Written by Delwin Keasberry Tuesday, 03 January 2012 14:38
I am new to you. I have known you existed from way back but have never bothered to give you any attention. However, due to the influence of a certain fellow xanga-ian, I find myself now typing this. I must be honest though. I do not know how long I will be able to keep up with this for I know that, deep down, I find it hard to keep a 'real' journal - what more, an e-journal.
Ah well. I am ready and willing to try new and different things. So, teach me and learn from me.
That was my first ever blog entry dated 25th August 2004 on Xanga. I wrote sporadically. I wrote about everything and anything. I wrote about stuff I used. I wrote about Britney Spears (it was 2004 remember?). I wrote about relationships I was in (and out of). Back then, the term ‘emo’ had not yet been invented, but gosh there were some emo entries. About a year later, I moved on to Wordpress and there I stayed until 2009. Across 4 years, I submitted (a very measly) 53 posts.
It is now 2012 and over the last seven years I have learnt a few things about blogging from trial and error. I practice these seven principles and since the launch of Projek Brunei, traffic has increased by over 500%. This post is more so a reflective post and a reminder to myself about the art and craft of blogging, something which is now part of my day-to-day brand. May it be of some help to you too.
Here are my seven tips for outstanding blogging.
Build the brand, not the Blog
This has been, is and will continue to be my mantra for this blog. Do I want to give my readers a great experience on my blog? Of course I do, but equally if not more important to me is the blog’s branding. This means putting myself out there to initiate things, to collaborate, to push for change, to keep lifting the quality of content, to support the underdog, to embrace failure.
There is this saying I heard back in university – if you fail to plan then you plan to fail. Some bloggers write daily, some write a stack of posts over the weekend, some write late at night. Whatever your style of creating content, it helps to make plans. Do you have other commitments? Do you do your best work in the mornings? Are you expecting? Do you have time to do a write-up just after the event? Do you need to start considering casual writers or photographers? If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.
Find your Frequency
I have heard different schools of thought about this one. Once a week versus once every six hours, you name it, there is a theory supporting each. Some bloggers I know go the once a week approach, only because they write whopping in-depth stories with albums of photographs. Others I know take photographs of the silly things their pets do. Personally, I try stick to the once a working day model. My thoughts are that it is different pending on your audience and your brand, which leads us to the next point.
There is a something very powerful about being able to clearly define and express the Vision of your blog. Businesses understand this well and usually also have a Mission Statement. In short, the Vision talks about the future, and the Mission Statement talks about the now. Clarity is critical. It sets the tone, pace, rhythm, frequency, etc for all that you do and blog about.
We are living in a Web 2.0 world. It has never been easier to share, post, repost, retweet and like content through the social networks. Whichever blogging platform you operate from, there are many options to make it easier for your audience to share your content. Take for example, at the top and bottom of this post, take note of the sharing options. Plug-in the code or widget and it easier for your fans to share your content. Here’s a list for Wordpress users, and here’s one for you Joomla users. Just do it and thank me later. (Remember to show me love later by sharing this!)
SEO for Growth
Ah yes, SEO or Search Engine Optimization. Wikipedia says it like this. ‘Search engine optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the "natural" or un-paid search results.’ There is much to read on this topic and if you have never considered it for your blog, I recommend you do. I have put in some work and now have a better grasp of it (the last time I searched “Brunei” on Chrome, this site showed up on page 4).
Dilbert and unethical SEO
Prepare for Hardwork
If you blog, tumblr, Facebook, tweet, upload videos and photographs, etc just for fun, none of these seven tips really matter. However if you take content creation seriously (perhaps you use it for your business or as part of your corporate communications strategy), you know that it is hardwork. Not to overuse the phrase, but it is true; anything worth while is worth the hard work. It is not for the faint-hearted. It takes disciple, a ton of practice and loads of heart.
Happy new year folks. May 2012 be a year of fresh beginnings, dynamic opportunities and decisive action for all of us. The best is yet to come.
p.s. Do check out my other social media posts before you go including Seven Twitter Tips for Businesses, Seven Deadly Smartphone Sins, Seven Conference Survival Tips, etc.
p.p.s. I did not touch on things like aesthetics, or back-end mechanics as these are preferential and ever-evolving but make sure you give thought to those as well.