With over 156 million blogs in existence, it’s safe to say a fair whack of those are rubbish. Of the remainder, most are ok, some are good and a rare few could be considered great.
- Have a voice
They are not anonymous. They reflect the profile, personality and passion of the author.
- Are focused
What they are about is clear. There is no confusion from readers what they are going to get when they read this blog.
- Use compelling headlines
Time is precious. Although I subscribe to a few dozen blogs, I only have time to read a handful of posts a day. Most of the time, I make a judgment call if I’m going to read something based on the headline and if it excites me or I can instantly see the value from reading it. There’s a reason ‘Top 10…’ posts make great link bait.
- Use paragraphs and lists
The old adage that the web is for scanning and skipping holds true. It’s a lot easier for me to skim through an article and extract something meaningful if it’s broken up into bite-sized chunks than a impenetrable slab of text. If I quick scan reveals it to be worthy, I might even read the whole thing.
- Make good use of video, audio, images
Depending on the type of blog (and in this case, I’m going to assume it’s an ordinary text blog not a fancy vlog) you don’t want to overdo it. But selective use of interesting videos and images that complement the copy can really add a lot to a post. Having said that, it should never come at the expense of the writing. And if you’re simply not good at sourcing images (like me), don’t break your back trying to do it and focus on the words.
- Can be subscribed to
If I like what you’ve got to say and want to know when you’ve posted something new, don’t force me to visit your blog in the vain hope that there’s something new. Let me subscribe to and RSS feed or a newsletter to be notified when you’ve got some new content.
- Can be shared
By that same token, if I like something make it easy for me to share with my network. Provide easy links to at the very least ‘Like’ and ‘Retweet’
- Have a unique POV
If you want to stand out, you’ve got to be different and unique. Don’t regurgitate someone else’s thinking and link back, bring your viewpoint to the table and tell me why that is. If all you’re reporting is news then how are you telling me something I couldn’t find somewhere else?
- Are polarising
If you’re not making someone mad then you’re not doing it right. You need to have an opinion. Matter of fact with 156 million blogs, you better have an opinion. To be anything but is to be vanilla.
And despite the title, here’s one more for good measure…
- Are consistent
There are regular posts on a consistent cycle. Whether it’s several times a day, daily or weekly, you know when to expect the next one, thus creating a sense of expectation.
So there you have it. I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments. And if you’re looking for an example of great blogs, look no further than the blog roll.