According to Nielsen there are currently more than 181 million blogs in existence. To put that number into perspective it is close to the equivalent of a blog for every registered voter in the United States. With that proliferation of blogging it can be deemed next to impossible to make your blog stand out from the massive background noise of the millions of virtually identical ones. Here are the top five lessons I’ve garnered graduating from the Blogging School Of Hard Knocks:
- It’s all about quality, not quantity. I’m proud to be listed among the bloggers who have attained multiple millions of page views but it’s taken me over 4,000 blogs in half a decade to achieve that distinction. However, if you fixate on clicking over that page view odometer you’re missing the whole point of blogging, which is to create content of quality that will find its own audience – rather than marking your success through quantity metrics alone. As a blogger you should be concentrating on packing your work with elements that enchant and engage a reader, not just get them there at any cost with barely a care as to what they think of your blog once they’ve arrived.
- You will never know what will skyrocket. I’ve written blogs on everything from email marketing to quantum physics, but one of my most popular long-term reader attractions is a piece I wrote years ago on how to cook Italian beef braciole. I’ve often written blogs that I was absolutely convinced would change the entire course of humanity leading us all to dwell forever in utopian paradises… and watched with dismay as they were roundly ignored by the reading public. This is especially frustrating when I see some blogs that I consider to be lightweight to the max become runaway hits. You simply cannot presage the extent of how any of your blogs will succeed or fail, so don’t even try. Put your heart and soul into each blog entry and let the audience decide.
- Go way out in left field. With tens of millions of other bloggers in the tech industry writing comparisons ad nauseum of this hardware vs. that one, I decided to take a completely different spin and compared a state of the art computer with a 1986 Mac Plus, which is little more than a museum piece. Much to my surprise (and the surprise of over a quarter of a million readers) the venerable vintage Mac proved to be faster at many basic functions all of us perform every day than the superpowered ultramodern PC. If you’re in a blogging field where all of your colleagues are essentially regurgitating the same old same old, blog after blog, then think waaaaaaaaaaay outside the box and see if your readership reacts positively to it. After all, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
- Make superhuman efforts to be accurate. If you’re voyaging to the outer reaches of that left field, you’ll need to be able to substantiate every single statement you make to an even greater degree than if you were blogging in the wide bland center. I was viciously and repeatedly attacked when I mythbusted Mythbuster Adam Savage’s claim that his $11,000 AT&T roaming bill was in error, but I so thoroughly supported my contentions with verifiable data and accurate calculations that even the most rabid Mythbuster fans soon retreated with their tails between their legs.
- Shun literary philistinism. The jury is out on whether it is due to the massive failings of our Keystone Kops, public educational system or the ponderous influence of txtspk and other tortuous violations of the English language, but most bloggers write like medieval illiterates. One of the world’s most popular blog sites is TMZ.com and they can barely get through a single post without committing a facepalm-inducing grievous spelling or grammatical error. Set yourself apart from the analphabetic majority by truly mastering the art of writing and your readers will reward you.
Apply these top five lessons and become a pro blogger without having to write millions of words to get there!