1. Do it. Ideas for posts, subject areas to explore, ideas for new blogs need to translate into action in order for them to be effective.

2. Carry a notebook. I read that Richard Branson, head of Virgin Airlines carries a Moleskine notebook, one of those little elastic banded nifty noteies, and jots down ideas, reminders, things to do, everything. He says he has to have it, that it’s one way he gets so much done. I’ve adopted the same method. Even when I’m on the computer, I often grab my notebook and make handwritten entries to remind me of variations on ideas that come to me in my online reading and surfing.

3. Write what you need to know. If you want to learn something, research it and put what you find, think through, and discover on your blog. Or, if it doesn’t fit your blog, find someone else’s blog where it does belong, and post it there as an appropriate comment. Or, email the blog owner, share the info and ask for a link back, or offer to write a guest post about it.

4. Innovate off email messages you’ve written. Go back through your own personal email archives for goodies you’ve shared and turn them into blog posts, updating and adding to them. Same goes for other people’s email messages, not copying their work, but sharing info that is available online, and innovating on the subject area. Scan your bookshelves for book titles that lend themselves to blog post titles, or innovate on them to create new and relevant post titles for your blog’s subject area.

5. Take a break. Don’t be a drudge blogger. Get up and move your body, eat, drink plenty of water. I’ve found I have to watch that, that I can go for hours online without realizing I’ve not eaten nor had any liquid.

6. Look up from your screen often, resting your eyes by looking at something in the longer distance. Stretch. Shift your position at least every twenty minutes, avoiding repetitive strain problems. Keep your body happy.

7. Create a link stable in an email message that doesn’t go anywhere. Save it and label it in your out box so you can find it easily. Click on the live links to do your research, making notes under the link, and deleting them when you’ve written the blog entry for them.

8. Talk to your reader as though they are in the room with you, and you two are the only ones there. If it helps, create an imaginary reader you write all your posts for, someone you like and respect, maybe even a close friend, maybe a mystery person far away.

9. Don’t apologize when you’ve taken time off, maybe don’t even say anything about it. If you do, make it direct and a statement of the facts, “I’m back from my mini-vacation, and here’s what I discovered while I was gone…”

10. Keep on writing, take time off, but remember to come back and share more good things with the world. You do have something worthwhile to offer, your voice is unique. Your potential readership is unlimited.

11. Read more habits for effective blogging in the ProBlogger.net series of posts by many contributing bloggers.

One way to bring readers back repeatedly to your blog is to write a series of posts on one topic. Darren Rouse at ProBlogger has a series called Battling Bloggers Block. A reader and commenter on that series has spun off a series of her own, 20 Posts In 20 Days Marathon, at It’s So Fantastic! which I’ve picked up to do on my Noodling blog.

It’s So Fantastic! has used a graphic image to mark each of her blog posts in that series. I thought that was a particularly good idea, so created one of my own for the series of 20 posts I’m doing on Noodling.

Advantages I’ve thought of in having a visual graphic to identify series posts:

  1. Readers have, in addition to the content of the series posts, and topic, a visual reminder to return.
  2. You don’t have to limit yourself to series posts and do them only until you’ve completed the series. By adding the visual graphic you can easily indicate which posts are part of the series and which are not.
  3. A graphic symbol adds a bit of class and quality to your posts. Makes it look like you’ve put some effort into the series, more professional looking.
  4. The graphic can indicate at a glance what the topic is all about, or expand it beyond the title of the series.
  5. Even when the series is long past, the graphic will lead later readers to look for all the posts. And, I think, it helps persuade them to continue on to the next one. The longer your readers stay on your blog site, the better, not only for recurring visit motivation, but for any ads you have there to generate income.

What other benefits are there to adding a graphic, that I’ve not thought of?

I just now did a quick look at my monetizing ads on my blogs, hadn’t checked on them in awhile (be sure and do that often).

Because I create what TypePad, my main blog host, calls Typelists to place my rotating ads in, I’m not aware of what specific ad might appear as the ads rotate in the space. They are supposed to be appropriate to the blog. I’ve always been a little hesitant to believe that, but since I didn’t see anything too far from the blogs’ subject matter I let it go.

But, I didn’t think much about how an ad might not be appropriate for the title I gave to their Typelist headline that  I created to place them in. Should have done done that. I discovered that a Typelist I cleverly named “Yummy Yummy” for a rotating ad had an ad on it for a colon cleanse product. I’m not kidding, and on another blog “Yummy Yummy” headlined an ad for a rehab facility. Not as bad a mismatch, but not very good either.

So, give some thought to those headlines or titles. I’ve just taken my ads down from that service provider and will be remonetizing with some changes.

Lots of good stuff at Darren Rowse’s problogger.net site.

I recommend you go there, surf around, and keep coming back to learn more. The site has a huge amount of information on it.

This evening I was reading here, finding not only good info on increasing one’s blog traffic, but good links as well.

Marketblog_3How often should you post to your blog?

It depends to some extent on the blog, the subject matter, area of specialty and how interested you are in the subject yourself. Some of my blogs lend themselves to more frequent posting than others. If you can do it, and I hope you can, a daily post will keep readers coming back to see what’s new. If you can post a couple more times on some days, even better.

How to do this?

You need to build a backlog of ideas and subject areas to explore and develop, an ongoing collection of links, and sources for news items your readers may not find without you. Then you will have many items on your back burner, incubating and developing while you write what’s most interesting to you, most timely, or what you’ve picked out of your idea and info barrel because it’s the best option you have for today.

