to you to develop readable, original content for your audience. Proofreading, even after a spell check, can be extremely beneficial to your content. Grammatical errors can be easy to fix, while ignoring them can make your content confusing to your readers.