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.

Marketblog_4Enrich Your posts with links to material on other blogs, news items, products, whatever you can link to that will enhance your readers’ experience will also enhance your traffic numbers.

Who to link to?

Think first about what your reader might want to know, might be delighted to discover via your post. Be generous, link to others who write in your niche, who you might even view as competitors.

Link to high traffic blogs. Go to Technorati and look for the most popular blogs, those with the highest rankings and search for blogs that have relevant material to your post, and link to them. Visit the sites those blogs link to and see if you should also link there. Read reader comments on high traffic blogs, visit the sites of commenters, searching for relevant and useful material there, and link to it.

Link to web sites that relate to your post and also add one or more sidebar link lists. They can be product oriented, service oriented, your own favorite blogs. Don’t go link overboard and look like a link farm (a site or blog that consists mostly of links with little or no useful posts or copy), but look for opportunities to link usefully and appropriately to your blog.

Search engines favor blogs rich with links. 

And, for goodness sake, make sure your links are live! Don’t make the novice mistake of thinking “If readers want to go there they can copy and paste the URL into their browser window.”

Test your links immediately after publishing your post, clicking on each one to see if it really goes where you want it to. And, periodically, test them again. You never know when links will go wonky on you.