Keep a notebook with you, a smallish one that fits in pocket, purse, or tote so you can write down ideas for posts and series of posts, facts, questions, and insights that come to you. No matter how brief, your notes will capture fleeting thoughts and opportunities that come your way that you can develop later.

On your computer, set up a one or more places for notes and links. If you have a Mac you might put them on Stickie notes, or create a simple text document to add them to, leaving it on your desktop for quick access. And/or use a blank email message, one without the TO: field filled in, and label it so you can find it easily. Paste your links into the message body, write your notes there, and save it in your Out box. It isn’t going anywhere because it has no email address.

Whatever media you use for it, make your notes and links easily and quickly accessed so you will be able to add to them and retrieve them instantly.

What about when you haven’t posted for awhile-when visitor stats dwindle and you wonder if previous readers will ever come back again?

Don’t apologize for not posting. Hardly anyone wants to visit your blog to read why you’ve not been posting. Just begin posting useful stuff again. And market your blog to bring those stats back up to where they were, and beyond.

Marketblog_2If content is king, and I think it is, quality content has to be one’s top priority. Content consists of selection of material, and how it’s presented. Selecting useful and/or entertaining subject matter is a given. Doing one’s best writing is the other part of the equation. You don’t have to be a master literary craftsperson to do a good job. But, you do need to run a spell check, and proofread what you write.

If you, like a blogger I know, need some help with this because you can’t spot mistakes very well, ask someone who is good at it to check your posts periodically and let you know where you need to make corrections. Unfortunately, he doesn’t run it by anyone else, doesn’t do a spell check, and as a result his blog looks like it is written by a third grader who is getting a bad grade in English.

Quality content will draw readers like nothing else will and keep them returning. Doing a good job enhances credibility, shows respect for the reader, and provides other bloggers assurance that if they link to your blog it will enhance theirs.

Marketblog_1First off, I want to share something that has been particularly useful to me. It’s like having mentors without asking people to mentor you. I call it finding good models. As a writer, I collect books, have a special shelf for them in my bookcase, that are good models to follow in doing something. Some are good examples of autobiography, some stylistic examples, some have parts that are especially good, such as an opening paragraph or opening sentence. All are there to show me how it’s done well. I study them to see how to do as well, or better.

I regularly blog surf, starting with a blog that I’m curious about, maybe then going to links on that blog, and hop scotching to others from there. Whenever I find a blog that has some element of excellence that appeals to me or that makes me curious I bookmark it to come back later for further study. If I like a design I may experiment with it on my own blog, innovate off it, or it may lead me to create something completely different, but that was prompted by what I saw on the blog I visited.

I encourage you to keep links to good writing examples, good design, innovative use of elements, anything that attracts you. Study them when you have a few minutes or want a break from what you’re doing, and you’ll gradually add to your own options and excellence in blogging.

Every blogger who does something well can be your teacher, at your convenience, and at no charge.

MarketblogI could title this series of posts something else, like maybe “Generating Traffic,” or “Getting People To Read Your Blog.” But, after reading a long and insightful guest post on ProBlogger.net by Tony Hung titled “How To Market Your Blog In 2007,” I think it is more useful to think of it as marketing. You’re actually selling your work online, even if you don’t get paid, just as you’re actually selling yourself when you apply for a job, or ask someone out on a date.

Thinking of getting readers and keeping them as marketing has a lot to offer. It moves the subject and tasks up a logical level and automatically widens the scope of options and possibilities you can discover and use.

So, the following series of posts (I don’t know how many that will be at this point, but a lot, so come back for more.) is all about marketing your blog, and that includes marketing your words, ideas, and a whole lot more. Use any of the following techniques and suggestions and you’ll increase your traffic. Use them all, and you will almost certainly create a huge increase in your reader base.

Since examples are usually more useful than descriptions I thought I’d share several of my blogging projects, just as they are at this point, to illustrate how blogs might be used by writers, publishers, coaches, and service providers.

I’m a writer, with many interests and writing related projects in progress at any one time, and so blogging can provide a home for projects, ongoing contact with readers and possible future readers, and  provide low key, non-invasive publicity and marketing exposure. Better than a newsletter in many ways, a blog can be permission marketing at its best, I think.

I’m also a small publisher, so I have books to sell, information to share, and opinions and thoughts on that subject that I now have a place for on a publishing related bloghttp://www.publishnuisance.com

My blogs were all built at http://www.typepad.com using the template pages, with a little html tweaking (very little) that I learned from Andy Wibbels’http://www.easybakeweblogs.com ecourse. I used Fireworks software to create the banners and graphics and optimize them for the web. And, for a couple of them I also did a little Photoshop modifying.

I created the blog http://www.cookbook-l.com as a replacement for a website, reproducing the pages on the site with posts on a long blog page, with sidebar links to the posts. I replaced the website with a blog version because it will cost me much less money per month, and because I thought it might even serve me and subscribers better in blog form.

I replaced some other websites with blogs, changing their format and name, forwarding their own original domain URLs to the new blogs, which also have their own (different) domain names.

Several of the blogs are project oriented and have to do with coaching or writing projects of mine, and some are also social action projects:


http://www.noodlefactory.typepad.com/noodling is a personal opinion/whatever blog.

http://www.publishnuisance.com is for all the stuff I’d be cluttering up my email discussion list PUBLISH-L with if I wrote there about everything I’d like to 🙂

http://www.ordermybook.com will eventually be an easy to remember way for radio interview listeners to locate my books online.

I created http://www.blognanny.com so I’d have a place to refer blogging related questions and post material I’ve written elsewhere about blogs and blogging.

The Ariel Network links in the sidebar of this page contain both my regular website and my blogs.